As part of their annual musical tribute, the Na Gaisgich Pipes and Drum Band of Pictou, NS will be honouring the 100th anniversary of Vimy Ridge on April 9.
The Na Gaisgich, Gaelic for brave and heroes, is a pipe band society that promotes and preserves the history of pipe bands and Nova Scotia’s military contributions. Since 2011, the Pipes and Drum Band has honoured a different battle or Nova Scotia Regiment.
Due its 100th anniversary this year, the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be commemorated at this year’s musical show.
The evening will be a musical and theatrical tribute like no other with performances from each of the four pipe bands.
“They’re going to introduce, or play to the crowd, tunes, some are going to be new to them some are going to be ones they’ve heard a hundred times already. They’re going to tell the stories behind the tunes and why we play them,” said Robbie MacInnis, Pipe Major with Na Gaisgich.
The performance will be rich in history and storytelling, even including a performance from Highland dancers.
“We talk about the historical significance of keeping the Highland dance alive and how it used to be strictly a male thing and the soldiers used to do it to keep fit and active n between their battles,” explained MacInnis.
The tribute will also include a special song written for Vimy Ridge, a tribute to Canadian artist Leonard Cohen and a rendering of Hallelujah on pipes.
The evening will end with the band marching out of the theatre to tunes that welcomed in the 100th anniversary of Canada in 1967.
“We’re going to draw attention to that, that Canada was born in 1867. Fifty years later the birth of a nation was recognized through Vimy Ridge. Fifty years laters was the centennial, and 50 years later we’re recognizing everything going backwards,” added MacInnis.
The show will also include contributions from the local cadets, something MacInnis considers a must.
“It’s important for them to understand the music that they’re playing, the significance of the local military units we have here,” noted the Pipes Major.
MacInnis adds that tributes such as this are important because although many know about the Battle of Vimy Ridge “few people understand, from a military point of view, where that came from and why it was so important for us as a nation on the Ridge,” according to MacInnis.
Those attending the event can also view a battle map on display and rummage through news articles from the war era from the Halifax Herald.
The public is highly encouraged to attend, and veterans are especially welcome.
The Pipes of War-Vimy Ridge Memorial Tribute will be held on April 9 from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the deCoste Entertainment Centre. To purchase tickets click here.