Bagpiping in Vancouver, the Indoor and outdoors

Piping outdoors at the Rocky Mountaineer station

After more than a month of non-stop rain and grey skies, the sun has returned (temporarily, I’m sure) to the lower south west corner of British Columbia. And that means only one thing – spring is around the corner.

Already,  the snow drops are blooming in my front yard, and the bushes are sprouting new green shoots in the backyard. And while it may seem like time to head outdoors for a bit of piping, the first thing on the schedule is the Indoor.

At this time of the year, most pipe bands are well into the practice season. In the Pacific Northwest, it’s only a short time to the BC Pipers’ Association Annual Gathering, also known as the “Indoor”. The Indoor  is held on the Friday and Saturday of the Easter long weekend featuring solo piping and drumming, pipe band competition solo piobaireachd and Open drumming competitions, as well as a drumming workshop.

This year, the 2016 BCPA Annual Gathering will be held on Friday and Saturday March 25 & 26, 2016 at Clayton Heights Secondary School, 7003 188 Street in Surrey, BC. (The 2016 Annual Gathering online entry form is located here.)

BC Pipers' Assn. Annual Gathering (The Indoor)
BC Pipers’ Assn. Annual Gathering (The Indoor)

The Indoor is the first opportunity for the competitive pipers, drummers and pipe bands to show their hard work over the winter, and to prepare for the competition season ahead in the spring and summer.  But for some, it’s not always about competition.

One of the advantages of having a lively and vibrant competitive pipe band scene in BC is there are plenty of former competitive pipers and drummers who no longer compete, but help to fill out the ranks of non-competitive, performance pipe bands. While competition is fun, it can also take a lot of time away from families and work. A performance bands allows one to continue to play the instrument they love, without the pressure of competition, travel, time and commitment.

This year the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival will again hold a performance band event for non-competitive pipe bands who would like to perform at the Games for an appreciative audience. This is a great opportunity to showcase a band, and to give them a great goal (without the pressure) of a high level performance. Bands interested in participating can contact me (

However, all of this is still a few months away, giving Vancouver bagpipers a chance to think about getting outside in the great outdoors to enjoy the coming spring, and the end of the “indoor” season.



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