Category Archives: Bagpipes

CELTIC FEST – Lots of events… where will I be?

Celticfest is one of Vancouver's most exciting ethno-cultural festivals:
Saturday I will check out “Battle of the Bards” King O' Men (about Robbie Burns, and the annual Gung Haggis Fat Choy entry in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Celticfest started on Wednesday and goes to Sunday March 15th.  St. Patrick's Day is on Tuesday March 17th.

Check out the website: www.celticfestvancouver.com for lots of great events featuring Ashley McIssac, Lunasa, Irish Pipes Regiment, Battle of the Bards etc. etc.

This year there is a play about Robbie Burns, titled King O'Men – featuring bagpiper Rob McDonald and actor John Hardie.  All the more to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the birth of poet Robert Burns.

I was involved in the augural “Battle of the Bards” event last year, playing poet Robbie Burns.  It's a great fun event, where performers “channel” the spirit of the poets, and read the poems.   Check out my story from last year: www.GungHaggisFatChoy.com :: Toddish McWong's “Robert Burns” wins Battle of the Bards

The annual St. Patrick's Day Parade is lots of fun too!  We usually hang out at the Celticfest Village following the parade.  This year's parade is on Georgia St.  Starting at Broughton, the parade route heads East ending at Howe St.  The Village is on the North lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Check out my story from last year: www.GungHaggisFatChoy.com :: Gung Haggis Fat Choy puts a dragon (not a snake) in the parade.

Here are 3 events that I will be attending – hope to see you there!

Saturday March 14
2:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Festival Pick
Spoken Word
Music

Battle of the Bards – A Literary Pub Crawl and Grand Finale

Three cheers! The Battle of the Bards is back for 2009, whisking you along on a flying tour of Granville Street’s best Irish pubs.

Dynamic spoken word artists Sean McGarragle, Duncan Shields and Warren Dean Fulton
channel W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and Robbie Burns respectively as they
duke it out to be crowned “top bard” in an on-the-move poetry
slam-style contest, judged by members of the audience in each venue.

The crawl culminates at The Cellar, where the bards will do final “battle” with Vancouver’s first official poet laureate George McWhirter
presiding over the event. Expect plenty of artistic license as the
performers offer their own hilarious perspectives on the masters with
the help of improv fiddler Caitlan Read.

Who will be this year’s “top bard”? Why don’t you be the judge!

Pub Crawl
Round 1 – 2:00 PM @ Doolin's Irish Pub
Round 2 – 2:45 PM @ Ceili’s Irish Pub
Round 3 – 3:30 PM @ Johnnie Fox's Irish Snug
No admission charge @ Pub Crawl venues

Open Mic & Finale Event
The Cellar, 1006 Granville St. @ Nelson
4:25 PM to 6:00 PM

Saturday March 14

2 shows:
2:00 PM & 4:00 PM

Festival Pick
Spoken Word
Music
Kids / Family

King o' Men – A Robbie Burns Stage Play & 250th Birthday Tribute

Featuring John Hardie & Rob MacDonald

A
literary and musical costumed event that will send you spinning back in
time to the glorious days of Scotland’s most legendary poet and
lyricist. 2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robbie
Burns, a cultural icon in Scotland and around the world. This tribute
features Rob MacDonald, a local piper, Chairman of “A
Swarm of Drones” and a Burns aficionado. He’ll be telling the
fascinating story of the life and times of Burns and playing some of
the tunes Robert set words to.

His performance will be followed by King o’ Men, an exciting new one-man play directed by writer and actor John Hardie
and making its Vancouver premiere at CelticFest. The production
imagines one of Burns’ closest and oldest friends reminiscing to a
curious journalist following the news of the great poet’s final
passing. This show will appeal to loyal fans of Scotland's favourite
literary son as well as those who are new to Burns’ story and works.

Here's
what Chris White, Artistic Director of the Ottawa Folk Festival, had to
say about a recent production of the play at the National Arts Centre:
“With minimal set and few props, Hardie delivered the piece with
enormous skill and subtlety, somehow managing to be humorous,
informative and intensely moving all at once. The performance, which
elicited an overwhelmingly positive audience response, is one that I
will be forever grateful to have witnessed.”

Tom Lee Music – Music Hall
3rd floor – 929 Granville St.

Sunday March 15
11:30 AM

Festival Pick
Kids / Family
Music
Dance

Shamrock6th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

Where can you find hundreds of thousands of people, all seized with Celtic fever? At the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, of course! This year the parade travels a new route along Georgia Street, beginning at Broughton St., ending up at the Celtic Village
outside the Vancouver Art Gallery at Georgia and Howe. Round up your
family and friends (and favourite green attire) and enjoy the spectacle
of over 2,000 colourfully costumed participants, from pipers and
drummers to acrobats and stilt-walkers. The price is still right –
absolutely free!

Presented by Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association

Photos from 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner

Gung Haggis Fat Choy is always a wonderful event for photographs.  Special thanks to our incredible photographers Patrick Tam, Lydia Nagai and VFK.

If you like their photos, please contact them and purchase them.  We have asked them to put “water marks” on their photos, so that we will advertise and promote them.

They help us with our event, because they believe in the community work and social consiousness raising that we do.

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.
A wonderful job by everybody last night –
Veteran Gung Haggis performers Joe McDonald and Heather pronounced last
night as “The Best Gung Haggis Dinner yet”

And Dr. Leith Davis
(Director of Centre for Scottish Studies, Simon Fraser University) said it was the best Burns Supper she had ever attended – and she just
spent 2 weeks in Scotland for Homecoming Scotland!

Congratulations
to everybody.  The energy was brilliantly contagious and fun.  There
were lots of nice surprises in the program, with the Mayor reading a
Burns poem, a treatise on the details of scotch drinking, Parks
Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon singing A Man's A Man For A' That, and
hip hop artist Ndidi Cascade coming up from the audience to rap a verse
of Burns' Address to A Haggis.

But it was the performances by
Silk Road, Joe McDonald, Adrienne Wong, Jan Walls, Tommy Tao, Rita
Wong, Catherine Barr, Heather Pawsey & DJ Timothy Wisdom, Bob
Wilkins & the Gung Haggis Fat Choy pipe band,  supplemented by
Alland & Trish McMordie with Don Scobie from Seattle… and an
immortal address by Dr. Leith Davis – that knocked the audience over!

With wonderfully warm co-hosting from Gloria Macarenko and Catherine Barr….

And strong support from stage manager Charlie Cho, and sound technician Carl Schmidt.

Many
Many thanks…. to helping rise funds for Historic Joy Kogawa House,
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team.

We will have some pictures available for you soon.

Thank yous and Blessings to
everybody!
Toddish

Patrick Tam – Flunging Pictures 
www.flunging pictures.com

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.

661 – 20090125 – Robbie Burns’… – Patrick Tam photo set.

Lydia Nagai – Lydia Nagai Photography
www.lydianagai.com

IMG_0525 by Lydia Nagai.

Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2009 – Linda Nagai photo set.

VFK Photography

GHFC 2009 VF3_4418.JPG by vfk.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/24064901@N00/sets/72157613036584552/

GHFC 2009 VF3_4664.JPG by vfk Silk Road Music performing in front of life-size photos of Nellie McClung, Mungo Martin, Emily Carr and Todd Wong – courtesy of Royal BC Museum.- photo VFK


The 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's 250th Robbie Burns Birthday Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner was a big success – worth 2 ceremonial haggis.

The 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy: Toddish McWong's 250th Robbie Burns Birthday Chinese New Year's Eve Dinner was a big success – worth 2 ceremonial haggis.

DSC_3928_103489 - Mayor Gregor Robertson doing the honours by FlungingPictures.
Hi everybody…

A wonderful job by everybody last night –
Veteran Gung Haggis performers Joe McDonald and Heather pronounced last
night as “The Best Gung Haggis Dinner yet”

And Dr. Leith Davis
said it was the best Burns Supper she had ever attended – and she just
spent 2 weeks in Scotland for Homecoming Scotland!

Congratulations
to everybody.  The energy was brilliantly contagious and fun.  There
were lots of nice surprises in the program, with the Mayor reading a
Burns poem, a treatise on the details of scotch drinking, Parks
Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon singing A Man's A Man For A' That, and
hip hop artist Ndidi Cascade coming up from the audience to rap a verse
of Burns' Address to A Haggis.

But it was the performances by
Silk Road, Joe McDonald, Adrienne Wong, Jan Walls, Tommy Tao, Rita
Wong, Catherine Barr, Heather Pawsey & DJ Timothy Wisdom, Bob
Wilkins & the Gung Haggis Fat Choy pipe band,  supplemented by
Alland & Trish McMordie with Don Scobie from Seattle… and an
immortal address by Dr. Leith Davis – that knocked the audience over!

With wondefully warm co-hosting from Gloria Macarenko and Catherine Barr….

And strong support from stagemanager Charlie Cho, and sound technician Carl Schmidt.

Many
Many thanks…. to helping rise funds for Historic Joy Kogawa House,
Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper Magazine and Gung Haggis Fat
Choy dragon boat team.

We will have some pictures available for you soon.

Thank yous and Blessings to
everybody!
Toddish

Performers for 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy 250th Robbie Burns Birthday Dinner + Chinese New Year's Eve

Gung Haggis Fat Choy performers understand cultural fusion, as well as BC's pioneer history by the Scots and Chinese

But most important of all, the performers are people that I have met through my intercultural travels and adventures.  I select performers that inspire and astound me, and whom I admire.  I select performers who are enthusiastic and appreciate what Gung Haggis Fat Choy is about.

Bagpiper Joe McDonald tries on the Chinese Lion head mask for Gung Haggis Fat Choy 2008 – photo Jaime Griffiths.


Gung Haggis Fat Choy is a dinner like no other. 
Jam-packed with cross-cultural references to the Scottish and Chinese
pioneer history of British Columbia, it feeds its audience a
cultural-fusion cuisine of deep-fried haggis wun tun and lettuce wrap
in a 10 course Chinese banquet.  It looks forward to the future of
Chinese-Scottish-Canadian mixed DNA, and present-time Hapa-Canadian
culture of mixed ethnicity.

12th Annual Toddish McWong's Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner

January 25th, 2009
5:00 reception
6:00 dinner
9:30pm After Party Chinese New Years Eve Countdown.
Floata Seafood Restaurant
#400 – 180 Keefer St.
Vancouver Chinatown.

PERFORMERS for 2009:


Silk Road Music Ensemble

was featured in the 2004 CBC television performance special “Gung Haggis Fat Choy.” Principals Qiu Xia He and Andre Thibault have traveled around the world and bring their worldly perspectives back to Canada to share.  They will be bringing percussionists with them for their 2009 performance.  Check out Qiu Xia's project for the Cultural Olympiad on Feb. 1st in Vancouver's Chinatown.


Opera Soprano
Heather Pawsey + guests

Heather grew up on the Canadian prairies wearing tartans as part of her Scottish-Canadian heritage.  Today she sings in many different languages including Mandarin Chinese and Cree.  Recently she was involved in the Brief Encounters project that paired her with a very non-opera performing project.  Heather merged their musical creativities with a little bit Chinese and a little bit Scottish, which she wants to bring to Gung Haggis Fat Choy

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe Band

Bob Wilkins wanted to create a new pipe band that acknowledged and drew on BC's Scottish and Chinese Canadian history.  He asked me if we could work together and create something special.  We are imagining Scottish bagpipes and Chinese drums with Lion dancers… We don't quite know what is going to happen – but the sound of 10 bagpipers at the restaurant with drums should be wonderful!


Robbie Burns Chinese clapper tale by Dr. Jan Walls

Dr. Jan Walls is an expert in Chinese history and language.  He missed our 2004 Gung Haggis Dinner because of a “command performance” invitation by Yo-Yo Ma at the Peabody Essex Museum in Boston.  Jan was a smash hit at our 2005 dinner, and this time he's going to do something special for Robbie's 250th birthday!


Joe McDonald
“rapping bagpiper”

Joe has brought his special musical talents to Gung Haggis Fat Choy for every dinner since 2001.  We have performed on CBC Newsworld and The National together.  Joe's band Brave Waves was featured in the CBC television performance special Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  One of our most requested performances is our “Gung Haggis Rap” – our take on Burns' immortal Address to a Haggis – which is going to be featured in a BBC Radio Scotland special radio show for Burns' 250th.

Rita Wong

Rita's book of poetry “Forage” won the 2008 BC Book Awards Dorothy Livesay Prize for Poetry.  Like Burns, she has a keen eye for social justice and equalization of the sexes.  She is Assistant Professor in Critical and Cultural Studies for Emily Carr University  of Art and Design.
Her work investigates the relationships between decolonization, social
justice, ecology, and contemporary poetics.

Dr. Leith Davis

Leith is an expert in Burns, and has just been interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland for their 250th Anniversary Burns radio special.  She is also the director for the Scottish Studies Program at Simon Fraser University.  She has heard much about Gung Haggis Fat Choy and looks forward to her first Gung Haggis experience.  Boy… will she be surprised!

lots of special guests

a Gung Hagigs dragon dance

special celtic musicians

lots of Robert Burns poetry


lots of surprises
more to be announced


Firehall Arts Centre Box Office: 604.689.0926
Online ticket sales also available

SINGLE TICKET
$60 + $5 service charge = $65
Student price is $50 + $4.50 = $54.50 (must show student high school or university ID)
Children's price is $40 + $4.00 = $44 (ages 13 and under).

TABLE OF 10 (single item)
$600 + $20 service charge.
(save $30 in service charge by ordering a table)

Tickets can mailed out or picked up in advance, or held at will call.

All seats assigned in priority of ordering
except designated sponsor, performer and VIP tables.
If you would like to have 2 tickets at the VIP table or performer's – please sponsor it for $600.




Vancouver Sun editorial cartoon proclaims “wear your kilt to work day” followed by “haggis Tuesday”

This editorial cartoon ran in the Vancouver Sun, and has now been circulating the e-mails of certain Celtic/Gaelic-Canadian musicians….  with the added  quote:

“The
Islanders and Highlanders came to this country of Canada—-
discovered, settled and governed it. Pipes are used for just about all
special occasions and this is the thanks we get!!!”

I ran the following article on my blog  www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com – which is syndicated into some other blog feeders….
Vote for Kilt wearers in the upcoming Vancouver civic election!
Mackinnon… Louie… Deal… Robertson… Chow…

It seems an amazing coincidence that the winning 10 elected city councilors and mayor, all attended the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Dinner:  Councilors David Cadman, Raymond Louie, George Chow, Tim Stevenson, Heather Deal, Suzanne Anton, former Councilor Ellen Woodsworth, rookie councilors Andrea Reimer, Geoff Meggs and Kerry Jang +  MLA Gregor Robertson, and then current mayor Sam Sullivan (who did not run in the election).

Defeated mayor and councilor candidates Peter Ladner and Elizabeth Ball, as well as BC Lee (who did not run) had attended past dinners, along with BC Lee – but they did not attend the 2008 dinner.

At the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners… we recognize and respect all our hard-working politicians.  They all contribute to a vibrant Vancouver and it is important to recognize their contributions and support to help support our beneficiary organizations: Historic Joy Kogawa House, Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop/Ricepaper magazine, and the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.

Remember: 

  • The first time we saw Gregor Robertson in a Kilt in 2008 – was at the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner….
  • City councilor Raymond Louie declared on Brother Jake's Rock 101
    radio show, on January 25th, that Louie would wear a kilt for Gung
    Haggis Fat Choy dinner….
  • And city councilor Heather Deal came to Doolin's for the March
    Kilts Night, and made the motion (seconded by Louie) that City of
    Vancouver proclaim Tartan Day for April 6th,
  • I put tartan sashes on city councilors Tim Stevenson, George Chow
    Mayor Sullivan and a mini-skirt on councilor Capri – for a Tartan Day
    photo opportunity on April 4th.
  • Parks Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon didn't even own a kilt, until after he joined the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team!

image

Vote for Kilt wearers in the upcoming Vancouver civic election! Mackinnon… Louie… Deal… Robertson… Chow… Stevenson and Capri

Everybody talks about the Chinese block voting… what about Scottish-Celtic block voting?

Wear a kilt and go after the Scottish-Celtic ethnic vote!

Vancouver, BC and Canada all have long Scottish-influenced roots.  Vancouver's first Mayor, Malcolm Alexander Maclean, was born in Scotland.  Canada's first two Prime Ministers Sir John A. MacDonald Alexander Mackenzie.  BC's first governor Sir James Douglas was raised in Scotland, after being born in British Guyana to a Scottish father and a Creole mother.  And then there are rivers named after Scottish-Canadian explores Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser.

Read the Scottish Page from “The History of Metropolitan Vancouver” http://www.vancouverhistory.ca

2008_Oct23 009 by you.

Vancouver
Green Party Parks Board candidate
Stuart Mackinnon with COPE school board candidate Bill Bargeman.  Bill
and Stuart current and retired school teachers and are past president
and vice-president of BCTF local 39.1  Stuart bought his kilt outfit last year soon after joining the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, and wore it with the team in a documentary about Vancouver's multiculturalism for German Public Television.  Stuart's kilt is primarily Green – like his party. – photo Todd Wong


Vision Vancouver candidates for council and mayor,
Raymond Louie and Gregor Robertson attended the 2008 Gung Haggis Fat Choy
Robbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner with VIP host Deb Martin.  Raymond joined a kilted “Toddish McWong” on Rock 101's Bro Jake Show on Robbie Burns Day this year.  In this photo Raymond is wearing the Royal Stuart tartan, while Gregor wears his Robertson family tartan – photo
VFK / Todd Wong collection.



DSC_0001 by you.
Tartan Day (April 6) was proclaimed for City of Vancouver, on April 3, 2008.  It was moved by councilor Heather Deal and seconded by Raymond Louie.   Mayor Sam Sullivan and many city councilors have supported the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner over the years.  In this picture Tim Stevenson is holding the Fraser Hunting Tartan backwards.  He said after I corrected him “I can't do anything straight!”

Councilor Heather Deal is wearing a tartan skirt.  Bagpiper Allan McMordie wears his full dress outfit.  Mayor Sullivan and councilors BC Lee and George Chow wear tartan sashes. Toddish McWong wears the Fraser Hunting Tartan, as does councilor Kim Capri in the mini-kilted version.

Todd Wong (centre right in red vest) wears the tartan on St. Patrick’s Day, along with Nathalie Coulombe (right) and others at Doolan’s Pub.
View Larger Image View Larger Image and Story – click here!
Here's the best photo opportunity for a city councilor in a kilt!  English-born but Michigan-raised Vancouver City Councilor Heather Deal came to the April Kilts Night, and her family tartan graced the Vancouver Sun photo.  It was Heather who helped develop the Tartan Day proclamation and moved it at Vancouver City Hall on April 1st. 

It was councilor Raymond Louie who as deputy mayor, actually read the proclamation on April 6th Tartan Day at a ceremony at Creekside Park, with the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team. 
see story:
A Tartan Day dragon boat paddle practice… with bagpiper and proclamation reading

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe & Drum band makes its performance debut for Remembrance Day!

Bob Wilkins has created the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe & Drum Band.  First public performances are Remembrance Day at 3 legion halls.

2008_Nov11 090 by you.
Bob Wilkins and band mates performed at the Billy Bishop Legion on Remembrance Day at 4pm – photo Todd Wong (updated 11:58)

Bob Wilkins is a man with a vision.  He wanted to create a
multicultural bagpipe band that would reflect not only BC's Scottish
history, but also it's Chinese history, and the contemporary cultural
fusion of Gung Haggis Fat Choy.

The band includes members of
Wilkins' former band the 78th Fraser Highlanders, where Bob was Pipe
Major.  He is also a recent graduate of Simon Fraser University – so we
are alumni kin.

2008_Oct 010 by you.
Members of the “Gung Haggis Fat Choy” pipe band playing with a Chinese drum.  Founder Bob Wilkins (kneeling) with Gung Haggis Fat Choy founder Todd Wong (far left) and band mates – photo Craig Brown.

Over the past year, Bob had been discussion plans to be involved with the 2009 Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year events with Todd Wong, creator of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy.  They discovered a mutual appreciation of BC history, and the appeal of sharing it through music and activities.  Then at one point, Bob came up with the idea of a “Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipes & Drums” band that could fuse together Scottish and Chinese influences – both musical and historical.

2008_Oct 006 by you.
The
Gung Haggis Fat Choy “dragon wearing a Scottish tam” logo can be seen
on the chest of Bob Wilkins, leader and creator of the Gung Haggis Fat
Choy Pipe & Drum band – photo Todd Wong

The band is in its infancy phase, and is starting to raise funds for equipment and uniforms.  Todd came down to a practice one evening and brought some of the team shirts used by the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team.  It features a logo with a Chinese dragon wearing a Scottish tam hat.  The colour red represents good luck in Chinese culture, and is also a prominent colour in many tartans such as the Royal Stuart.

Bob was very excited to show Todd the new drums.  They are wooden, and “old style” and similar to what was used one hundred years ago – very historically accurate.  Bob explained they are lighter than the metal drums used by many contemporary pipe and drum bands.  Todd brought a small Chinese drum, and the band members marvelled at it's clear crisp sound. 

Imagine a Scottish bagpipe band marching down the street, accompanied by Chinese drums and Chinese Lion dancers…. or a Chinese dragon!  Gung Haggis Fat Choy cultural fusion realized and taken to another level! 

2008_Oct 004

So far, other planned events will include the January 25th Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year's Eve dinner, and the Celtic Fest St. Patrick's Day Parade in March. 

But on Remembrance Day, the brand new “Gung Haggis Fat Choy pipe & drum band” performs at:

12pm Royal Canadian Legion (West Point Grey) #142
3679 West Broadway @ Alma

2pm Legion
Kerrisday Branch #30
2177 Est 42nd Ave in Kerrisdale,

4pm Billy Bishop Legion #176
1407 Laburnum Street in Kitsilano (just North of Cornwall).

Bob sent me this message:

Feel
free to pass along my email and phone number, etc., to anyone on your
crew who wants to learn to drum or needs further info for anything.
Purchasing them an instrument will be a priority over uniforms if
they're willing to commit the effort to learn.
Also, some of our guys would like to learn to Dragon Boat. I'm not sure if they want to try it once or join full bore, though.
Cheers, Bob

See pictures of some of the members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe Band:

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipes & Drums

Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipes…

Kilts Night at the Atlantic Trap & Gill: What happens with bagpipers and kilts get together at a Maritime pub?

There are more bagpipers in Canada than in Scotland… but are there more kilt wearers?

Oct_kilts_020 by you.John, Dave and Jim of the Delta
Police Pipe Band, Rob McDonald kiltmaker, Tyler + Todd (above) in front
of the Newfound Land flag. – photo Todd's camera


Kilts Night is a social event that brings together wearers of kilts to enjoy fine conversation, cameraderie, and often to enjoy Celtic and Celtic-Canadian music.  This was our first Kilts Night at Atlantic Trap & Gill at 612 Davie and Seymour St., since 2004.  It's a lovely Canadian Martime themed pub, which proudly displays all the flags of the Maritime provinces such as Newfound Land, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Oct_kilts_009Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team kilt contingent: Raphael, Todd, Tzhe, Wendy, Jim and Marion – photo Todd's camera

Kilts Night is a regular social event for the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team, which actively celebrates BC's Chinese-Scottish-Canadian history by paddling dragon boats, wearing kilts, eating deep-fried haggis won ton at team parties, and attending Kilts Night and Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbie Burns Chinese New Year events.

The first Kilts Night I ever attended was at the Atlantic Trap & Gill, back in 2004.  Kilts night then was attended by bagpipers Dr. Nathan and tatoo artists such as Vince Hemingson. 

We would meet on the 1st Saturday of each month at “The Trap.” But one day in January, we discovered that “The Trap” was closed on New Year's Day.  Standing outside in the cold, we pondered our possibilities, and quickly ended up at Doolin's Irish Pub.  There we discovered all the waitresses were wearing kilts and Kilts Night moved to Doolin's.

BC has a long tradition with Scottish culture.  The first governor was James Douglas, born in Guyana of a Scottish father and Creole mother, but edcuated in Scotland.  Canada's 1st and 2nd Prime Ministers were Sir John a. MacDonald and Alexander Mackenzie were both respectively born in Glasgow and Dunkeld, Scotland.  The first Vancouver mayor was Malcolm Alexander MacLean, born in Tiree Scotland.

Oct_kilts_013Allan and Trish McMordie.  Allan's small pipes were very hard to hear over the loud conversing voices – photo Todd Wong

I met Allan this year when he was playing bagpipes on Robbie Burns Day for Rock 101's Brother Jake show.  Allan came to Vancouver City Hall for our Tartan Day  proclaimation in City of Vancouver with Mayor Sullivan and councillors. Allan also participated in our kilts night picture for Vancouver Sun: The next celebration.

Oct_kilts_019The boys couldn'r resist showing off their legs.  John, Dave, Jim, Rob, Tyler and Todd liftin' the kilts to show some leg – photo Todd Wong's camera

Bagpiper Joe McDonald appears on Globe & Mail front page about Canadian soldiers in Kandahar

Canadian soldiers in Kandahar and bagpipers in Canada:  What is the connection?

If you attend Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners, you will recognize Joe McDonald bagpiper.  Did you see him on the front page of Wednesday's Globe & Mail right away.

Section A Front 
Enlarge Image

Joe McDonald plays his bagpipes for a lot of weddings.  He has even been flown to Mexico for weddings.  I guess they don't have any bagpipers in Mexico.

On Wednesday's September 10th edition of the Globe & Mail, Joe was playing his pipes for the June 21st wedding of Corporal Ryan Elrick who had lost his legs 2 years before in Afghanistan, when a roadside bomb exploded the light armoured vehicle Elrick was riding in.  The story's main point, is that Sgt. Prescott Shipway, the man responsible for saving Elrick's life on that traumatic day, has now died as victim of a similar “improvised explosive device” or IED.

Over the past few weeks, I have heard radio news stories of the killed Canadian servicemen.  The sound clips begin with the mournful wailing of “Amazing Grace” played by bagpipes.  I personally haven't known anybody killed near Kandahar.  I don't think I can name anybody who has served in Afghanistan.  But through my friend Joe McDonald, I am only two degrees of separation away from knowing somebody who has died in Afghanistan.

I had started writing this blog article, about the friendship that I have shared with Joe McDonald since he started performing at Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinners in 2000.  Together we have performed on national television and radio, and there is even a youtube video of us performing our version of “The Haggis Rap”
 YouTube – Haggis Rap

But now, after reading the article's content about Corporal Elrick and Sgt. Shipway, I am deeply touched by their stories of survival and heroism.

I wish our Canadian Armed Forces men and women in Afghanistan safety, and the power to fulfill their missions objectives and to bring peace to the region.  I pray that they too can return to Canada as Corp. Elrick has, and to live out their friendships with their comrades, as I presently do with my musician friend Joe McDonald.

Please read Christie Blatchford's Globe & Mail article.  Links provided below.

Globe & Mail
Vancouver Edition
Wednesday, Sept 10, 2008
Page 1

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080910.BLATCH10/TPStory/TPComment/

THE AFGHAN MISSION: REMEMBERING SERGEANT PRESCOTT SHIPWAY

Losing he who made their life possible

A soldier reflects on the fallen comrade whose efforts taught him to seize every da

September 10, 2008

They got married on June 21, 2008, two years to the day his legs were blown to bits and he almost died. It was a deliberate choice.

“Reclaiming the day,” is how Corporal Ryan Elrick puts it.

He survived, and ever since has felt the obligation to live fully, completely. He feels it more acutely now. This afternoon, a flag-draped casket carrying 36-year-old Sergeant Prescott Shipway – called “Ship” by most – returns to Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

It was Sgt. Shipway, along with Master Corporal Chuck Prodnick and a couple of other soldiers, who saved his life, not that Cpl. Elrick remembers. But he has pieced together what happened from what those who were there have told him, and he knows.

Read More:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080910.BLATCH10/TPStory/TPComment/

Simon Fraser University Pipe Band wins 2008 Gold at World's Championships in Scotland

Ron MacLeod is former Chair of the SFU Scottish Studies program.  He sends out regular reports about Scottish-Canadian culture and news in the Vancouver area.  Simon Fraser University Pipe Band first won the world Grade 1 title on
Glasgow Green back in 1995. The band repeated in 1996, 1999, 2001, and now for 2008.

image
– photo from http://www.sfupipeband.com/

Greetings, GREAT NEWS! Simon Fraser University Pipe Band won
the 2008 Gold at the World’s Championships at Glasgow Green, Scotland, Saturday August 16.

The order of finish was as follows:

1st Simon Fraser University

2nd Field Marshal Montgomery

3rd Shotts and Dykehead

4th Boghall and Bathgate

5th St. Laurence O’Toole

6th
Strathclyde Police

It was
also good news for the White Spot Pipe band at the Juvenile level. They came in
6th, competing against a score or more other juvenile bands.
Congratulations!

World
Piping Champions for the Fifth Time

For the fifth time in 11 years the Simon Fraser Pipe
Band has won the World’s Piping Championship. On Saturday, August 16th,
2008 the Band competed against the world’s best Pipe Bands at Glasgow,
Scotland, and came away the winner.

Pipe Major Terry Lee and his brother Pipe Sergeant
Jack Lee  founded the Band with
Simon Fraser University as their primary sponsor. They proudly wear the ancient
Clan Fraser Tartan. Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell later joined the Band to provide
top professional direction for the drum section. In 1982, the Band began to
shine on the international stage when it won the North American Piping
Championship. In 1995, the Band won its first World Piping Championship in
Scotland. Competing and winning in Scotland against the world’s best bands
fired up the Lee brothers and the lads and lassies in the Band. They won again
in 1996, 1999, 2001 and now in 2008. In the intervening years, the Band was
always a formidable contender, for the most part earning 2nd or 3rd
place rankings. The Band is probably better known in Scotland, the
ancient home of Clan Fraser, than in Canada.

In 1998 the Band played in concert at Carnegie Hall,
New York City, to a packed house. 
They have played with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Ogden, Utah, and
put on piping and drumming seminars at Brigham Young University. They have  thrilled audiences in concert at the
Sydney Opera House, Australia. They have performed before enthusiastic
audiences in Melbourne, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand. They have
given recitals in 13 Canadian cities from Halifax to Victoria and in 17
American States. The Band has been one of Canada’s top goodwill ambassadors
over the past two decades.

The Simon Fraser Pipe Band is not just a single Band.
A core of 30 pipers and drummers form the nucleus of the senior Band. In all,
there are six levels of bands, ranging from raw beginners to the senior Band.
The Band’s pipers and drummers teach 150 or more children year in and year out. Their ethic is work, work,
work, learn, learn, learn. Their purpose is to refine skills and to develop the
discipline it takes to produce a harmonious band. One of the SFU Juvenile Pipe
Bands, the Robert Malcolm, has won their division in Scotland four times. 

Every two years, the Band presents a Highland Arts
Festival at Simon Fraser University. Instruction is given in piping drumming
and Highland dancing. As part of the 1988 Festival the Band piped for the
world’s largest Scottish Country dance where 256  danced their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

In 1999, Pipe Major Terry and brother Jack Lee were each
awarded Canada’s Meritorious Service Award. Jack Lee, one of the piping world’s
great soloists,  was further
honoured in 2004 when he was among the first British Columbians to be presented
with the B.C. Community Achievement Award by Premier Campbell. This award
recognizes “those exceptional individuals whose personal contributions to the
good of their communities has the effect of enriching all of us as citizens of
this fortunate province”.

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band is more than just
another band. It is both a community and an international role model.

The SFU Pipe Band’s website is www.sfupipeband.com

 An interesting video clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15NoXr0Q_D8

Check out these links as well.

News results for sfu pipe band


BBC News
The famed Simon Fraser University Pipe Band defeated a longtime rival to win its fifth world championship in Scotland Saturday. “A great, great day,” said