Prince Albert Highlanders Pipes & Drums

Piping Humour

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Piping Slogans:
Been There...Drone That.
Don't do it with an old bag...
Please don't feed beer to the drummers.
Bagpipes...putting the FUN back in FUNERAL.
Piping...The Reel Thing.
Just say Piobaireachd!
Bagpipers...just slightly behind the times.
Pipers do it with Amazing Grace.
Blown hard, put away wet.
Piping...Get a Grip!
Loud Drums Save Pipes.
Piping...Reed all about it.
Strathspey. It's a Scottish wouldn't understand.
Piobaireachd... If you can't say it, you can't play it!
Piping...The missing link between music and noise.




by Michael Dorosh



Naturally enough, he sits at the front of the bus to the right of the driver so his view of the road is unobstructed (to keep the illusion that he is really in charge and that he knows where the bus actually is).  He is too good to bother sitting with any of his lowly minions, and the seat beside him will be taken up by his briefcase, sword, dirk, music book collection, room assignments, schedules, tune lists, pad of blank music manuscript paper (one never knows when inspiration will strike), and his expensive bagpipes (which are far too valuable to put in the cargo container).  He will show cursory interest in the goings on at the back of the bus by shooting dirty looks at the Lead Drummer.  The Pipe Major knows deep down that he would never fit in back there, and proves it occasionally by foraying rearwards and engaging in random conversations about last years Worlds, how much he likes haggis, and inviting the Junior Pipers to come up and practice that 2/4 on the chanter one last time with him.



If the Band doesnt have a Drum Major, the Pipe Sergeant will sit immediately behind the driver, otherwise, he will be two or three seats back.  Spends most of the time looking at the Pipe Majors seat, and picturing himself there.  More cordial than the Pipe Major to his fellow pipers, but he is as ill-adjusted socially.  May attempt to court drummers favor (because he knows that when he's Pipe Major they'll have to be on his side) by turning backwards and bobbing his head in line to the loud music blaring from the back of the bus.  May also engage in random conversation, but on a wider variety of topics.



Too new or too inexperienced to talk to the Senior Pipers, and unwilling to risk rejection by trying to talk to the drummers, the Junior Pipers sit in the middle of the bus, usually in groups of two.  They try to fit in by ignoring conversations regarding bagpipes, and try to show the Senior Pipers how cool and well rounded they are by bring tin whistles, Nintendo games, harmonicas, and various magazines onto the bus.  It almost never works, and they are treated like pariahs by Senior Pipers who are under the illusion that they were never geeks like that when they first joined.



These are the veterans of the band, who sit just in front of the drummers, towards the back of the bus, and cast wary looks at the Pipe Major and Pipe Sergeants.  Naturally, they dont envision themselves capable of the levels of despotism shown by the Pipe Major and Pipe Sergeants, Occasionally they will engage in conversation with the side drummers in an effort to convince themselves that the politics of being a piper are meaningless to them.  Senior Pipers complain a lot how poorly run the band is, and how the tunes they play suck compared to the ones they would have selected, had they been given a say.



The party conductor.  The oldest and most experienced drummer, who usually arranges for the cooler, the beer, the tape player and the tunes.  Respected openly by the drum corps (and secretly by the pipers), he engages anyone who cares to listen to a vast panoply of topics, and is even willing to discuss his arrest record.  Selects very unconventional music to play (because thats what the side drummers dig), and ignores the complaints of the pipers (who dont know what music is, obviously, because if they did they would be playing the drum).  Sits in the very last seat so that he can keep an eye on his band.



They sit in the rear seats, around the Lead Drummer, whom they all worship.  The Side Drummers will try to entertain the Lead Drummer by playing scores (or even exercises) with their sticks and pads, or on the back of the seats, or the cooler top, or the case of the Lead Drummers new CD.  They engage in conversation regarding the latest hip fashions, music videos, and will occasionally pass judgement on either the Pipe Major or the Junior Pipers (whom they hold in equally low regard).



They sit intermixed with the Senior Pipers and the Side Drummers.  Tenor Drummers cannot decide whether they are fun-loving (but better dressed) percussionists in the Side Drummer mold, or dedicated and professional musicians, like the Pipers.  Tenor Drummers spend most of their time on band trips trying to figure it out.  The Bass Drummer faces no conflict. . .he knows the band revolves around him.  He concentrates on drinking beer and keeping beat to the music playing from the back of the bus by bashing on the back of a seat (or a Junior Pipers head).



If he exists, he sits behind the driver, at the front of the bus.  The Drum Major spends time trying to understand pipe music, for often he is not a musician himself.  He pictures all the girls at the next gig going ape over his mace, his uniform, and especially his ability to mark time and look cool all at once.  The Drum Major often walks to the back of the bus to let them know whos in charge and also to pretend that hes a real drummer.



Naturally, hes the one in the drivers seat, but in between bouts of wishing that he was a million miles away, he swears to himself that if the music back there gets any louder, hes taking the whole twisted bunch of skirt-wearing losers into the next ditch.


Michael Dorosh is a Senior Piper and Corporal in the Regimental Pipes and Drums of The Calgary Highlanders (follow the links page to get to their site)

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