Southern Ontario in general and the Toronto area especially used to see aÂ lot of teaching happening – and a lot of kids’ pipe bands.Â I can’t say for certain today how much teaching is going on but I do know we don’t have many “junior” bands around, the kindÂ built forÂ kids.Â
This part of the world is experiencing a pronounced drop in event participation.Â The recent cancellation of the Toronto Indoor Games is only one example.
I’m not entirely sure why this is the case – that we don’t have lots of bandsÂ focused onÂ teaching young people – but we’re feeling the effect today, there’s no doubt.
I started out in the Downview Junior Pipe Band, a west Toronto-based band taught byÂ TerryÂ Cleland, the long-time Pipe Major of the 400 Squadron Pipe Band.Â Â The band wouldÂ meet Sunday mornings at 10:00 am at the Falstaff Community Centre inÂ Downsview (today still a slightly unsavoury part of Toronto).Â With practice chanter and “green tutor book” in tow, Terry or one of his pals from the 400 Squadron, wouldÂ teachÂ kids – for free.Â The Downsview band was around a long time and started off countless pipers – many still playing today,Â some in first grade bands.Â Terry – and people likeÂ himÂ – are the real heroes of the tradition-bearing set.Â I wish we had moreÂ of them in action today. Â
Here’s a couple of photos for your entertainment.Â I thought they both had aÂ brilliant rag-taggle look.Â The nervous enthusiasm (and squeals and skirls) jumps out.
This is from the Alma Highland Games, Michigan, USA,Â May, 27,Â 1977:Â Â My first outdoor pipe band contest (I had a run at the TorontoÂ Indoor Games one month priorÂ so I was full of experience and confidence).Â I remember this well.Â Â
Here’s the march to the field.Â I’m behind the PM,Â a bespectacledÂ Hector MacDonald takes up theÂ Pipe Sergeant’s position.
AndÂ here in full competitive flight (or fright) – I’m on PMÂ Ron Morandin’s left.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.