New youth pipe band form­ing in Glen­garry

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

Call­ing all young pipers and drum­mers and would-be young pipers and drum­mers too.

There’s a brand new youth pipe band start­ing up in Glen­garry and or­ga­niz­ers are look­ing for in­ter­ested young peo­ple, from ab­so­lute be­gin­ners to novice mu­si­cians, to step up and sign on.

The only con­di­tions are that you are 18 and un­der, are will­ing to learn an in­stru­ment, and have the stick-with-it­ness to prac­tice, work hard and at­tend re­hearsals.

By next year, mem­bers will be in their kilts and ex­pected to be avail­able to join their band­mates in a full-fledged com­mu­nity novice ju­ve­nile band play­ing at lo­cal events and even­tu­ally com­pet­ing at var­i­ous nearby High­land Games and other com­pe­ti­tions.

The band, that has not yet been named, will be un­der the aegis of the Glen­garry Pipe Band (GPB).

The of­fi­cial an­nounce­ment that a new ju­ve­nile novice band was start­ing up in Glen­garry came last week from GPB piper and band quar­ter­mas­ter Shel­ley MacPhee and GPB’s for­mer pipe ma­jor, Ross Dav­i­son.

Or­ga­niz­ing the band will be Ms. MacPhee, a long-time pip­ing in­struc­tor at the Glen­garry School of Pip­ing and Drum­ming (GSPD) in Maxville, and Mr. Dav­i­son who now pipes with the Grade 1 com­pet­i­tive Ot­tawa Po­lice Ser­vice Pipe Band and is a full-time bag­pipe in­struc­tor and OCT-trained teacher in Ot­tawa.

Also in­volved are GPB band mem­bers, lead drum­mer Jim Bush who teaches at GSPD, and the school’s tenor and bass in­struc­tor, Shelby MacCrim­mon-Bush.

“When Shel­ley told me about plans to add a youth band and asked if I would help get it off the ground, I said, Oh yes, ab­so­lutely, that’s some­thing I will find time to do,” says Mr. Dav­i­son.

Mr. Dav­i­son be­came hooked on the pipes af­ter at­tend­ing an edi­tion of the Glen­garry High­land Games, an ex­pe­ri­ence that would change his life. An Amer­i­can liv­ing in New York State, as a young teen he be­gan trav­el­ling across the bor­der ev­ery week­end to take bag­pipe lessons in Maxville. Even­tu­ally, he and his par­ents would im­mi­grate to Canada.

“This is why Glen­garry is so im­por­tant to me,” says the pas­sion­ate bag­piper. “Com­ing from a dif­fer­ent coun­try to Glen­garry specif­i­cally to take lessons and then re­al­iz­ing how im­por­tant the mu­si­cal scene is here, not only on a Cana­dian level but on a world level, has led to the de­ci­sions I’ve made over the course of the years.”

With the longterm dream of form­ing a Glen­garry Pipe Band af­fil­i­ate youth band in her sights, Ms. MacPhee be­gan hold­ing week­end prac­tices this sum­mer on the ter- race of the Met­calfe Cen­tre over­look­ing the Maxville fair­grounds.

“We now have eight or ten, and you re­ally want about 16 to 18 pipers and four to six drum­mers,” says Ms. MacPhee. “We also need a tenor drum­mer and we need a bass.”

Ms MacPhee ex­plains that ac­cord­ing to the Pipers and Pipe Band So­ci­ety of On­tario (PPBSO) that over­sees band grad­ing and el­i­gi­bil­ity, there is a min­i­mum num­ber of mem­bers needed for a novice ju­ve­nile band: five pipers, two snare drum­mers, one bass, all of el­i­gi­ble ju­ve­nile age.

“Even though this is the min­i­mum, we would al­most never go out with so few and no tenor,” ex­plains Ms. MacPhee.

There is no charge to play in the band. Mem­bers will be re­spon­si­ble for the ini­tial in­struc­tion to bring them up to a level where the band can ac­com­mo­date them.

Lessons are through the GSPD un­less the player lives in an­other re­gion and has taken lessons or has a pri­vate teacher.

The band pro­vides the kilt and ba­sic uni­form with the player re­spon­si­ble for hose, hat, shoes, and in­stru­ments can be rented from the school.

Pip­ing is not a rich man’s game as the old say­ing goes and the new band will even­tu­ally need to need to or­ga­nize fundrais­ers and seek spon­sors in ad­di­tion to the Glen­garry Pipe Band’s long­time sup­port from the Glen­garry School of Pip­ing and Drum­ming and the Glen­garry High­land Games Com­mit­tee.

Sum­ming up the vi­sion for the new youth band, Ross Dav­i­son says that af­ter at­tend­ing this sum­mer’s World Cham­pi­onships in Scot­land, he re­al­izes that there is a world­wide trend for ju­ve­nile bands.

“There’s a re­ju­ve­na­tion of youth bands and be­cause there has al­ways been and in­ter­est in pro­mot­ing mu­si­cal youth in Glen­garry, we’re try­ing to be lead­ers in bring­ing this trend to On­tario,” says Mr. Dav­i­son.

“And it’s great for the kids,” says Ms. MacPhee. “They are all from dif­fer­ent schools and ar­eas and sud­denly they’re to­gether as a bunch, get­ting along and hav­ing fun.”

“Meet your new best friends, we tell them. Be­cause these are go­ing to be your best friends for quite a while, for the rest of your life,” says Ms. MacPhee. “I’ve seen it hap­pen.”

The new Glen­garry Pipe band novice ju­ve­nile band is ac­cept­ing mem­bers who are 18 years of age and un­der, and who have ei­ther al­ready start­ing play­ing, or are want­ing to learn to play. To find our more about join­ing, call Shel­ley MacPhee at (613) 527-5357 or glen­gar­ryschoolpi­pe­and­[email protected]

MAR­GARET CALDBICK PHOTO

START­ING A BAND: Shel­ley MacPhee, quar­ter­mas­ter of the Glen­garry Pipe Band and pip­ing in­struc­tor at the Glen­garry School of Pip­ing and Drum­ming, leads a prac­tice with a core group of her young stu­dents who have joined the new and first-ever novice...

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