Cloverdale, the pipes are calling you.
Fans of pipe and drum bands are urged to answer an appeal from a local cadet corps – the 2277 Seaforth Highlanders Royal Canadian Army Cadets. With help, they hope to realize their dream of stepping out on parade at community events, properly attired and in tune – and honour a long-standing Canadian tradition.
They’ve launched an online crowd-funding initiative at YouCaring.com to raise money for instruction and band uniforms.
They’re looking to raise $30,000 by April, in time for parade season. Without instruments or highland gear, they cannot enter parades or participate in community events like Remembrance Day services.
For the past year, some of the cadets have trained with the Surrey Seaforth Cadets to learn the bagpipes and drums – skills that are synonymous with Canada’s famed Seaforth Highlanders regiment and cadets.
But that instructional opportunity has now moved to Delta or Jericho Beach – both too far to travel on a weeknight for cadets who live in Abbotsford or Aldergrove, says parent sponsoring committee member Karen Murphy Corr.
“A big part of the Scottish military tradition is, of course, having bagpipers and drummers as part of the corps,” says Corr, who has two sons enrolled.
Founded in 2010, the Langley-based corps has grown to more than 60 cadets from across the region, including Cloverdale.
The corps has had “tremendous support from the Cloverdale community, since it was founded five years ago, “especially the Cloverdale Legion,” she says.
Members of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6, “Have done so much for our cadets and we would really like to be able to give back,” Corr said.
“Our goal is to have a cadet pipe and drum band to represent the corps at events like the Legion open house and the Cloverdale Rodeo parade.”
To veterans like Mike Harvey, who, like many throughout the Fraser Valley, served with the Seaforth Highlanders in active duty, there’s an important connection with affiliated cadet corps.
“We have a bond,” he wrote the Langley Times earlier this year. As a youth, he joined a Seaforth Higlanders cadet corps.
“We trained in the Seaforth Armoury in Vancouver, our uniforms being glengarries, blue tunics, kilts, sporrans and socks.”
At 16, Harvey left cadets to become a “boy” soldier during the Second World War, earning 70 cents a day pay. He became a paratrooper, was wounded, eventually winding up with the Seaforth Highlanders in Holland during the last days of the war.
“A splendid regiment it is, with a history of courageous fierce battles through Sicily, Italy, and Holland,” says Harvey, a member of RCL Branch 6 in Cloverdale.
When told by The Reporter of the 2277 Seaforth Cadets fundraising appeal, he offered a list of fundraising suggestions – from piping in guests at the Cloverdale Legion’s monthly pancake breakfasts and then taking up a collection plate, to having the band playing “Scotland A Brae” at the race track with an explanation over the loudspeaker as to why.
Or, he offered, “A story in your paper concerning this and directed to all those with Scottish blood.”
But starting a pipe and drum band from the ground up isn’t cheap these days.
The cost of highland dress – kilts, hose, sporrans, tunics, and glengarry caps – is considerable. but putting that cost onto parents is an option the committee refuses to consider.
The instruments also come very dear, but the corps is on its way: The parent committee has bought three Scottish bagpipes at $1,500 apiece, along with second hand drums (already in need of repair), sticks and harnesses.
The cadet program, for youth aged 12 to 18, is offered at no cost.
The parent sponsoring committee helps with extras, like instruments and cultural travel exchanges.
“As with the whole cadet program, the parent sponsoring committee works hard to ensure that any youth who wants to participate never has to worry about cost as a barrier,” says Corr.
“We want to keep it that way.”
Donations of cash or volunteer time at community events, such as helping service clubs, are urgently requested.
The wish list includes everything from 10 sets of Highland dress plus accessories and two more sets of bagpipes, to drum repairs, decals and money to pay for instructional time.
They’re also looking into the possibility of additional cost savings by having kilts made in the style that was worn during the First World War.
Due to wartime rationing, the garments were pleated in such a way that they used far less fabric and were much less expensive to make, explained Corr.
– With files, Black Press