I decided, after some reading and reflection, that I needed to dedicate some posts to positive things in the world. Because, I think you would all agree, if there was nothing good happening in the world, it would have imploded by now! There are many options I can look at – successful work by humanitarian groups, strong community work, flourishing peace initiatives, or maybe even a love story or two. But today, if you will forgive me this indulgence, I want to focus on something from my own heritage that brings me personal enjoyment. Music!
This is not any music. No! This is the bagpipe…loved and hated equally around the world. I have to tell you that I’m a bit of a pipe tune nut. Yes, that’s right, a pipe band groupie. I don’t have a loyalty to any particular band just whichever one I’m lucky to come across at the time. But I have to tell you, going to a highland games and listening to the Grade 1 (highest class) piping competition is never disappointing.
Here in Canada and also just south of the border, in the US, we have no shortage of pipe bands or highland games. Scottish heritage has spread throughout the continent. Every summer, if you’re willing to take a drive in any direction on any given weekend, you are liable to come across a games. Near Ottawa, we are lucky enough to have the Glengarry Highland Games which always puts on a spectacular show – particularly their Massed Bands show.
Some people jump out of planes, go powder skiing, ride huge waves, drive fast cars for kicks. I get a huge adrenaline rush from watching the Massed Bands! Hey! Don’t roll your eyes! Imagine this, 50 pipe bands (that’s over 1000 musicians) filling a football field, all playing in synchronized harmony. The sound of the drums alone could drown out a freight train. Here is a sample from last year’s games in Maxville, Ontario, Canada. But really, you have to be there to get the full effect.
Follow this link to YouTube: Glengarry Games 2008 Maxville Massed Bands
The love of the pipes has been in me as long as I can remember. At age 5 I started highland dancing and continued through university in the Queen’s Bands. I will never forget the thrill of marching beside the pipers as we stepped off to a heady march. I remember my grandmother being particularly fond of the pipes as well and hearing a lone piper play Amazing Grace at her funeral sent me from emotional, right over the edge to practically apoplectic. Now, whenever I hear a tune, like the one below, which is one of my favourites, I can’t sit still. My kids watch, perplexed, as I kick up my heels in the living room! Clearly, I need to drag them to more games!
Raigmore Medley – Grampian Police Pipe Band (Aberdeen, Scotland)
Slainte to all and have a wonderful, happy weekend!