Just yesterday James W., James P., Ryan and I were judging at the Legion Highland Gathering hosted by the Pipes and Drums of the Pacific Gael in Ladysmith, BC. We were also joined by Uncle Colin (Magee) and Warren Fells, both founding members of the City of Victoria Pipe Band along with James W.
Taking a brief moment to look around the judging panel during the band contest, it struck me that these gentlemen (James W., Colin and Warren) have not only been pillars of the Vancouver Island bagpiping and drumming scene for double digit years but most importantly, have passed the love of the music down to each of their children. Each of us have done different things with that gift but either way, it's present. And funnily enough, we are ALL members of the Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band, which is the second pipe band on the Island that these fellas have built together. Amazing stuff thanks to some amazing fathers. But Thank You never really ever seems accurate enough.
Going for dinner in the sleepy little town of Duncan on our way home, James W. started talking about his Dad (John) working up there for years with the Canadian Pacific Railway as a dispatcher. Known as the E&N, freight trains no longer run that far up the island and the shacks that Dad used to stay in as a young teenager, working for the railway himself, are no longer there. Familiar landmarks were pointed out and stories were told - one of which had us in fits of giggles (not fit for internet consumption).
John Troy used to be a musician as well. Before his days on Vancouver Island, he was part of a traveling band that toured throughout the Prairies. Known as Mr. Bones, he was a banjo player and had an act similar to that of Al Jolson.
Obviously, music has played a significant role in the entire Troy family...from John to Jamie to Jamie to Jacquie....
James W. has not only passed the ability to PLAY an instrument down to both James P. and I but has managed to deeply engrain his passion and love for the music itself. Forever committed to playing 'the sweet music', James W. has taught us the art of appreciating what music is meant to do: stir up emotion. Conveying a message through music is what every musician is striving for, no matter the instrument.
I think the most important thing that I have learnt from James W. is that you can learn something from anybody; just as long as YOU know your stuff. That requires another art: listening. Having big ears and an open mind will go a long way to help develop and nurture your talent and have an positive impact on the product you produce.
For all of this, both Jamie and I are forever thankful.
We love you Walls!