What was meant to be a momentous excursion for Okanagan pipe band members has been brought to a halt by COVID-19, but one Vernon piper isn’t letting a pandemic stop him from bringing music to his neighbourhood.
Dozens of pipers from across B.C. were preparing for a trip to the Netherlands in May, to mark the 75th anniversary of the country’s liberation from Nazi Germany, but the trip has been postponed until 2021.
“Our contacts over in Holland that have been working so tirelessly for us to get our whole trip set up, have continued to do that and are already in preparations for us to attend next year,” Kelowna Pipe Band Society manager Miriam Campbell said.
“As much as we would have loved to go this year and been there, this was totally out of our control.”
While the Netherlands pilgrimage has been put on hold, Vernon’s Tom Skinner is using his time spent in self-isolation to spread neighbourhood cheer with his bagpipes.
The Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band member has been in self-isolation since March 19 after returning home from holidays. In line with recommendations from public health officials, Skinner is self-isolating for 14 days.
“I am going to keep playing my bagpipes every day of self-quarantine,” Skinner posted to Facebook March 23. “I am also going to post one picture a day for the next 10 days to remind us all that it’s still a beautiful world out there.”
On March 24, Skinner took to his balcony to perform a trio of songs, including Geritol Kid #7, which he shared in a Facebook video.
For those who heard the sound of more than one bagpiper around 7 p.m., March 24, Skinner was joined from a distance by other members of the Highlanders. On March 25, Skinner put out a call for other musicians in the area to join him.
“Keep your social distance, but let’s show our support to our front line workers, and share a wee bit of music at the same time,” he said.