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.

So, where next for your piping and drumming fix?  The Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival is the next stop on the competition circuit.  May 21, 22 & 23 at Topaz Park in Victoria. This is a great highland games that draws a huge crowd and a number of pipe bands from the US, including this year, the LA Scots to compete in Grade I against SFU and Dowco Triumph Street pipe bands.

BCHG-SF Logo Piper  11Of course, Bellingham Scottish Highland Games and the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival fill up the competition circuit in June.

The BC Highland Games is now looking for volunteers. We have an expanded program this year, with additional pipe bands, a whisky tasting session that is double the size from last year, and a Quidditch demonstration match in the in-field. The professional piobaireachd competition (classical music of the pipes) is moving back to the field for a special night on June 17 in the new Highland Pavilion. A bar and live entertainment to follow. It will make for a great start to the Games, which wrap up late Saturday afternoon with a lively beer garden with live entertainment following the always popular massed pipe band. If you would like to help out, click here for more information and to connect with our volunteer coordinator Leslie Neill. A free tee-shirt, entry to the Games and a “pint (or pop) and pie” at the end of the day as a thank you.

As the sun finally starts to make an appearance in the Lower Mainland of BC, it’s time to start thinking about getting out to do something to support your culture. Highland games are a great way to spend a day amid the sights and sounds of “old Scotland” and to have a lot of fun at the same time. For tickets to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival – click here.



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