After a week at Simon Fraser University Pipe Band’s ‘Piping Hot Summer Drummer’ workshop at Silver Star, the Williams Lake Pipe Band attended the 2013 Kamloops Highland Games, where several members competed as individuals and where the band successfully performed a medley in the Grade 4 band competition.
The Williams Lake musicians also participated in a massed band performance, along with bands from Vernon, Kamloops, Quesnel and Simon Fraser University.
The week ‘on the mountain’ at Silver Star included individual and band instruction from world-class pipers, drummers and dancers from around the world, including J. Reid Maxwell, Stuart Liddell and Jack Lee.
It was the 20th anniversary of the school and there was a record number of students from around the world – South Africa, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Singapore, places throughout Europe and from across the U.S. and Canada.
This was Williams Lake Pipe Band tenor drummer Sandra Lees’ second year at Piping Hot Summer Drummer. After spending a week receiving instruction from two Simon Fraser Pipe Band tenor drummers – Nicola Purvis from New Zealand and MacKenzie Webster from B.C., Lees says that a real highlight at the workshop for her was learning to more successfully put her flourishes (drum stick twirls) to the beat of the music.
“Sharp tones mean quicker movements,” she explains, adding that she was excited to take her new skills to a peak experience of the weekend for her – the band’s competition performance at the Kamloops Highland Games.
“It was overwhelming – what a great feeling,” she said. “I was so scared going in, but I just went with the flow and put my flourishes with the music.
“When we played our way off the field and finished, the feeling was unbelievable for me. Maybe we didn’t win, but that doesn’t matter to me. I know we did our best and we played well.”
She said that the incredible inspiration from her week at Piping Hot and from the Highland Games performance will spur her on to try harder and get better. “I can’t wait to get back and show my instructors that what they taught me has made a difference,” she added. “And I want my band to be proud of me.”
For more information about the Williams Lake Pipe Band, including how to sign up for free piping or drumming instruction or to book them for a performance, e-mail email@example.com or follow them on Facebook.