Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Scots Wha' Ha'

I was listening to a recording the other day of a bagpipe band from Brittany, Bagad du MoulinVert (Pipes and Drums from Celtic Brittany, Musical Heritage Society, 515657H). They are a very good pipe band. The music was somewhat different from the music I used to play when I belonged to a Scottish pipe band. For a year or so I was pipe major. I was enjoying it immensely when the drum section stepped forward as a solo section sithout pipes. I was remembering back to the drum section we had in the Clan Gordon Pipe Band. They were the sharpest drum section in the area. I’ll admit that there were not that many pipe bands in the area in the mid and late fifties. I can still hear the crack of the snare drums when they would step out front at some of our appearances and put on a ten or fifteen minute show. They were quite spectacular and it gave we pipers a chance to catch our breath.

A couple of days later I got a phone call. "This is Jack Montgomery. Is this the Frank Denton who used to be pipe major of the Clan Gordon Pipe Band?" Talk about serendipity. Jack Montgomery was young Jock in those days. His father, Old Jock, taught the bunch of us to play the pipes and made a band out of us. We played many parades during the summertime, and were named the official Honor Band of the Daffodil Festival. We accompanied the Daffodil Queen on her many appearances. The Portland Pipe Band (OR) thought we were the greatest band in the area and invited us to their Tartan Ball each year. They even got us an invitation to march in the Rose Parade one year. That is one tough parade.

Well, it seems that this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Clan Gordon Pipe Band. There will be a celebration in September. I’m not sure that I’ll be able to attend. We will probably be traveling. It was sad to hear that many of the members of the band in which I played are now deceased. I think I was next to the youngest during the years I played. Only a couple are alive, but many have stepped in to take our place. When I moved to the Seattle area I should have sought out another band to play with. But a career change brought more responsibilities and I couldn’t quite find time. There were three bands in Seattle at the time. And likely one of them would have been welcoming to another piper. That’s all a long time ago. Memories.


Blogger Bill said...

Very interesting, Frank. My grandfather played the pipes when he was a young man, but by the time I came along, he'd long since given it up.

6:50 AM  
Blogger Rory said...

Hey Frank,

I'm a piper in Southern Claifornia::
My Pipe Blog You can download tunes that I have composed there.

Have a good one!

4:03 PM  
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