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By Timothy Hinson

A couple months ago, I stumbled upon a promotional video for the St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band. I’m sure many of you have seen this video. There are some pretty profound statements about what it means to be in a pipe band, as well as some of the rewards and challenges that come along with our hobby. I think it’s important for us all to hear these things.

When you feel discouraged because your instrument is being uncooperative, when you feel frustrated because your hands won’t do what you’re trying to tell them to do, (or even if you’re disappointed that your band is not as prepared as you thought it was to compete), remember that there are others out there experiencing the same frustrations. But, at the same time, remember the history we strive to preserve. Remember the joy that you get when things (infrequent as they may) go incredibly well and fill you with joy. Remember who we are and why we do what we do.

We, and our instruments, have good days and bad days. When we arrive at a performance, we expect to look our best, play our best, be our best. Unfortunately, sometimes not everyone is able to perform at their full potential due to the instrument, physical limitations or stresses from other parts of life. I think that St. Thomas Alumni’s Pipe Major, Jamie Gattinger, succinctly and eloquently characterized the contribution that members not in the circle still contribute to the success of the whole band:

“This is a fun experience. Enjoy it, and enjoy playing. If you get cut, that’s your contribution to the band that day. Be a water guy, a helper, a towel holder, a whatever. Just be a part of the team. It’s not that you’re being exiled.”

We all have a part to play. In the circle and out, playing members or groupies/operational support, we all have our place. Together, we can make beautiful music.

“Are you ready? Okay. Let’s roll.”




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