Shuswap Pipes ‘n Drums impressed while helping their Kelowna counterparts celebrate a century.
On May 6, the Kelowna Pipe Band hosted the 45th annual Spring Fling competition. Vernon’s Tom Skinner, a member of Shuswap Pipes N’ Drums, said the event was first held in Revelstoke in 1978, and moves to different communities in the Interior. This year’s Spring Fling was held in Kelowna, serving also as a celebration of the Kelowna Pipe Band’s 100th anniversary.
The Spring Fling brings together about 10 pipe bands from throughout B.C.’s Interior. Skinner said the day consists of competition, with categories for judging that include a parade of individual pipe bands, followed by a mass parade of competing bands.
“During the morning, individual bands were judged on Dress and Deportment (appearance and spacing) while marching and playing,” explained Skinner. “The mass band consisted of bands from Kamloops, Shuswap, Pipes N’ Drums, Kalmalka Highlanders (Vernon), Trail, Kimberly, Nelson, Kelowna, Summerland and Quesnel.”
A Medley competition was held in the afternoon, with each band playing a different musical selection. In the late afternoon, each band was judged on a dance and a skit.
Skinner said Shuswap Pipes N’ Drums was declared the 2023 Spring Fling Top Pipe Band after placing first in Dress and Deportment, second in Medley, second in dance and second in skit. Judging was done by Kelowna Pipe Band organizers and event hosts.
With competition out of the way, the evening consisted of a Ceillidh (Gaeilic for “party”) and included dinner, a performance by the Kelowna Pipe Band and a visual presentation on the history of the Kelowna hosts.
Shuswap Pipes N’ Drums’ marching component was led by Salmon Arm’s Hugh Bawtree. Pipe Major Bob Gallaher of Sicamous led the band during the Medley competition, assisted by well-known Salmon Arm piper Jim Wright. Band manager Mary Thurber of Lake country coordinated arrangements. The remainder of the band traveled from Blind Bay, Chase, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Enderby, Lake Country and Vernon to participate in the event.
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