As I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, it’s wedding and graduation season in British Columbia, and for a Vancouver bagpiper, that can mean some busy weeknights and weekend evenings. Throw in the highland games competitions that take place most weekends around the region, and you can understand why spring is the busiest of times for a bagpiper, drummer, pipe major, sergeant and the circle of family, friends and hangers-on who travel to these games for the music, fun and intensity of competition.
Graduation ceremonies are also another opportunity to showcase the beautiful music of the bagpipes, as you lead in hundreds of grade 12 students, excited about finishing their high school years and moving on to another phase of their lives. This is one of the gigs that a piper plays when he or she is usually shunted to the side as soon as the procession is over. The students are excited about being dressed up for the occasion and are more interested in gathering around their friends taking pictures. However, you can usually find a picture or two of the piper as he/she marches in the group, thanks to parents and family in the audience.
As the poor weather finally seems to be breaking in the Lower Mainland of BC, it will soon be time to find a quiet park up on a hill or a cemetery to pull out the bagpipes and spend an hour practicing the beautiful music of my ancestors, and the modern music (ceol beag) from various regions around the country.
If you are a bagpiper, I hope you find the time to get outside and enjoy the spring weather, that your pipes are nicely balanced and tuned and you fill the air with great music.