Bob Wilkins has created the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe & Drum Band. First public performances are Remembrance Day at 3 legion halls.
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.
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
See pictures of some of the members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Pipe Band: