The End of an Era at Vancouver’s Bagpipe Repair Shop

We all knew it was coming, and now it’s official. After a long career as Vancouver’s go-to bagpipe doctor, Mike McDonald is retiring. In a letter to customers, he says he is going to

 “try to take advantage of the so called Golden years. To this end, I have enjoyed the business and opportunity to meet with you. The pleasure was mine.”

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First ivory restrictions on bagpipes. Now African blackwood.

There’s a good reason forward-thinking countries have banned or tightly control the over-the-border

Outdoor Pipes

African Blackwood bagpipes

movement of products that contain ivory, such as bagpipes. A proper certificate for an ivory/silver set of pipes is a hassle, but worth it if it slows down the barbaric poaching of elephants in the wild. But now another key component of the Great Highland Bagpipes could be under tight restrictions and this one affects almost everyone who has a set of pipes.

Check out the story here:

 

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Remembrance Week Bagpipes Salute Veterans & Canada

A beautiful tune, played by PM Matt MacIsaac, with PM Katie Buckland and a Canadian Forces pipe band from a concert in November, 2012. A perfect way to commemorate a week of remembrance for our veterans and for our country.

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A #Vancouver Bagpiper in the November Rain

dscf9586It may appear meditative, or a bit reflective, but a bagpiper playing under the grey, overcast skies of November in Vancouver is likely thinking about the weather.

The warm days of spring, summer and early fall are behind us. Now it’s time to start wrapping up the year with  Remembrance Day 2016 and all the other events that lead up to our national day of reflection on the sacrifices of our forefathers and mothers. Throughout the country, as communities gather to remember the fallen, the piper is charged with delivering the lament to lost soldiers. In most cases, it’s the traditional tune  Flowers of the Forest. Continue reading

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BC Pipers on the Great Wall of China

img_7663It was an amazing trip full of music, dancing, friendships, an engagement, a loss and a lot of memories.

From September 26 to October 3, 2016, almost 30 RCMP pipers, drummers, dancers and their spouses from BC, Edmonton and Regina travelled to China to participate along with dozens of other musical and dancing acts in the Beijing International Tourism Festival. Our jam-packed schedule included highlights such as: Continue reading

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Bagpiping at weddings in Vancouver and beyond

Wedding Piper, Scotland

Scottish wedding piper

Have you thought about walking down the aisle to the skirl of the great highland bagpipes? If so, you are not alone.

In the past year, there has been a resurgence of brides and couples inquiring about adding cultural and musical impact to their wedding ceremony. From grand entrances at a church, to leading in the

Haida Gwai wedding

Haida Gwai wedding

groomsmen, bridesmaids and bride to the sounds of the pipes at outdoor venues and parks, it’s always a show-stopper that sets your ceremony apart from what most people (guests) are used to at summer wedding ceremonies. Continue reading

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Halifax Pipe Major Barb Stewart and her father’s pipes: Heading to Juno

My first piping instructor – still going strong, with her father’s pipes. What the story doesn’t say is that when Barb’s father showed up in Scotland during leave, to pick up and pay for his pipes, his regiment had already paid for them out of respect.

D-Day bagpipes still heard in Halifax

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Bagpipes, bagpipers & pipe bands in Vancouver

Zephan Knichel, 2016 Open Piping Aggregate winner

Zephan Knichel, 2016 Open Piping Aggregate winner

There’s nothing like a room full of bagpiper and drummers to get your heart – and a season underway.

The first competition of the piping season in the Pacific Northwest was successfully launched last weekend in Surrey.  The BC Pipers’ Association Annual Gathering was held at Clayton Heights Secondary School in Surrey on the Easter weekend with plenty of great piping and drumming, and of course, pipe bands in all levels.  The ceilidh afterwards was also a lot of fun.  Kudos go out to Rob MacNeil and the whole BCPA organizing committee for hosting this event.  The BCPA has been the driving force behind the organization and encouragement of piping and drumming in this area for almost 100 years.  As former BC Highland Games chair Bill Elder said at the competition, there was once a time when only a handful of pipe bands and pipers showed up to compete.  Today, almost two dozen pipe bands and more than 100 pipers competed in all levels.  And much of the competition was broadcast online to an audience around the world. It’s a testament to the hard work of the BCPA and the competitive pipe band leadership in this region. Continue reading

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