Time to bag a myth about piping
Re "Pipe Dreams" [Dec. 5]: Very, very fine article. It dispelled many of the unfortunate myths surrounding piping.
Only one gripe: You repeated the time-worn, and now-disproved, myth about the British "outlawing" the pipes. Piping scholars such as John Gibson, Roderick Cannon and William Donaldson have recently confirmed, through careful and comprehensive study of the 1746 Disarming Act, military records of occupying force, parish records, etc. that the pipes were, in fact, never banned. Other aspects of Highland life were proscribed (i.e. Highland dress), but not the pipes. Check out Gibson's Traditional Gaelic Bagpiping: 1745-1945 for a comprehensive history of piping during the Jacobite period.
-- Matt Buckley, Richmond, Vt.
(The writer was a co-founder of the annual Vermont Bellowspipe School, and a member of Grade III Catamount Pipe Band.)
I really enjoyed "Pipe Dreams." It captured perfectly the events and characters of our local piping scene. Despite negatives limited to an annoying emcee, a rather unintelligible storyteller, and an event length that encroached upon the post-show reception, the recent St. Laurence O'Toole concert was a lot of fun and certainly energized me. Its organizers and sponsors should be lauded for their efforts.
Regarding the local bagpiping talent, we certainly have an interesting mix of the passionate, the prim and even the apathetic in our vastly gifted upper piping echelon. As bad as apathy is, it is the primness that personally plagues me. As an aspiring adult piper who adheres slavishly to a self-imposed twice-daily practice routine in an effort to catch up with the troop, I sometimes muse over why I am making the effort to produce a skill set that is of limited use, in an area where my long hair inhibits my joining a pipe band. Talk about irony. But the short answer is that, despite my not being a good fit with the mostly paramilitary nature of our piping community, I love playing the music and cannot stand for my playing it badly.
Thank you for the comprehensive look at piping in Pittsburgh. I've taken the time to forward it on to others outside the area.
-- Mychael Morohovich, Duquesne Heights