Celtic Connection column
I can’t believe how fast time is flying by. The time from January to now seems to have gone by in a blink of an eye. This is the time of year that starts our busy season at the college, and while it seems that we never really have a down time, we are heading into the time where a day off is few and far between.
© Submitted photo
Members of the College of Piping Grade 4 pipe band.
With this busy time comes sacrifice. Not just for employees at the college but our students as well. With a Scotland trip in the not too distant future, this is especially true for our band members.
With over 50 band members heading across the pond in August, our band members have very little free time between now and then. Whether it’s fundraising or practising, getting that many people ready and prepared for the World Pipe Band Championships takes a lot of time and with that comes sacrifice.
Growing up I missed out on a lot of the things my friends and peers were doing. In return I’ve gotten to compete, travel and have experiences that many people my age weren’t having. At the time I felt like I was missing out, that if I missed that one event all my friends were going to, I wouldn’t fit in or I would be perceived as the weird bagpipe girl. In retrospect, I had the better adventure. I don’t remember any of the things I missed in order to do something I loved – playing an instrument that would take me around the world, meet royalty, meet some of my best friends and give me experiences I thought I would never have.
The biggest sacrifice I’ve ever witnessed came from my younger twin sisters. They played with the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band and were headed to Scotland for a month to compete at the Worlds and another prestigious band contest, Cowal (with competitions in between). In order to go on this once-in-a-lifetime trip, they had to get full-time jobs as my parents were already retired and couldn’t afford to send them to Scotland.
The problem was that the twins were still in high school and in their Grade 12 year. They knew in advance that this was going to be a problem. They figured out how to graduate early and got their jobs and paid for their trip by themselves. They missed out on the last months with their friends and the extracurricular activities but instead they gained a world pipe band championship title, a Cowal title and first place finishes at every games the band played at - a clean sweep the whole time they were there. They still went to prom, graduation and went on to a post secondary education, but they had to make certain sacrifices along the way.
I’ve never told them how much I admire them for the decisions they made. They still talk about the trip and their accomplishments, and not many people can claim to be a world champion. It’s funny how, at the time, we can think that we might be missing out and years later reflect on how much better we were for making those decisions. It hurts and it’s hard but in the end it’s worth it. I can guarantee it. Just ask my sisters.
Kylie MacHattie is a bagpipe instructor at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside.