New youth pipe band forming in Glengarry
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]
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...