• Author:Palmer Shonk
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Just Let the Children Play!

Another summer piping/drumming season has come and gone. As we transition into the year-end highland games, I think it’s fair to begin looking back at the season behind us. You know folks, another year of piping/drumming, another World’s, and I hear/read the same complaint as always, “Why does such and such a band have so many ringers, it’s NOT right!”

To be fair, I’m down for complaining, or, if you’re so inclined - ranting!! If it wasn’t for people ranting about this and that, then we as a society might not have nearly enough topics to discuss and even argue about. So, in light of my ability to write about others’ complaints, I bring to you a counter argument to the whole “ringer” in a pipe band situation.

You know, I hear what people are saying and why they become so angry when talking about the inflated sizes of pipe bands, especially lower grade bands at say, the World’s. When a band has only 7-10 pipers throughout the year, but then has 15-20 just for one competition, then it’s sorta not the same band, really. It’s more of an amalgamation, or a compilation of good players. BUT, and I do say BUT(T hehe), I really don’t find fault when one’s pipe band isn’t “going over” and as a piper or drummer you just – want – to – play! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a very good player and jumping in to play with a better or worse band than the one you play with during the year. Why should someone be denied the chance to make music with another pipe band? Isn’t that why we all got into this in the first place? For the music??

Many of you are really, really into the whole pipe band scene, or game, if you will. Some of us are pretty much addicted to it. That’s fine. You’re allowed to be. When I read people’s negative opinions about “jumping ship” to another band it just confuses me. As long as a person isn’t taking advantage of competition rules, I think we should celebrate when the occasional long distance player is willing spend a lot of time and money to learn and make music; and to celebrate the Scottish arts with like minded individuals!