Bagad Cap Caval coming to College of Piping in June
It will be the first trip outside of Europe for about 80 per cent of the band’s members, and Brittany’s Bagad Cap Caval has been secured for the Summerside Highland Gathering in Prince Edward Island June 24-26. The Grade 1 pipe band and full Breton bagad with perform and compete at the three-day event.
The June event marks the return of the Gathering after a hiatus of two years, and it will be the first time that a Grade 1 band from outside of North America has made the trip. Cap Caval’s attendance was made possible through fundraising by the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts in Summerside.
Why Cap Caval? According to College of Piping Education Director James MacHattie, the band was earmarked for several reasons, including the fact that the Canadian Maritimes region around Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick has a strong Acadian community.
“A Breton pipe band doing a concert on the Friday, and then competing on the weekend makes sense as a catalyst to bring two strong Celtic music traditions together,” MacHattie said. “Acadians are very good at step dance and fiddle, but fairly different from the Scottish/Irish descent dancers and fiddlers. Even though the Evangeline region, for example, is right down the coast from here, there has been no real reason for many of them to come by the College or even the games.”
Some 45 members of the band will likely make the trip, including top-flight solo pipers Herev le Floc’h, Alexis Meunier and, possibly, Alexis Bouderiou, and the band will likely field several mini-bands for a competition in the beer tent.
Cap Caval is the only Grade 1 pipe band from continental Europe, promoted to the top grade after the band’s win of the Grade 2 event at the 2008 World Pipe Band Championships.
MacHattie added that he hopes that other top-flight bands within a day’s drive might now consider attending the games to compete against Cap Caval and the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel).
The Friday night concert he said promises to bring something special to Summerside. “Cap Caval’s concerts are really good, so why not inject something different, something new, and something of high quality to the Maritimes piping scene?”