Rock Stars… They walk among us!
Have you imagined the glory of being part of world tours performing in front of thousands of raptured fans or on stage with the likes of Sir Paul McCartney and side by side as an opening act with Sir Rod Stewart?
Of course, there are other realities to consider: the tour bus shenanigans; rushing to meet airline connections; weather consequences; and outright fatigue. Hundreds from Brant and surrounding locations have committed to just this choice over the past 18 years and the ranks are swelling as the years go by.
One catch? You had better be passionate about bagpipes!
Paris Port Dover Pipe Band is dazzling the rock music world one more time.
On three separate occasions, the band performed Mull of Kintyre on stage with Sir Paul McCartney. Gord Black, Pipe Major and Band Leader, has been tasked to organize all the pipers and drummers for Sir Rod Stewart’s 2018 North American Tour starting with the Paris Port Dover Band during March performances at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and London Ontario’s Budweiser Gardens. They make us proud and they have an international reputation for excellence.
Paris Port Dover Pipe Band is pleased to announce that they have been invited to the most prestigious professional Scottish music performance in the world. Edinburgh Castle is the home of the Edinburgh Tattoo and the band is returning to Scotland in August. No room for sightseeing, however. A week of practices and marching drills with hundreds of the world’s finest pipers and drummers followed by two performances a day, six days a week for three weeks. This year’s theme is celebrating youth in piping and many that have grown up with the band have made the cut and are excited about this honour.
But the dream goes back to Black’s formation of the band in 2000. Hundreds of folks aged from 6 to 86 have found a home in piping and drum accompaniment. The genesis of the band name began in Port Dover, then the band moved to Paris Ontario. It was the Port Dover group that began the international performances. The band loved the thought of playing at the Calgary Stampede and then it extended to Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone Park and Chicago…over a 10-day tour.
Practicing at the St. George Community Hall now, the band entertains the neighbours several days a week and sometimes outside when the weather allows.
Practice is critical. The summer brings band and solo competitions at Highland Games across the province over most weekends.
The opportunity and depth of involvement a is personal decision for each player’s commitment. There have been as many as three levels of competition bands over the years, even some being honoured as Champion Supreme recognition- national piping champions.
The band attended as a performing delegation with Brant municipal leaders to Dieppe and travelled to Vimy Ridge in France and then over to Irvin Scotland for a street parade in Black’s hometown. They have played several times in the Basil Switzerland Tattoo and international competitions at the Virginia Championships and Glasgow Championships. Black initiated and participated at the Crete International Tattoo as well.
Individual Pipers and Drummers have also achieved the highest competition honours including Solo Champion Supreme performers. Some love the street performances and show band duties: Christmas parades; local events like Spring Time in Paris; St. George Applefest; Waterford’s Pumpkinfest; and July 1st celebrations in Port Dover. Others show their solo skills professionally: at weddings; formal head table or sporting events; corporate functions; funerals; Remembrance Day, Robbie Burns celebrations; birthdays; not-for-profit fundraisers; and stage productions.
For some piping is an introduction to rewarding careers. Entry into The Governor General’s Ceremonial band travelling across the country for the summer is just one example. Application to officer training in Regular Forces is enhanced if you are a high-level player. Even the NCAA colleges in the U.S. scout for pipers and offer 4-year scholarships because being recognized as Canadian trained is a cherished attribute on your resume.
Most importantly, Black is dedicated to Scottish traditions through excellent talent and disciplined music performances. He trains as many as five different military cadet bands to create a farm team for the future. The Paris Port Dover Pipe band and individual players are a family, under his and other senior members’ tutelage, mentoring each other and sharing with others. Seeing the world and proud ambassadors 4BRANT.