Stand­ing on guard

The Glengarry News - - Front Page - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

Two Ap­ple Hill sib­lings have spent the sum­mer on Par­lia­ment Hill, where they pro­vided mu­si­cal ac­com­pa­ni­ment for the daily chang­ing of the guard.

Chris Mac­donell, 22, a piper, and his sis­ter, Re­becca, 20, a tenor and snare drum­mer, have been fix­tures on the Hill since late June.

Out­side of Buck­ing­ham Palace, Par­lia­ment Hill may be home to the most fa­mous chang­ing of the guard cer­e­mony in the world.

The rit­ual takes place at 10 a.m. every morn­ing from late June through late Au­gust, and pro­vides a colour­ful dis­play of pomp, pageantry and mu­sic.

Typ­i­cally, hun­dreds of peo­ple visit the Hill every morn­ing to watch the spec­ta­cle. And although he is play­ing to a big au­di­ence, Mr. Mac­donell says that it doesn’t make him ner­vous. “It’s not un­nerv­ing,” he said. “We trained ex­ten­sively for one and a half months prior to the as­sign­ment. By the time we got to Par­lia­ment Hill, we were used to it.”

Mr. Mac­donell and his sis­ter are part of a mass group of mu­si­cians that in­cludes 20 pipers, 10 drum­mers, and a brass and reed band of about 40. How­ever, he says that he’s not work­ing on the Hill every sin­gle day.

“We’re on ro­ta­tion,” he says. “We work about five to six days and then we get a few days off.”

Miss Mac­donell says that she and her brother are both grad­u­ates of Holy Trin­ity Se­condary School and that they learned to play their in­stru­ments at the Glen­garry School of Pip­ing and Drum­ming.

De­spite their Glen­garry ori­gin, life has taken the sib­lings in two dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. Mr. Mac­donell makes his home in Shilo, MB,

where he is a mem­ber of the Sec­ond Bat­tal­ion Princess Pa­tri­cia’s Cana­dian Light In­fantry.

Miss Mac­donell, mean­while, lives closer to home, where she drums with the SDG High­landers Pipe Band.

This marks the sec­ond year in a row that the sib­lings have played on Par­lia­ment Hill. They au­di­tioned for the jobs in the fall and were wel­comed back for a sec­ond year.

They say they will likely reap­ply for the as­sign­ment for a third year in a row.


ICONIC WORK: Re­becca Mac­donell and her brother have spe­cial sum­mer jobs.

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