I believe that the town of Meaford is beginning to recognize the magnificent job that one of its citizens has been doing as an ambassador at home and abroad. Senior Pipe Major Ross Baxter, a retired tinsmith, was requested by The Tournament of Roses Parade Committee in California to organize a massed pipe and drum band from across Canada to march in their 1994 parade. The bands included The Campbell River Pipes and Drums from British Columbia, The Fraser Holmes Memorial Ladies Pipe Band from Nova Scotia, The Midnight Sun Pipe Band from The Yukon, The Mirimachi Celtic Pipes and Drums from New Brunswick and The Ontario Massed Legion Pipes and Drums from Ontario. He organized Scotland Tour 2001 from August 17 to September 2, and the Canadian Massed Pipes and Drums Band was expanded to include the J.P.Fell Pipe Band and The Delta Police Pipe Band from British Columbia as well as the Fort McMurray Pipes and Drums from Alberta. Not surprisingly, the Canadian Massed Pipes and Drums received an invitation from The People's Republic of China to tour their country in 2003; unfortunately, world events scuttled the plans. [Visit our "Links" page to visit the OMPDB website.]
Of the current band practices, Senior Drum Major Norman MacKenzie stated, "During the 2008 season we had extremely good monthly practices in Orillia, Ontario, with many saying the band had never sounded better." Four more practices were held in 2009 before the departure to Scotland.
The Canadian Massed Pipes & Drums are the first band to be officially invited to take part in the "Gathering Of the Clans". The support group will watch a pageant depicting Scotland's history followed by a finale, which will involve all of the bands taking part in the parade including the Canadian Massed Pipes & Drums.
The CMPDB has been invited to take part in the Cavalcade Parade, which is part of the Edinburgh Festival.
Of course, The tour would not be complete without a "Pre-Show Performance" at the Edinburgh Tattoo.
I am truly an optimist, but I believe that any participant must take some responsibility for planning alternative or concurrent events for "free time" during a visit to Scotland. Hopefully our photographs will bear this out!
Senior Drum Major, Norm MacKenzie, reported that Senior Pipe Major Ross Baxter suffered a heart attack on Tuesday March 17th while working in Toronto, and had to under go surgery. Ross was his usual cheerful self when Norm visited him on Saturday 21st in the ICU at Markham Stoufville Hospital, Ontario. Ross said that he was feeling good and expected to be released from the hospital on Sunday, March 22nd. Both are looking forward to seeing band members at the practice on the 19th April. All of us join Norm in wishing Ross a speady recovery.
Ross Baxter accomplished a fine job of organizing the 2009 Tour of the CMPDB, and he was ably assisted at the events by Norm MacKenzie. Ross and Gayle Baxter celebrated their 10th Wedding Anniversary on August 9, the day of the Edinburgh Cavalcade Parade. Photographs will show that Ross enjoyed the ceilidhs to the fullest.
The date for the Blairgowrie parade was switched from August 5 to July 29 following the Gathering of the Clans. This meant a change of plans for some members who had planned to use their railway passes, but few complaints were heard.