Old is new again: Edmonton & District resurrects Viscount Park Pipe Band

Published: April 10, 2014
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The Grade 2 Edmonton & District Pipe Band of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, has changed its identity to Viscount Park, resurrecting the name of the popular band of the 1970s that featured several well know pipers and drummers.

The band’s Pipe-Major and Pipe-Sergeant are Katie Buckland and Dave Trew, while Aaron Carter is the Leading-Drummer, with some 32 total members on the roster, all but a few from the Edmonton area.

The group has already accepted an invitation to participate in the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in Lorient, Brittany, in August, only the third Canadian band to appear there in the festival’s 65-year history.

The new Viscount Park Pipe Band held a fundraising ceilidh on April 5th to kick off the new identity, complete with new logo and Ancient MacLeod of Harris kilts. Members of the original Viscount Park attended the event as special guests, including James Barrie, who flew in from Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

The original Viscount Park Pipe Band was started in in 1971 and was led by Iain MacCrimmon, and other members of the band during its eight years in the 1970s included Barrie, Ian Whitelaw, Iain MacCrimmon and Alec McIntyre, and the new band includes two members of the band from the ’70s in Cameron Prowse and Trew.

The new Grade 2 Viscount Park Pipe Band performs in early April.

“Edmonton & District has gone through a significant transformation in musical direction, approach and personnel over the last few years,” Aaron Carter said, “and we felt it important to augment this new chapter with an image that best illustrates what we are trying to do here. Viscount Park pays tribute to those who have done so much to advance the agenda of piping and drumming in Edmonton and carries with it a responsibility to continue this tradition.”

At the event former Pipe-Major and Leading-Drummer Jim Barrie and Rick Burden, respectively, presented Buckland and Carter with an original bass drum head from Viscount Park’s final year of existence in 1978, and former members were similarly honoured for their past achievements and contributions.

Members of the original Viscount Park present the band’s 1978 bass drum head to the band’s new leaders.

The group has also started a development program in Edmonton, which it will expand in the fall, teaching anyone who wishes to learn, regardless of age or economic status.

Viscount Park will perform in concert the night before the Fort Edmonton Highland Game on July 11, with guest piper James P. Troy also performing.

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Pipers: When getting the pipes up, stretch your arm round the bag rather than trying to shove the bag under your arm.
Anne Spalding, Broughty Ferry, Scotland