The Canadian Statesman, Bowmanville, Wednesday, February 3, 1999
Pipe Band Seeking More Members
By Michelle Wyton
The Bowmanville Pipe Band has been a fixture in the town for more than 40 years and they are currently
looking for new members to help take them to a higher level of competition.
Pipe Major Jim Scott says the band is looking for three to five new pipers with grade three experience
to join the band for competitions.
We are currently have seven drum corps member and nine pipers, he said. We would like to compete with about
12 or 13 pipers. Last year, the band competed at a grade four level and did quite well. This year, Scott is hoping to
use that success to get into the higher skill level. We played in five Highland Games last year and we won awards
at four of them, recalled Scott. There are about 20 Ontario band in the grade four level and we came in fourth overall for
To move up into the grade three level, the band needs more pipers. The trick, said Scott, is to make
sure people know the Bowmanville Band is very active.
I dont think the band is well know here, he said. Were hoping that this will attract more people to the
band. Other than competition, we do a lot of other things, including the Santa Claus Parade, the Oshawa Fiesta Parade and
the Robbie Burns Dinner.
As always, the band will take new members regardless of skill level. Ten to 14 is about the ideal
age to start, says Scott. They pick it up faster and learn quicker. And if you lean during the that period of time, you never
lose it. New recruits in Bowmanville are taught by the bands most senior piper, Don Brooks. Brooks has been with the band
since it was first formed in 1951 and has seen it through its heyday when new recruits topped 50 pipers.
When we first started the band there were 40 to 50 men trying to learn, he said. At one point we
had 27 pipers. Things have changed a lot since we first started. We were the only band from here to Kingston in those days.
We did a lot of parades.
When we ordered our first set of pipes, we ordered 16 sets, he added. A lot of them are still around
today. Now Brooks said, the band does a lot more competitions. This improves the pipers skill, but there is still room
for those wanting to learn.
Its not hard to learn if you practice, he said. You have to build up your facial muscles to play.
All you really have to do is put in a good half-hour every day.
The attraction, he adds is the sound of the pipes, which is unlike any other instrument.
What attracted me to the pipes is the uniqueness of it, he said. Theres nothing really like it. You can
play by yourself and be the whole band pretty well.
I think piping it on the upswing, if anything, he added.
The band has been sponsored by the Legion through the years and without their support, through hall
rental and various donations, Brooks says the band wouldnt be around today.
Membership in the band does entail a certain level of commitment. Practices run Tuesday evenings
at the Legion Hall in Bowmanville and extra practices are held on Thursday in the summer during competition season.
For further information on this pipe band, contact the Bowmanville Legion Branch 178.