With events like Folklarama cancelled due the COVID-19 pandemic, the St. Andrews Cultural Society of Winnipeg is taking it upon themselves to provide a jolt of festive spirit in a unique summer-themed way.
In what the society has dubbed as the “pop-up piper”, a different youth bagpiper puts on a mini-concert at a crowded Winnipeg location. The society has had seven pop-up events so far this summer.
“We think this is a very nice touch just to bring a little levity and a smile to people’s faces by having somebody just literally show up and start playing the bagpipes,” says Dwight MacAuley of the St. Andrews Society.
MacAuley sits as the chair for the society’s 150th anniversary committee. He says the pop-up idea came as a unique way to celebrate over a century of promoting Scottish culture in Manitoba.
The piper for Sunday’s pop-up event at Assiniboine Park was 16-year-old Norah Eldridge. St. Andrews invited Eldridge to represent her pipe band, the Lord Selkirk Robert Fraser Memorial Pipe Band.
“Because of COVID, we haven’t been doing very much, no concerts, no competitions or anything but this is very good because I’m still getting out and being able to play for people, putting on my uniform just feels normal,” Eldridge explained.
With seven pop-up performances in the books, the society has given young pipers like Eldridge opportunities to perform at venues like City Hall, the RCMP Headquarters and the St. Boniface Basillica.
“Each time we’ve gone the crowds just keep getting stronger and bigger and it’s been a tremendous success for the St. Andrews Society,” says MacAuley.
“And also as I mentioned, to bring a little levity and a smile to peoples faces because there hasn’t been many attractions that have gone on this summer in Manitoba,” he concluded.