Drum Heads off to Scotland

Published on Thu, Aug 1, 2002 by Mikael Kenoyer

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Drum Heads off to Scotland

By Mikael Kenoyer

“Its not your average go to camp summer,” said 2002 Blaine graduate Annie Head. Considering her plans to travel to Scotland to compete in the Pipe Band World Championships on Glasgow Green August 10, hers is a staggering understatement.

This won’t be Head’s first visit to the World Championships. Last year, the Burnaby, BC based Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, grade 3, to which she belonged won the juvenile title. This year she's competing in the grade 2 band, just short of the professional level. Her band will face off against 35 of the best pipe bands in the world, including hometown rival, Maple Ridge Pipe Band. The rivalry is twofold for Head; her brother Ian drums for Maple Ridge.

The younger of the two, Ian was the first to join a pipe band. With Scottish blood and family friends in bands, he was talked into joining the Northwest MacGregor Pipe Band, a grade 4 in Mt. Vernon, in early 1999. Annie, a highland dancer since four, was soon asked to try drumming in the same band. She started playing in late 1999.

Training for the world championships hasn’t been easy. As the competition nears, the rehearsals multiply from twice weekly to every day. “Starting in May, there go your weekends, then in July, there goes your life,” said Annie. She added, smiling, “it’s worth it.”

To compete in the afternoon at the world championships, both bands will have to finish in the top six of 18 in their morning competition. “Both of us are expecting to go on,” Annie said. The two won’t meet until the afternoon. Who’s going to win? Annie and Ian eyed each other and tactfully expressed their equal skill and desire just to play well before Annie broke into a smile and admitted, “it’s sibling rivalry to the max.”

Ian’s band leaves August 1 to play highland games at Inver Keithing and Bridge of Alan before the championships. Whatever the outcome, both drummers plan to continue playing. “You either love the pipes, or you hate them,” Annie and Ian chorused. .

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