By ALEXANDRIA DEER
You may have seen a lone bagpiper on your way to or from Conestoga College, in the open field beside Pino’s Pizza, or even passed him in the hallways of residence with his pipes in tow, but never stopped to ask him about his unusual hobby.
Joshua Christie, an electrical engineering technology student, plays the bagpipes, an impressive set of McCallum ABOs to be precise.
“When it’s nice, it’s easier to practise in the field,” he said. “I don’t really have a place to practise other than the field right now. In res it all depends. I’ve played in the basement a couple times and they’ve said it is fine for me to practise there because they can’t hear it on the first floor. I find sometimes there’s burrs out there, but what else can you expect from a field?”
Christie’s family is of Scottish descent and both his grandfather and great-grandfather played the bagpipes. “I started learning two years ago. I started learning through the Fergus Pipe Band from Bill McMeekin,” said Christie.
Christie is a member of two bands; the Paris Port Dover Pipe Band and the Kitchener Firefighters Parade Band. He takes lessons from Gord Black every Saturday morning for an hour at Kitchener’s fire headquarters.
“Robin Adair is my favourite tune to play in competition and in general I like (to play) Itchy Fingers. It’s a fun tune to play. It’s basically top hand movements,” said Christie.
He said few people ask him about his bagpipes. “Some people come and say ‘hey, I want to learn the pipes, do you know anyone that I can learn from?’ Other than that, most people don’t approach me about it,” he said. “I do wish they would ask me more about it.”
Christie’s next endeavour will be to attend the Toronto Indoor Highland Games where he will compete in the pipe band competition on April 14.
He said it’s a big step for him, and he’s been worrying that he won’t have all the tunes memorized.