Vancouver bagpipes, weddings and funerals

Pity the poor Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey or Richmond bagpiper who must venture out into the November rain and cold for a wedding, funeral or other Vancouver area bagpiping event.  A shock awaits your fingers and your reeds. Best have your Inverness rain cape and some “hot shots” handy.

Remembrance Day 2010 has passed, and for many of us, this now means our indoor bagpiping season gets underway full throttle. Autumn brings new tunes, band practices, lessons and a chance to start the long journey into next spring and summer’s competition season.  The new pipers amongst us are tackling their first tunes and dreaming of the day they can shoulder their Great Highland Bagpipes and play along with their band.

As for me, this too is a new experience as I am forcing my aging brain to memorize a large repertoire of 2/4’s, 6/8’s and even a 6/4. As one of the newest members of the RCMP “E” Division Pipe Band, I have plenty of catching up to do to play along with veteran members of this band which formed in 2006.  With a young child at home, my days of playing with a band slowed to a trickle in recent years. However, the call of the pipes has been strong, and my daughter will soon be a great companion to take along on piping gigs. My hope is that she too will feel the pull of our ancestral music, but that will be her decision.

With band practices in full swing, I have also been playing at a number of funerals and other events in the BC Lower Mainland. Luckily, most have been “inside” jobs, but I was fortunate recently when the rain eased and I stepped outside a church to play in very grey but reasonable weather for departing mourners.  This weekend I will bring the sound of the pipes to a black-tie wedding party in West Vancouver. Let’s hope the weather holds and the couple ties the knot to the sounds of a dry, cheery bagpiper with all reeds and fingers working and both the piper and bagpipes somewhat in tune.

About Mike Chisholm

Official Piper: Rocky Mountaineer Rail Tours. Pitt River Resort. Exec. Dir. ScotFestBC: The British Columbia Highland Games, Director, BC Pipers' Assn. Former journalist, Nova Scotian, Dad.
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