Birthdays, Bagpipes & Pandemics – in Vancouver

Bill Ewing listening in (from 2m away) to his birthday tunes.

In a world turned upside down because of Covid 19, it’s good to know that music can help comfort some of those isolated in their homes, condos and retirement residences around the Lower Mainland. That’s what I did this past week.

It was Bill Ewing’s 90th birthday, and his daughter in Toronto wanted to do something to commemorate the occasion. But like most folks, Bill (a former CFL Calgary Stampeder) is social-isolating in his high rise condo in North Vancouver, with no visitors. What to do?

Well, that’s where a bagpiper comes in. Daughter Lori contacted me last week and asked me to be her birthday present to her loving dad. A friend told Bill he needed to be outside at 11 am. I showed up outside his building. and for an hour I played Scottish melodies for Bill and quite a few neighbours who joined him around the front of the building, listening   to a bit of piping and being transported away from the worries of this world for a brief moment.  Of course, I also played Happy Birthday. Unfortunately, there was no cake.

I don’t know how they found out, but CBC Vancouver also showed up and did a story about Bill, his birthday and bagpipes. The photos are from the CBC story.

I’ve also been visiting some of my favourite clients who I play for on Remembrance Day or Robbie Burns week. These are the senior homes and companies who hire me each year to play for special events. Now, it’s my turn to give back, and provide a bit of comfort during World War C.  With the Rocky Mountaineer season cancelled, these performances keep an old piper like me in playing shape and hopefully delivering a bit of comfort during these topsy turvy times.

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