The Lord Selkirk Boys Pipe Band performing at Lennoxlove Estate during a visit to Lord and Lady Selkirk in 2009 (Leslie Kirby)
Members of the Lord Selkirk Boys Pipe Band are pretty excited. That's because 21 members of the band will be travelling to Scotland early next month to perform at the World Pipe Band Championship. The competition takes place on August 11.
It's especially meaningful for the group this year. They lost their long-time leader and founder, Robert Fraser, this past March.
"He was an amazing man," says Karen Bowman, Alumni Coordinator for the band. "He dedicated all of his spare time to teaching the boys." Aside from Saturday morning band practice, he spent Monday to Thursday evenings teaching the boys individually.
"He was committed to passing on the Scottish culture to the boys, encouraging them to learn the instrument and also to become good, well-rounded citizens," Bowman adds.
The Lord Selkirk Boys Pipe Band is made up of boys aged eight to 18. It was formed in 1957 and Robert Fraser was the leader for all those years.
The boys are really pumped about the trip. Aside from the competition, they will also perform at Stirling Castle and in Lennoxlove, the ancestral estate of James Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, a direct descendent of Lord Selkirk, who established a settlement for Scottish settlers in Manitoba in 1812.
But it will be bittersweet for them to also perform in Arbroath, Fraser's birthplace.
The band leaves for Scotland on August 7. You can hear them before they leave on several occasions: this evening, July 23, in St. Vital Park; on Saturday in the Altona parade; Monday, July 30 in Assiniboine Park and on August 3 at the Steinbach parade.