Pipe Dream

The following appeared in the latest issue of the ACPBA newsletter: In January, members of the Dartmouth & District Pipe Band had the opportunity to perform in Ireland at Temple Bar TradFest, Dublin's premier celebration of traditional music and culture. The 2011 festival ran from January 26th to 30th with its most ambitious program to date, offering more events than in any other year.

The band performed six times during the festival, including opening for Clannad outside of the famous Christ Church Cathedral, several street parades through Temple Bar and a concert performance on one of the outdoor stages.

The cathedral performance presented a few hitches, including a snow-bound Pipe Major and unexpectedly cool temperatures, yet the band rose to the occasion and enchanted the shivering crowd waiting to get into the sold-out Clannad concert. Of the street parades, one member says, “They were great fun. The crowd really got into it, following us through the streets, taking pictures and dancing along.” Halfway through the first parade, Scott Long appeared in proper dress ready to take his place; the aforementioned Pipe Major had arrived after a 24h delay in New Jersey and was reunited with his bags just as the parade commenced—yes, that's right; his flight was delayed and his bags were lost!

With half the performances under their kilts and pipes that were holding up quite admirably in the chilly humid weather, the band took in some sightseeing and pub visits in between Saturday’s line-up. After their final performance of the day, the travellers headed to a nearby watering hole for some band bonding. Upon approaching the pub, they heard the sound of pipes being played from within and found themselves crashing a celebration dinner honouring poet Robbie Burns. The attendees couldn't believe their luck (despite being Irish) that an entire pipe band from Nova Scotia had arrived at their party, and some remained unconvinced this hadn’t been pre-arranged.

“I saw this group of young people come in wearing hoodies and jeans and thought it was a bunch of ruffians,” laughed one of the dinner guests. “Turns out they all play the pipes!”

The two groups piped some tunes alongside one another late into the evening, and some of the band’s new fans came out to the well-attended final stage concert on Sunday, which was blessed with an enthusiastic audience and agreeable weather. After a legendary weekend, the band sailed home on clear skies, high on extraordinary music and Irish hospitality.