Local bagpipes looking for new blood

Castle Cary pipers

Members of the Castle Cary Pipes and Drums band march in a parade.

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: bagpipers wanted.

JD Baillie has been piping with the Castle Cary Pipes and Drums band for more than 25 years, and says the band’s receding membership needs filling.

“Due to age and time we’ve seen a lot of members come and go,” says Baillie. “We used to have around 35 members but we’re down to about 14. We hope we can get membership back up to where it used to be. ”

The band is recruiting as many new pipers and drummers as possible, and a lifetime of experience isn’t required to join as the band teaches members free of charge.

“In the piping community there’s a culture of giving back. We want to teach as we were taught,” says Baillie. “We don’t want a lack of experience to be a barrier for entry. Everyone has to start their career somehow.”

Those interested in joining the band will have to supply their own pipes, but drums are provided. The band also plays in full Scottish regalia complete with brogues, sporran, sgian dubh, and of course the iconic kilt.

“We’re all about authenticity,” says Baillie. “We figure if we’re going to bother doing it at all, we might as well do it right.”

This is a unique opportunity to be a part of a musical group that has been entwined with Victoria’s culture for almost three decades. Founded in the early 1980s, the band has become a staple of a number of events around Victoria including the Highland Games, the Remembrance Day Ceremony at the Langford Cenotaph, and Langford’s Freedom of the City celebration.

Interested pipers and drummers are encouraged to contact the Castle Cary Pipes and Drums band at their website www.castlecarypipesanddrums.ca or to contact Baillie directly at tisvcs@yahoo.com.

-Shawn O’Hara, Staff Writer

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