Published: February 20, 2016

Junior bands cross continent to assist one another

The 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Youth Pipe Band and the Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band (University of Regina) are working together on a special initiative that will provide development and competition opportunities for both organizations.

The two youth bands have been working on a common repertoire for a number of months, and will be coming together twice in the 2016 season, once at the Saskatchewan Highland Gathering and Celtic Festival (May 21-22) in Regina, Saskatchewan, and again at the New Brunswick Highland Gathering in Fredericton, New Brunswick (July 23-24).

The combined band will be led by Eilidh MacDonald, former pipe-major of the Regina band, and currently a member of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Grade 1 group.

Eilidh MacDonald leading the Regina Junior group.

Rod MacLean, President of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Bands, is enthusiastic about the benefits for the Halifax-area youth. “Our organization has well-established Grade 1 and Grade 3 bands, plus a new crop of dedicated and enthusiastic learners, but not quite enough to field a full group for all the games in the Maritimes. Eilidh suggested combining them with her ‘home’ band to give our learners some motivation and experience they wouldn¹t otherwise have.”

The Halifax youth members are raising funds for their trip to Regina in May, where they will be hosted by the Regina band, and will compete and perform with the Conservatory Pipe Band.

In Regina, the young members of the Conservatory Pipe Band are excited about their first trip outside the Prairies as a band, and are also fundraising and working hard to raise the funds for the trip. “It’s a great development for the band,” says Iain MacDonald, the band director. “We were looking for a project to get the kids really excited about the music and the opportunities it provides, and this seemed perfect. Eilidh has been working with the band here in the spring and summers, and we are really pleased to be aligned with the 78th in Halifax, and look forward to all the opportunities and friendships that will develop as a result.”

The City of Regina and 78th Highlanders pipe bands will support the initiative with uniforms and instruments for all the players, including a set of Campbell Tunable Pipe Chanters sponsored by the chanter¹s developer, Kyle Campbell. The Halifax-Regina Youth Pipe Band will launch a Facebook page so that people can follow the activities, and the group is open to donations or in-kind sponsorships to assist.

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