January 29, 1998 in Features

Bagpipes Take Spotlight

William Berry Correspondent
 

Pomp, ceremony and loud music arrive at the Spokane Arena Monday with the Black Watch Pipes and Drums and the Regimental Band of the Scots Guards.

Their 60-city tour of North America, “Scotland the Brave,” claims that there’s a little bit of Scotland in all of us. If you hear this many bagpipes, a little Scotland will at least be reverberating in your bones.

Yes, literally. Bagpipes are loud. Used for centuries to inspire armies and scare the enemy, the sound of the Highland pipes will drill right through you.

Bagpipes are loud because each set is actually four instruments in one. There are three drone pipes, which continually belt out a perfect fifth, and a chanter pipe, which the musician fingers to play the melody.

Each of these pipes is powered by a double reed, which is an outdoor cousin of the ones used in oboes and bassoons. The player provides wind to all of them with arm pressure on the valved bag, which is filled in turn by the breath.

Arguably one of the best pipe bands in the world, the Black Watch is a regular military unit of the British Army. They were recently stationed in Hong Kong for the handover of the Crown Colony to the People’s Republic of China.

The Scots Guards is also a regular military unit. The band is best known to tourists as the band which accompanies the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Their ceremonial uniform - scarlet tunic, blue trousers with red stripe and the famous bearskin cap - is an instantly recognizable symbol of Great Britain.

These two units combine with Highland dancers for their touring presentation. This performance includes traditional folk music, military tunes and historical narration.

The tour focuses on the legacy of the Scottish fighting man, and features well-known melodies such as “Highland Laddie” and the title tune, “Scotland the Brave.” The dancers will perform the complex and rigorous “Highland Fling” and “Argyle Broadswords.” And I would be shocked if the audience left the Arena without hearing “Amazing Grace.”

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT “Scotland the Brave” will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday at the Spokane Arena. Tickets are $18, with discounts for seniors and groups, available at G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets or call (800) 325-SEAT.

This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT “Scotland the Brave” will be presented at 7 p.m. Monday at the Spokane Arena. Tickets are $18, with discounts for seniors and groups, available at G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets or call (800) 325-SEAT.


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