Aiden Fowler, a 17-year-old bagpipe player from Langley Township, isn’t letting COVID-19 put a pause on his pipes.
Fowler placed sixth out of 31 in the Grade 1 World’s Piping and Drumming competition as well as 4th in a 2/4 march.
He’s been playing for seven and a half years since he was nine years old and currently serves as a pipe major for the White Spot Pipe Band.
The Surrey-based band has members from all across the Lower Mainland, but Fowler’s Grade 1 ranking is the highest a piper can achieve.
“The music is really something to work towards – getting better at it,” Fowler said. “I’m a competitive person, and this is something that I like to do.”
The Scottish ancestry runs in Fowler’s family; his mom was a Highland dancer while Fowler himself got to spend a week practising his pipes in Glasgow last year.
He saw a post about the world online competition on Facebook and submitted several videos of himself performing, which is what led to his impressive placings.
”I was playing everyday for weeks, which has been pretty rough on the rest of my family since we’re locked in the same house,” Fowler laughed.
Though the Grade 12 student at Langley Secondary School plans to study criminology at Simon Fraser University in the fall, he called his pipe playing a lifetime hobby.
“You’re pretty much locked in,” he said, noting that a bagpipe career is a difficult feat to pull off. “There’s only so much you can do.”
With an influx of pipers playing around Langley and communities to spread local cheer during COVID-19, Fowler said the instrument is a great morale booster.
“It makes people smile and its great getting out there to play loud music,” Fowler added.
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