Troy Rich to share bagpipe history with BRMCPosted May 11, 2012 at 4:19 PM, Filed Under: Community News, Front Page, Village Mill
By Lou Seminare
Who has not been emotionally moved by the distinctive sound of bagpipes, approaching from the distance and playing the funereal Mull of Kintyre? With the approaching national observance of Memorial Day, it is appropriate that we remember and honor the many who have served and given their all in the defense of the freedoms we enjoy. Bagpiper Troy Rich will open the Brandermill Region Men’s Club June 7 meeting at The Brandermill Church, with his rendition of that time-honored tradition.
Over the years, bagpipes have been employed to express many other emotions as well as to encourage and motivate calls to action. Historians record that the Great Pipes of the Highlands were classified as an instrument of war as early as the Highland uprising in the 1700s. The penetrating and shrill sounds of the pipes overpowered the roar and of the battle, and could be heard for miles, greatly motivating the attackers in their charge, and simultaneously striking fear in the ranks of the enemy. Pipes are also extensively used in festive celebrations —weddings, christenings, birthday celebrations, bar mitzvahs and other religious events.
Contrary to popular belief, the bagpipe, Scotland’s national instrument, is not of Scot origin. Robert Worrell of Ontario, Canada, a noted bagpipe authority, and seven-time champion performer, and piper, wrote, “The instrument is of great antiquity, which has its origins in the Middle East, and traveled through and evolved in Europe alongside the diffusion of early civilization.”
The “Oxford History of Music” mentions the first documented bagpipe being found on the Hittite slab at Eyuk. This sculptured bagpipe dates back to 1,000 B.C. Over the course of the three millennia since, the instrument has evolved through countless modifications, and has been adopted by many cultures—notably Spanish, French, Italian, German, Hungarian, Tunisian, Czechoslovakian, Indian, Greek and myriad others, each developing their own modifications and versions to accommodate their individual ethnicities and cultures.
Troy Rich, the featured speaker for the BRMC June 7 meeting, will expand on this interesting history, employing this unique instrument. Active audience participation is encouraged.
Rich is a graduate of the Thomas Dale High School Specialty Center of the Performing Arts, where he played the violin. With a deep appreciation of his Scottish heritage, he began playing the pipes after hearing them played during the funeral of his grandmother. His lessons began at age 12, and within a few months he attained the proficiency required to become a member of the Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums grade three band. He spent five years traveling and competing, and performed in more than 100 events including competitions, weddings, funerals, parties and parades.
Currently, Rich is the Young Life Leader for Monacan High School. Volunteer Young Life Leaders are adults in a community who commit to care for middle or high school students through the ministry of Young Life, which includes leadership training activities. Rich will be leading Young Life at Blacksburg High School when he returns to Virginia Tech to complete his degree in business management, with a minor in music.
Although the BRMC meetings will be on hiatus during July and August, other club activities will continue through the summer. The Brandermill Senior Golfers, the BRMC Bowlers, the twice weekly (Tuesdays and Thursdays) bridge clubroom will all continue, as well as one or two ROMEO (Retired Outstanding Men Eating Out) events, and possibly a day trip or tour.
Those interested in learning more about the organization are encouraged to visit the website www.BRMConline.org or simply attend the June 7 meeting as a guest of the club. All are welcome.