Tag Archives: bagpipes

It Takes a Lot of Wind to Blow a BagPipe

It Takes a Lot of Wind to Blow a BagPipe




In 1961 in the space of one  year the Carleton Place Pipe Band performer publicly testifying to hours of hard work to  turn a bunch of beginners into a competent band of musicians. Ex Cameron Highlander proposed the idea to Carleton Place’s  Legion Branch #192 to found a band under the auspices of  the local legion. They received permission to use the Legion’s name but at that time the Legion was carrying a large debt so they could not help the band financially.

Bill Keen, a piper of over 50 years from Almonte was recruited to act as an instructor along with one cracked chanter and three devoted pupils. As each of them progressed to the real thing from the chanter and the tabletop they used Bill purchased the instrument needed which at that time was $90 for bagpipes and $70 for drums. Their goal was to play publicly November 11, 1959.



Since money was low there was no extra funds for kilts so they all chose a uniform of Grey pants which everyone owned, battle dressed tunics dyed blue, white shirts and Legion ties. As November 11th approached hours of practise took a toll on the band and there was actually a casualty. One of the junior drummers was far too enthusiastic in learning new twirling skills and accidentally  hit himself in the nose drawing blood and a week later lost his sticks when he accidentally threw them out the window.

On the 11th they led the Remembrance Day parade in Carleton Place and in the afternoon the town of Almonte welcomed them. The only mishap was that the bagpipes froze slightly–but after everything they had been through that was only a small mishap.





The group practised over the winter but still the issue of uniforms came up– and the money issue was no better. Instead of giving up they held monthly pipe band dances at the Legion to try and solve the dilemma. Along with the monies from the dances the local bank backed a loan for $1000 and an order for kilts, spats, sporrans and hose tops was placed. The kilts from Scotland took about two months to arrive and the first appearance of a well dressed band was at a Legion Hall dance in 1960. There were 14 members of the band at this point and a dozen others practising under Major McGregor of Lanark. The Carleton Place Bagpipe Band in the end became so much more than a band. What would life be without bagpipes?




Clipped from The Ottawa Journal,  02 Oct 1961, Mon,  Page 20


The Carleton Place Kazoo Band — Great Moments in Kazoo History

When The Carleton Place Citizen’s Band Came Marching in to Lanark

And the Carleton Place Citizens Band Played On For Leah Bryce – Jean Craig — Irene Chamney– and Ruth Brown

The Beckwith Highlanders and “Humpy Billy” Moore

I Belong to Glasgow in the Month of August


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I Belong to Glasgow in the Month of August


Photos by Linda Seccaspina

There is nothing that makes me weep more than the strains of bagpipe music in the air. My late father introduced me to highland music when I was still in diapers. Every Sunday morning “the Scottish Lion” would be crouched down with his ear inches away from the old HiFi listening to bagpipe music at a death defying volume. Through the years he attended every Pipes and Drums Tattoo that came to Montreal without fail.


At age six I was given a Scottish Tartan hat with a black ribbon trailing down my back and I wore it until the fabric became worn and the tartan unrecognizable. Even though we were of British descent the veins of a Scotsman lived in my father’s heart until he died. Because of his love of  bagpipes, I try and attend The Highland Games in Almonte, Ontario each year.  I long to hear the pipers and watch the young lasses perform their Highland Flings. In my dreams I am the one on stage dancing between the swords with black leather ghilley’s on my feet.



All it takes is one song to live a 1000 memories. Each year when I watch the massed bands march across the Almonte Fairgrounds I relive my youth once more. A life where even though my father and I had differences we shared the love of the bagpipes. I don’t know what it is, but when words fail bagpipe music speaks

” Alba gu brath!” Which means: “Scotland Forever”;

British by birth, Scotland by heart and forever a Highlander in song. What would life be without a little bagpipe?



Come to To The North Lanark Highland Games

Saturday August 27, 2016
9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
N.L.A.S. Fairgrounds, Almonte, Ontario


Lanark County Genealogical Society Website

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News