Pipe up! Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band revives traditional tunes

Mar 9, 2020

The Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band is the oldest pipe band on the Cape -- and likely has the youngest member.

The group includes members of all ages, including a 13-year-old drummer.

The band marches in parades across the region, and will be hosting an open house and concert on  April 2. 

Their repertoire includes a variety of rousing traditional Scottish and Irish songs, along with some classic patriotic American tunes. 

Ruby Mcdougall, now 13, first started taking lessons from the band when she was ten. She had been playing a drum kit since she was five, and wanted to be part of a band. Soon after she joined, her mother, Adrienne Macdougall, also became part of the band. Now, Ruby plays the snare drum while Adrienne plays the tenor. 

After taking lessons for a year, Ruby joined the band officially and began performing in parades. While she said it was scary at first, it’s now become second-nature.

“I completely zone out and my mind takes control so I don’t have to think about it,” Ruby said. Her favorite parade is the Nantucket Memorial Day parade -- in part because of the ferry ride and the band’s traditional stop at an ice cream shop.

“We have more fun than anyone in the band,” Adrienne said of the tenor drummers, who embellish their playing with flourishes, spinning their drumsticks in the air. Adrienne is so devoted to tenor drumming that she now operates an online business, www.tenordrummershop.com.

“It’s fun because we can all learn from each other,” said Bri Crowley, who is currently learning to play both the tenor and snare drums. Crowley, a friend of Ruby Macdougall, is 13 years old and will likely be ready to hit the streets with the band on Memorial Day. 

“It’s wicked fun and we’re like a family here,” said Adrienne. “We have a good time.”

There are about 12 pipers in the band, including 10-year-old student Aidan DaSilva. 

“When you have everyone in tune and playing together, all you hear is one chanter,” said bagpipe player Doug MacLeod. “It’s a beautiful sound.”

The band will be hosting an open house and concert on April 2 from  7 to 9 p.m. at the Emmanuel Church of the Nazarene at 6 Rogers Ave. in Wareham.

The event will include a short concert and an opportunity for attendees to get hands-on experience with bagpipes and Highland drums.

For those interested in joining the band, lessons are always free. Bagpipe players only need to purchase a chanter, and, once they join the band, members need to buy a jacket and shoes. The rest of the uniform, including a kilt, is provided by the band.

The band will be leading a St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl in Plymouth on Tuesday, March 17. The crawl, which features a brief concert at each stop, will begin at the Captain’s Den at 5:30 p.m. and end at the Main Street Sports Bar and Grill, where the music will start at 7:15 p.m. The group will be collecting donations, which support the free lessons offered to students. 

For a complete list of pub crawl stops, or for more information about the band, go to highlandlight.com or search for Highland Light Scottish Pipe Band on Facebook.