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Glasgow bagpiping article

Bagpipes Galore!

From the World Pipe Band Championships every August to piping museums to impromptu music sessions in corner pubs, there's little doubt that Glasgow is the place for bagpipe aficionados.

BY CANDACE LESLIE

We heard music as we hurried along Glasgow’s Argyle Street on a chilly winter afternoon. A lone piper was busking in the cold. Though no one actually stopped on the windy thoroughfare to listen, occasional coins clinked into the open bagpipe case, tossed, perhaps, by bundled shoppers appreciative of the young man’s tenacity. We, too, added a few from our gloved hands.

Later that evening we attended a concert by a Scottish folk group. This time, a highly trained piper dazzled the enthusiastic audience with brilliant playing in flawless ensemble with singers and band.

Meantime, throughout the day and into the evening, students were honing their skills at the College of Piping near the University of Glasgow and at the National Piping Centre in the heart of the city.

We were told it was a pretty typical winter bagpiping day.

Fast forward (or rewind) to a mid-August Saturday on Glasgow Green. Here 55,000 or so piping enthusiasts come out for the annual World Pipe Band Championships. In a single day, rain or shine, hundreds of bands from around the world fill the city's giant park beside the River Clyde, competing for coveted honors. For several days surrounding this tremendous event, an array of entertainments provides delight for piping aficionados of all ages and varying tastes.

The full text of this article is available in the SUMMER 2011 issue of Scottish Life.

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Photos left to right: © Candace Leslie; © Alan McAteer/Scottish Viewpoint/Event Scotland