Scotland Post Olympics Update

The Beijing Olympics are over...I love the Olympics so much I am in mourning. Sad, sad, Piping Girl. So very sad.

BUT I was so pleased to see how prominent Scotland ended up being at the Beijing Olympics. And I don't mean just the athletes.

Opening Ceremony-What's That Sound??
I was watching the Opening Ceremony marathon and started when, as the first of the European athlete's marched in, the bagpipes struck in and began playing Scotland the Brave. About every 15-20 minutes they'd come in again and play a bunch of tunes. The silly American commentators never said a word about them, and there was no footage of them either, so I thought, maybe this was where China decided to save a dime and it was a recording.

But later, I was excited to find out that it was an actual bagpipe band. And an amateur band at that! And those stupid commentators went on and on about all sorts of random facts, you'd think they would've commented on the awesome musicians playing their hearts out on the biggest stage in the world. At the very least, they could have given them a little camera love.

It turns out it was the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band from Dundee, Scotland.

It turns out the Chinese were looking for music that represented Europe and they decided on the bagpipes! They heard the Mains of Fintry Band in France and were impressed enough to invite them to play at the opening ceremony. Apparently, at first they thought it was a joke, so they didn't reply to the invitation at first. But when they accepted, they were sworn to secrecy for the past year. What a secret!!

I found this story to be particularly inspirational because I play in a very amateur band. It's good to see these kinds of bands get their chance to shine in the sun too. Granted, the Olympics were very close to World Bagpipe Championships, so perhaps a higher graded band would've turned down an invitation, but I have yet to read anywhere that the Chinese extended an invitation to a higher grade band. Good on you Mains of Fintry!!

Scottish Athlete's Find Success!!
So, the athlete's that I featured in my previous post fared really well at the Olympics. I did watch some of the cycling events, and Chris Hoy found great success. He won a gold medal in the Sprint, Team Sprint, and the Keirin events. In fact, he was so successful that he was honored by the British contingent at the Closing Ceremony where he carried the flag for the most successful British team in 100 years.

Lee McConnell also did well. In the 400m she made it to the semifinals where she ultimately placed 19th in the semifinal round.

Other Scots who fared well were:

David Florence: earned a silver in the Slalom Canoe event.

Katherine Granger: earned a silver in Rowing Quadruple Skull.

One of the best Olympic-Scotland stories I've run across is about a guy named Andrew Aitkens who was practicing his bagpipes outside an (unbeknownst to him) secure area in Beijing. He was practicing up for a charity walk along the Great Wall. A small crowd gathered around him and than all of a sudden a bunch of police cars pulled up. The poor guy almost got arrested because the Chinese thought his bagpipes were a weapon! Thankfully a bystander stepped in and explained that it was a musical instrument, and (at least in this moment in time) not an instrument of war. I guess they don't have too many bagpipe players in China!

Pipe on!


EZPiper said...

Hi Piping Girl, I have just started a piping blog, would like to know what you think, I already had a website but wanted to see if I could use the blog format for putting up my music. I used yahoo player, click on the grey box on the left and it should play the tune for you, there is also sheet music.
AKA- EZPiper

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for your blog. Could you point me in the right direction for sheet music? looking for "we will rock you", coldplay and of course DKM.


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