In an entertaining evening filled with highlights, the grand entrance of the haggis is the marquis moment of a traditional Robert Burns Supper.
The great highland bagpipes strike in from the distance, and moments later a door flings open and in marches the piper playing ‘A Man’s A Man For A’ That‘, the legendary 18th century Robert Burns poem/song about human equality and liberty. Close on the piper’s brogues, the knife bearer and raconteur of Burn’s equally famous “Ode to a Haggis”. And rounding out the procession – the chef responsible for cooking “the great chieftain o’the puddin race”, which has been placed on a silver platter and hoisted above heads as he ceremoniously follows the piper and knife-bearer to the head table. Continue reading
The weather forecast is ominous.
November 11th is usually the last day of the year that most pipers and pipe bands venture into the great outdoors to perform one last time before winter winds sweep down and snow, rain and ice envelope our small part of the globe. This year the forecast, as usual, is calling for single digit temperatures, clouds, snow and rain. It will be an unpleasant experience for many of the bandsmen and women who will battle to keep fingers warm and the cold and dampness from throwing pipes completely out of tune while standing at attention for long periods of time. Continue reading
Pipe Major Ian Millman in Edinburgh. Photo courtesy Hugh Peden.
The story about Ian Millman that sticks with me is the time the mayor of Vancouver announced at a crowded formal dinner that the City had decided to fund the Vancouver Police Pipe Band’s upcoming trip to Edinburgh, Scotland. The fully-kilted pipe major Ian Millman got out of his seat, marched over to the mayor (who one day became BC Premier) and planted a kiss on his lips.
Or the time he shot a cow that had escaped from a South Vancouver property, only to have the photo of his dead prize make the front page of The Vancouver Sun. He also told the story of shooting rabbits in Stanley Park and feeding them to the wolves in the zoo. Millman lived a large life and I know there are many people who knew him much better and can tell more accurate and entertaining stories than this poor scribe. Continue reading
Fall can be the best of times, and the worst of times.
For many, there’s nothing quite like beautiful, crisp, cool fall days; an opportunity to take long walks with family and friends, hike mountain trails without trudging through snow packs or relaxing in the waning strength of our dwindling summer sun. It is a joy to live in the northern hemisphere during this time. Across Canada, deciduous trees are starting their evolution to crimson and yellows, salmon are making their life-sustaining runs up BC rivers and thoughts are turning to rakes and snow shovels. Continue reading
Congratulations to Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Pipe Major Dr. Terry Lee (l) and his brother SFUPB Pipe Sergeant Dr. Jack Lee for being awarded Simon Fraser University’s highest honour – an honourary PhD for their contributions to both the university and the SFU Pipe Band. — with Terry Lee and Jack Lee.
Fresh from their band trip to Cosa Misa, California to compete at the annual ScotsFest USS Highland Games, the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band is now gearing up for the BC spring and summer competition season and their upcoming trip to Glasgow, Scotland for another crack at the world championship title. This is a band that is on the rise, cracking the top 10 last year with a ninth place world finish. The golden ring is within sight, and it would glorious for another great BC pipe band to capture the world trophy in competitive pipe band competition.
However, getting to Scotland each year from Vancouver is an expensive proposition. It can cost up to $100,000 for this trip alone, and much of those costs are borne by the pipers, drummers and their families. This year the band is appealing to supporters of great highland piping and drumming to help get the band overseas once again.
Please go to the this website if you are interested in helping out. Every contribution is welcome and goes towards supporting the highest level of piping and drumming in British Columbia, and the world.
From March 2013. The Delta Police Pipe Band’s third performance in their 2013 tour of Germany
1. Hire a bagpiper for your St. Patrick’s Day party or pub crawl.Top off your green-themed house
Four Leaf Clover
party with a grand entrance of a fully kilted bagpiper. Celtic tunes echo while everyone dances and drinks green beer. Or join any number of pubs and bars in Vancouver throwing parties with pipers and dancers this weekend. There’s nothing like great piping to set the scene.
2. Wear green. Dig out that green Christmas tie from your mother-in-law or your least favourite green sweater. It’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. Today’s the day to flaunt the green. And for those who feel particularly pumped about St. Patrick’s Day, wear a leprechaun costume.