These are some of the questions we get most often.
Showing up or talking with the someone in the band leadership is the best place to start. We can give all the information you need in person easier. Please contact us for more information.
Yes, beginners are welcome. The band teaches prospective members, please contact us directly for more specific information.
The band meets at 6:30 PM Monday evenings at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church, 11500 W 20th Ave, Lakewood, Colorado 80215. For more information please see the details on the page about our rehearsal.
The band asks members to pay dues of $60 per year to cover some insurance, administrative costs and rehearsal space rental.
Although the band provides kilts and other major uniform items, you will have to purchase some uniform parts.
- Shirt – about $18
- Hose – about $35
- Glengarry (hat) – about $65-$150 depending upon quality
- Flashes – about $15
- Ghillie Brogues (shoes) – $75 – $200 depending upon quality
Also bagpipers own their own pipes, but the drums are owned by the band. If this seems odd, consider that bagpipes loose very little value overtime, and in fact some become more valuable. Also, a solo piper has many opportunities to use the bagpipe to earn money by playing solo performances at wedding, funerals and other events. Drummers are rarely afforded this option. Also, in the context of a band, there is very little difference between one set of bagpipes versus another. But if one drummer had a blue drum and another preferred a red drum, and another preferred a green drum, this would detract from the uniform appearance. Also different drum manufacturers have some variation to their sound.
Band member bear the cost of transportation to band functions, although sometimes the band helps, and we often have car pools and caravans.
Please contact us for more detailed information. Most of the time the band asks for a fee to perform because it takes a lot of money to buy uniforms, equipment and supplies and it takes a lot time from people with full time jobs, school, kids, and other obligations to do a performance. The price and availability of the band depends upon a lot of things from when and where the event takes place, what kind of group is being hired, and how much time the event will require.
We generally do not perform without compensation of some form or another. We get many requests and the time our members can commit to performing must be prioritized in a way that benefits the band the most. Charitable events, while very deserving or well intentioned often do not make the cut, unless they present a unique experience, showcase the band in a high profile, or offer other some kind of opportunity the members of the band can draw a personal satisfaction from participation. Still it cannot hurt to ask!
The band wears the Modern MacCallum tartan. A few members may be wearing older kilts in the Sutherland tartan that were previously worn by the City of Denver Pipe Band, or personal kilts, while new kilts are being made for them.
Absolutely not! We welcome anyone that is interested in bagpiping, drumming, or dancing.
Yes. Very difficult. But don’t let that dissuade you. If your work at it regularly you can do it. We recommend that you do not attempt to learn alone, or by watching online instruction. Personal instruction is necessary to prevent bad habits, notice things you won’t be trained to see, and enabling you to have the best chance for success. Denver and District has a lot of experience teaching beginners.
A good quality basic set is between $700 – $1500. More elaborate sets will exceed $5000, and older highly prized sets with pre-ban ivory, and real silver ornamentation are even more expensive.
A more detailed explanation can be found here.
We recommend that beginners should not purchase a bagpipe without consulting a knowledgable advisor. This is especially true for bagpipes whose origins are Pakistan. If you see a set listed for less than $500 be very skeptical.
Obviously any experience reading music is going to be helpful. Especially since there are no sharps or flats as bagpipe music is written. The notion of a wind instrument could help (particular reed instruments since that is nature of the bagpipes, but keep in mind the air is supplied by blowing into a bag, and there is no real thing as breathing in the manner you do for the more conventional wind instruments. Also the fingering is directly on the chanter, like a recorder or ocarina, as opposed to pads, keys and valves in other wind instruments. Still any experience is good experience, even singing.
We play drums manufactured by Andante Drums in Northern Ireland. Outside of Northern Ireland they are predominately used for Scottish drumming in pipe bands. Other major manufactures are Premiere and Pearl.
We use three types of drums.
- Snare Drums – Not unlike the drums used by American marching bands and drum corps, these drums have a few unique features. The snares are metal and there are snares on both the top and bottom head. The snares are always on so there is no throw off mechanism. The drum head is made from kevlar and under very high tension. The shell is made from Birch. The snare drummers sticks are a bit lighter than American marching band sticks, but heavier than set or concert drums.
- Tenor Drums – Similar to the toms on a drum set, these tonal drums are pitched to match particular bagpipe notes.
- Bass Drum – Very resonant compared to American style drumming, with a light and expressive touch.
Scottish drumming has both similarities and differences from each of these art forms. Like marching band or drum corps, it is a rudimental art form with a high degree of precision, and playing in unison with other drummers is a key concept. However the drumming is much more stylized and less aggressive. There are no rim shots, playing zones, or visuals (aside from a drum fanfare or two). Like jazz drumming, a large emphasis on swing is evident, with a lot of expression and syncopation. The drum sticks are lighter than drum corps and marching bands, but heavier than drum set or symphonic band drum sticks.
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