pipes|drums 2021 Pride Month Panel – Part 2
pipes|drums continues our celebration of Pride Month with an illuminating panel of drummer Leilani Lucas and pipers Rebecca Mair, Trevor Takahashi and Laureano Thomas-Sanchez who identify as LGBTQ+ as we work to open dialogue to gain understanding.
In Part 1, the group discussed how they got into piping and drumming, coming out, and the levels of acceptance they encountered.
pipes|drums 2021 Pride Month Panel – Part 1
June 18, 2021
In Part 2, we can understand better just how courageous these four talented musicians are. They discuss the variety of cultures and levels of acceptance between piping and drumming regions around the world. They discuss their safety concerns when out with their band, and the added safety that being with their bands and like-minded pipers and drummers brings to them.
It is an illuminating discussion that everyone in piping and drumming, regardless of your current attitude or disposition, should take the time to hear.
I will say that, in trying to put this panel together, it was challenge to find people who were willing to stand on a panel like this, and share these stories and be completely open about their identity. – Trevor Takahashi
Leilani Lucas is from the Sylmar neighbourhood of northern Los Angeles. They started their career in the pipe band world as drum-sergeant of the Granada Hills Charter High School Pipe Band in 2008 and continued in the role until 2012. Lucas then joined the Grade 3 Pasadena Scottish, where they worked with Lead-Drummer Glenn Kvidahl, a Grade 1 veteran. With Pasadena, Lucas elevated their skills with the nearly-undefeated corps on the Southern California competition circuit. As a solo drummer, Lucas rose from Grade 5 to Grade 2 standard in only a few years, and in 2017 was named lead-drummer of Pasadena’s new Grade 5 band, also competing with the Grade 3 group. In 2018, the band travelled to the World Championships, where the band won Grade 3B. Lucas is now lead-drummer with the recently formed City of Angels Pipe Band of Los Angeles. This group is proactively reaching out to LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities to get involved in piping and drumming.
Rebecca Mair lives in Vancouver and is a piper with the Grade 2 Robert Malcolm Memorial, the top feeder band in the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band organization. She identifies as Lesbian and took up the pipes some 20 years ago, introduced to Scottish culture by her Scottish parents, who immigrated to Canada when Mair was a year old. An accomplished piper, she teaches piping part-time and recognizes that the instrument is a massive part of her life.
A professional-grade solo piper from Cleveland, Ohio, Laureano Thomas-Sanchez came out as non-binary this year. They started piping in 2010 with the 87th Cleveland Pipe Band, receiving top-quality instruction, setting them up to move to the Grade 2 Great Lakes Pipe Band of Cleveland in only two years. Thomas-Sanchez stayed with Great Lakes for eight years, from 2012-2019, and played with the Alma College Pipe Band. A keen student of piobaireachd, they were upgraded to the Open/Professional solo grade by the Midwest Pipe Band Association in 2018, and this year Thomas-Sanchez is an instructor with the Ohio Scottish Arts School.
Trevor Takahashi is the pipe-major of the previously mentioned City of Angels. He identifies as gay and was previously the pipe-major of the Grade 3 Pasadena Scots. His vision for City of Angels is focused on actively welcoming those who identify LGBTQ+ and BIPOC to take up piping or drumming, providing an open and safe environment for all. pipes|drums interview Takahashi earlier this month, seeking his insights into the thinking behind the new band.
We thank these four courageous leaders for stepping up and contributing to a meaningful dialogue that has never occurred so widely in piping and drumming.
This is the second of three parts that will run over the rest of Pride Month. After watching, if your mind is opened even just a little more, we will be pleased.
Reaching out to LGBTQ+ and BIPOC communities (video)
June 4, 2021