Our Twenty Third Year - A Season of Giving.

Scotland Memories

Saturday, August 12, 2006 - written by Terri Elder

On the bus ride to Stirling Castle, we were treated to sights and photo ops of small groups of drummers and pipers. They were practicing routines and music in any available park or open field. Some Chorale members were drawn to drummers twirling their drumsticks in unison while playing complex rhythm patterns. Others were drawn to the plaintive and distinctive flavor of Scottish bagpipe music.

Upon our arrival at the castle, we had lunch on our own and scrambled for a quick change into our costumes so we could assemble on the risers for a pre-concert rehearsal. That day we performed a completely unexpected "double-header." The sound of our singing during our rehearsal drew tourists who came in to sit down and listen. In spite of the fact that Julie repeatedly told them that we were only rehearsing and that the concert actually began at 2:30, they didn't leave and most of them remained to hear the exact same music again. The applause was rousing and enthusiastic. Many of us were surprised to see that the ear-splitting whistle in the crowd came from our very own charming, professional, and dignified Jean Redpath.

From that exciting and victorious concert, we traveled back to Edinburgh for one of the highlights of our stay ---- the world famous, Scottish Military Tattoo. People come from all over the world to see it and it has NEVER been canceled. We felt very fortunate to be there in good weather and cheer for the USA when our country attendance was announced.

The Tattoo was nothing less than SPECTACULAR. Band after band of bagpipes marched onto the field in full regalia and perfect formation. Each group surpassed the last.

Other acts performed during the presentation included singing and dancing by little African children and a choreographed martial dance by young Chinese dancers. A large number of girls dressed in colorful outfits did several flag routines and concluded by unfolding a large blue and white flag in the center of the field.

Many Chorale members were especially impressed by a line of drummers dressed in black and marching shoulder to shoulder in a very precise line. They performed an amazing routine of tossing drumsticks into the air and to each other and playing each others drums. All of these feats were performed while they marched sideways and switched to other directions without breaking stride or formation.

The Grand Finale had all of the Bagpipe Bands marching enmasse in formation onto the field with all of the other evening performers.

Fireworks went off as the crowd rose to its feet. What a night! What a day!

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