Featured Pipe Band
The General Motors Pipe Band
-submitted by Gord Cairns
"I was living in Whitby, ON in the 1960s and had a
band in Oshawa. George Campbell, who was brought
out from Glasgow to play with the City of Toronto, lived
in Ajax. We met up at a parade at a legion function,
became friends, and decided to start up a band in
the Oshawa area. We started off with four pipers and
called ourselves the Oshawa and District Pipe Band.
We played at the indoor games as a quartet, didn't get
anywhere but we were keen. Bill Livingstone heard us
and asked if he could join us, seeing as he lived in
Whitby. We rented a hall in Oshawa for our first
practices and a few more pipers and a couple of
drummers decided to join us. One of the drummers,
Lou Grennier, knew that G.M. had a band at an earlier
time and there were uniforms to be had if we would
consider changing our name.
So the General Motors Band was formed with nine
pipers, three sides and a bass. It was strictly a
competing band and we entered right off the bat into
grade two. We struggled the first year, but we kept on.
The second year we started to take a few thirds and
the third year we were always second to the Guelph
Pipe Band. The next year we won every competition in
Ontario including Canadian and International at
Thousand Islands games. By that time we had
attracted more pipers and drummers, including Bill
Livingstone SR. I left the band at that time but I
understand the band was upgraded to grade one.
Something happened at General Motors and
the band dissolved. Bill Livingstone became the
Pipe Major of City of Toronto, the forerunner of the
Scottish Lion 78th Frasers."
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To Compete or Not To Compete
If you are considering going into competitions this
season, here are some pros and cons that may help
you to decide:
Competitions can be highly stressful. Some people
do not perform well under pressure and don't like
performing in front of crowds of strangers. If you don't
have a good performance or don't get a great review,
it can be discouraging. You have to be prepared to be
compared to other performers.
Another thing to consider is that competitions may not
be available in your area. Travelling can be expensive
and time consuming. Practicing in preparation for a
competition will also take up a lot of your time.
If you perform at weddings, funerals, and other
engagements, you may need to give them up in order
to attend competitions.
Preparing for a competition gives you a specific goal
to work towards. You may be more focused and pay
attention to details because you will want to do your
best. Although you may get feedback from friends and
fellow pipers, at a competition you will get an objective
view of your performance and will receive constructive
feedback on what you need to work on.
Performing at a competition will help you to overcome
any pressure you may feel about performing in front of
others, especially a large crowd of strangers!
Competitions are great places to meet other pipers,
who can give you tips and share competition stories.
Their performances may inspire you to keep
practicing. If you do well, they will acknowledge your
great performance. If you don't do so well, they will
offer support and encourage you to keep practicing
Thanks to those who responded to
our "What's Under Your Kilt" question.
Here are some of the responses you sent us:
-At OUR age, we need all the support we can get.
-Nothing is worn. It's all in good working order.
-Eff yer hands air warm and yer fingernails air clean,
ye can reach oop and find oot fer yerself.
Get your pipes ready for Competition