Local band takes part in US tattoo

Closkelt Pipe Band pictured in America where they took part in the 2015 Virginia International Tattoo in America on Thursday 23rd to Sunday 27th April.
Closkelt Pipe Band pictured in America where they took part in the 2015 Virginia International Tattoo in America on Thursday 23rd to Sunday 27th April.

Closkelt Pipe Band was one of only two civilian bands to take part in the 2015 Virginia International Tattoo in America recently.

Twenty members of the local band travelled to the States from April 17 to April 27 for the prestigious event.

Whilst in the US, the band also performed at local schools, bringing pipe band music to many students for the first time.

Pipe Major James Knox MBE, said the trip was an ‘enjoyable experience.’

“It was great, especially for the younger members who had never been in America before,” said James.

“We stayed in Norfolk, Virginia, where the Tattoo was held, which has the biggest naval base in the world.

“It was good for us, because once we were there everything was paid for, the hotel, the food was free.”

As well as taking their music to local schools, the local band also took part in parades in the days leading up to the main events.

“It was busy,” James explained. “We had a lot to rehearse, but once that was finished it was enjoyable after that.

“We performed at schools in deprived areas for kids who had never had the opportunity to hear the bagpipes. They had the chance to try the bagpipes and the drums, which went down very well.

“It certainly gave them a new outlook.”

The Virginia International Tattoo - long regarded as the most patriotic of the world’s great tattoos - took place from Thursday April 23 until Sunday April 26, in the Scope Arena, Norfolk.

“The arena holds about 5,000 people so it was a good atmosphere,” said James.

“We took part in the opening ceremony, a pipes and drums performance and then we had a performance of our own.

“We also played when the Ailsa Craig Highland Dancers performed, as well as the closing ceremony.”

Closkelt Pipe Band’s participation came about as James knows the Tattoo’s musical director, Andrew Carlisle, a Northern Ireland man, who played with Field Marshal Montgomery, who is now a Professor of Music at the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

“It was fantastic,” James added. “Everyone who was over said they would go back at the drop of a hat.”