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  1. #1
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    Bagpipes & Kilts & Curling

    I was asked to be part of a panel for a discussion on bagpiping, our highland attire, and the ties to curling by the Curler Outreach Program, and wanted to see if I could get some discussion ideas from this group. I am curious to see if there are about ideas, thoughts, or opinions on what to talk about and/or some interesting stories or answers I can weave in to my talking points.

    I am very interested in hearing thoughts/opinions/questions from my fellow Marksers, whether you have answers to the questions they gave me (below), additional questions yourselves, interesting stories/experiences with curling to share, etc. Ultimately, I would love to get ideas, but also thought this might be an interesting discussion just among this forum.

    Here were some ideas for topics of discussion:


    • Scotland the Brave vs. other tunes- why would a piper play anything else? Does it imply a different event/ceremony?

      • What other songs are out there? Do they have meanings when they are played?

    • advice/discussion/protips for other pipers (what to wear, falling on ice and other problems),
    • Info regarding the history of pipes and curling, and their ties to Scottish culture
    • What are the traditional pieces of the highland garb?




  2. The Following 3 Users say 'Aye' to WalesLax For This Useful Post:


  3. #2
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    "Scotland the Brave" is a popular tune and one that most non-pipers recognize, although 90% of the latter will call it "My Bonnie Lassie". It has no particular significance as a tune other than that it is easily recognized by the public, and is often played for that reason. A piper might well play a different tune, in part because he/she is sick and tired of playing StB. There are literally thousands of excellent pipe tunes and any 2/4, 4/4 or 6/8 march can be played to march people onto the ice; it only needs to be a lively tune. I have often played "Highland Laddie", "The Glendaruel Highlanders", "Bonnie Dundee" or "The Blue Bonnets" for marching groups into events, including bonspiels. Of course, the event organizers may request that the piper play a particular tune.

    As for marching on the ice, this can be deadly for a piper wearing shoes with leather soles and metal plates in the heel. I used to wear a pair of rubber overshoes covering my brogues whenever I played for a bonspiel. These give a decent grip on the ice, but they have become harder to find in recent years. Nowadays, I wear ghillie brogues with soft rubber soles and heels. So far, I have never fallen on the ice. Taking shorter steps also helps with marching on the ice.

    The necessary pieces of highland dress depend on whether the piper is wearing day dress, evening (formal) dress or full military number 1 dress. At minimum, a male piper should be wearing a kilt, sporran, appropriate hose, a jacket and tie and a glengarry or balmoral hat. For a less formal affair the piper might choose a sweater in lieu of the jacket and tie. Women pipers may be similarly dressed or may simply be wearing a tartan skirt with an appropriate top. In this case the lady piper would not normally be wearing a hat. Most pipers wear what they have, be it their personal gear or the uniform of the pipe band they play with. There really are no hard and fast rules.

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  5. #3
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    I've been really excited ever since I heard that a curling club was starting up nearby. Their opening's been delayed due to COVID, but when they do open, I'm ready. I love watching curling and would love to try it. That said, I was wondering whether a kilt would be appropriate for it, since that's my normal attire anymore. I'd say this answers that question nicely.

  6. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichiganKyle View Post
    I've been really excited ever since I heard that a curling club was starting up nearby. Their opening's been delayed due to COVID, but when they do open, I'm ready. I love watching curling and would love to try it. That said, I was wondering whether a kilt would be appropriate for it, since that's my normal attire anymore. I'd say this answers that question nicely.
    I do know that Grand Rapids Curling is coming back to life, after a "brief" hiatus (and another due to Covid) (https://www.grcurling.com/?fbclid=Iw...-AkWYxIEUtDCjY). I don't know how far you are from Greater Midland or Kalamazoo, but they are both great clubs, as is Detroit, where I have a few friends.

    Can't wait to make you 'one of us!'

    Rob

  7. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalesLax View Post
    I do know that Grand Rapids Curling is coming back to life, after a "brief" hiatus (and another due to Covid) (https://www.grcurling.com/?fbclid=Iw...-AkWYxIEUtDCjY). I don't know how far you are from Greater Midland or Kalamazoo, but they are both great clubs, as is Detroit, where I have a few friends.

    Can't wait to make you 'one of us!'

    Rob
    Indeed, that's the one. Kalazoo's a bit of a drive, as is Midland, which is why I haven't gotten into it yet. But I'm very much looking forward to GR's "reopening".

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  9. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalesLax View Post

    Scotland the Brave vs. other tunes- why would a piper play anything else? Does it imply a different event/ceremony?

    What other songs are out there? Do they have meanings when they are played?
    About the Hockey our pipe band played on the ice for an Anaheim Ducks game last week. They wanted us to play The Star Spangled Banner which is horrid on the pipes, so we played other patriotic tunes (America The Beautiful and God Bless America). Our bit was pre-recorded in an empty arena due to Covid, they will play it during the game.

    What I have much more experience with piping for Scotland at the Rugby. The first time I was going to do it (at USA Sevens) I had no idea what to play. A piper who plays for the Rugby at Murrayfield in Edinburgh told me what to play and when to play it.

    The tunes were

    Highland Cathedral

    Flower Of Scotland

    Scotland The Brave

    We're No Awa' To Bide Awa'


    Highland Cathedral and Flower Of Scotland both played before the match commences, I forget which order, but I think it was Highland Cathedral as Scotland takes the field and then Flower of Scotland functioning as the National Anthem.

    During the match it's Scotland The Brave every time Scotland scores.

    Then No Awa' to Bide Awa' as Scotland leaves the pitch at the end of the first period.

    Not sure if it's correct but I played Highland Cathedral and Flower Of Scotland at the commencement of the second period. In fact, being up in the stands and not down on the field I was playing those more or less continuously during the match, competing as I was against Samoan drummers!

    At USA Sevens in Las Vegas Nevada

    Last edited by OC Richard; 7th April 21 at 06:48 AM.
    Proud Mountaineer from the Highlands of West Virginia; son of the Revolution and Civil War; first Europeans on the Guyandotte

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  11. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by OC Richard View Post
    At USA Sevens in Las Vegas Nevada

    Silver Bowl! Saw the Dead there I don't know how many times. I miss those carefree days of my youth.
    Last edited by SF Jeff; 10th April 21 at 06:16 PM.

  12. #8
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    I was researching after MichiganKyle's comments about an attempt to revive a local curling club. The wonders of algorithms ( and the web) showed me this.
    It is 1936.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPEg9vppji8
    Last edited by Brian Rose; 14th April 21 at 04:11 PM.

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  14. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Rose View Post
    I was researching after MichiganKyle's comments about an attempt to revive a local curling club. The wonders of algorithms ( and the web) showed me this.
    It is 1936.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPEg9vppji8
    I think our algorithms have aligned!


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