For the love, or hatred, of bagpipes

Photo by Wiseman Photography

Do you love bagpipes, or loathe them?

If you were to ask a random sampling of people, “What do you think about bagpipes?”, you would rarely hear, “Meh, I can take them or leave them.” People either love them or hate them.

I love them.

This is lucky for me. As I write this piece, I’m sitting on my back deck listening to my next-door neighbour practise his bagpipes. The haunting notes waft through the air to me here in my peaceful place. Chills, it gives me.

I harbour the quiet belief that anyone who says they hate bagpipes has never heard a massed band play “Amazing Grace.” In the 1990s I covered the North Lanark Highland Games many times for Rogers TV. When all the competing pipe bands assembled on the last day to march and performed together in a massed band, I cried every time. Chills, it gave me.

On my birthday last year I awoke to a warm, sunny day. I took the paper and my coffee to the front porch to enjoy the morning just as my next-door neighbour stepped out his front door to prepare himself for a pipe band competition. He played a perfect version of “Scotland the Brave.”

I soaked up the performance. “What a perfect birthday present,” I thought. “It doesn’t get any better than this.” 

My teenaged daughter, disturbed from a Saturday morning sleep-in, appeared at the door. Bleary-eyed she said, “What is up with that awful noise?”

Bagpipes: They aren’t for everyone.

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About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on June 19, 2012, in Living life to the fullest, Music, Nostalgia and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I LOVE THEM. THEY ALSO GIVE ME CHILLS AND BRING TEARS. WHEN I WAS A KID A NEIGHBOUR OF MINE HAD A RELATIVE WHO PLAYED THE PIPES. FREQUENTLY DURING THE SUMMER HE’D PACE THEIR SMALL BACK YARD AND GIVE THE NEIGHBOURHOOD A THRILL. ONE OF MY FAVORITE MEMORIES IS LYING IN MY BED ON A HOT SUMMER EVENING AND LISTENING … IN AWE. SO MANY GOOD SOUNDS FROM A BAG OF AIR.

    • My neighbour is not the only person in our neighbourhood who plays the bagpipes. Another man lives a couple of blocks away in a house that backs onto the Greenbelt. He walks out into the Greenbelt and practises out amongst the trees. It is SO beautiful when I’m out there walking my dog and hear the bagpipes in the distance.

  2. It’s nice to hear your stories about how much you love listening to the bagpipes. It’s one of the reasons we like to play them. Thank you.

    • Hi Mike,
      I received lots of comments on this (mostly on my Facebook account) and every one of them was to say how much they loved the bagpipes. It’s good! Thanks for dropping in and keeep playing.
      Arlene

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