A #Vancouver Bagpiper in the November Rain

dscf9586It may appear meditative, or a bit reflective, but a bagpiper playing under the grey, overcast skies of November in Vancouver is likely thinking about the weather.

The warm days of spring, summer and early fall are behind us. Now it’s time to start wrapping up the year with  Remembrance Day 2016 and all the other events that lead up to our national day of reflection on the sacrifices of our forefathers and mothers. Throughout the country, as communities gather to remember the fallen, the piper is charged with delivering the lament to lost soldiers. In most cases, it’s the traditional tune  Flowers of the Forest. Continue reading

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BC Pipers on the Great Wall of China

img_7663It was an amazing trip full of music, dancing, friendships, an engagement, a loss and a lot of memories.

From September 26 to October 3, 2016, almost 30 RCMP pipers, drummers, dancers and their spouses from BC, Edmonton and Regina travelled to China to participate along with dozens of other musical and dancing acts in the Beijing International Tourism Festival. Our jam-packed schedule included highlights such as: Continue reading

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Bagpiping at weddings in Vancouver and beyond

Wedding Piper, Scotland

Scottish wedding piper

Have you thought about walking down the aisle to the skirl of the great highland bagpipes? If so, you are not alone.

In the past year, there has been a resurgence of brides and couples inquiring about adding cultural and musical impact to their wedding ceremony. From grand entrances at a church, to leading in the

Haida Gwai wedding

Haida Gwai wedding

groomsmen, bridesmaids and bride to the sounds of the pipes at outdoor venues and parks, it’s always a show-stopper that sets your ceremony apart from what most people (guests) are used to at summer wedding ceremonies. Continue reading

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Halifax Pipe Major Barb Stewart and her father’s pipes: Heading to Juno

My first piping instructor – still going strong, with her father’s pipes. What the story doesn’t say is that when Barb’s father showed up in Scotland during leave, to pick up and pay for his pipes, his regiment had already paid for them out of respect.

D-Day bagpipes still heard in Halifax

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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. Continue reading

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Shamrocks, four leaf clovers and bagpipes: St. Patrick’s Day in Vancouver

The plaid is a sure sign of spring in British Columbia.

Festival du Bois

Starting this weekend, the French Canadian community in the Lower Mainland is the first to host a festival that has been going strong for 40 years.  The Festival du Bois takes place the March  5 weekend in Coquitlam, and is the kick-off event of the 2016 festival year. There’ll be lots of great French Canadian entertainment taking place under the tents at MacKin Park in Coquitlam, although curiously, one of the former



headliners at the festival, Acadian Lennie Gallant of PEI is performing at Vancouver ‘s Rogue Folk Club that weekend. The strange programming aside, the days are getting a big longer, the sun warmer and despite two weekends of grey skies and rain, the Festival du Bois is a clear indication spring is on its way – and so is St. Patrick’s Day.

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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.

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Ringing in the New Year at 4 & Midnight

Large Blog ImageIt can be a lot of fun piping in a new year in British Columbia, especially at 4 o’clock on New Year’s Eve.

When the clock chimes 4 pm in BC, it’s rings midnight in Scotland. And when Scotland celebrates, so too do folks here in BC.  For years, families, friends and groups have been meeting at pubs around the lower mainland on New Year’s afternoon to  ring in the “Scottish” New Year. In this era of instant contact, some are even Face timing with friends in the old country sitting at similar pubs while everyone counts down together. It’s a bit of that fun has been taking place for years.  Of course, what’s a Scottish New Year’s celebration without bagpipes?  Marching in at the strike of 4, singing Auld Lang Syne together is a great way to spend a late afternoon. Especially with another big celebration only eight hours away.


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