Published: May 12, 2020

If music be the food of Skype, play on

At pipes|drums, we enjoy a good play on words. Heck, let’s be honest. We enjoy pretty much any play on words. As one of our mentors used to say, “No pun intended? Why not?!”

We were pleased to hear from the Richmond Hill Centennial Pipe Band of Richmond Hill, Ontario. They’re a performance-only band that, just like every other band these days, is sticking together while being apart through online means.

The band’s down to only 11 members, but it’s determined to keep at it.

“Despite these challenging times for pipe bands, with decreasing numbers and COVID-19, our band through its members’ dedication and determination are trying to keep the band going,” said Pipe-Major Paul McKenzie. “Since most of us travel some distance to attend band practices, we had already started meeting once a month for band practice, even before COVID-19. Now, with not being able to practice face-to-face, we all agreed to give Skype a try. We have been meeting once a week on Skype for the past month, and it’s working – maybe not the ideal solution, but at least it’s a practice, and the band still exists.”

One of their former members is Kristy Settle, who’s now living in Scotland. She’s a keen composer, and to honour the band members’ commitment to keeping the band going, McKenzie asked her if she would compose a tune.

“After speaking with Kristy, she agreed, and we decided on the name ‘Wee Band on Skype’ (a take-off on ‘The Wee Man from Skye.’ I hope this story gives other bands some motivation for continuing as well.”

Play on words; play on chanters; play on Skype; play on.

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