Ruby McBeth: The pipe band of Fort St. John

From Pipe Bands of British Columbia:

“In September of 1970 the Fort St. John Rotary Club … was persuaded by Rotarian Gordon Adlard, a piper himself, to sponsor a pipe band. The Club purchased uniforms and drums. The members chose the MacKenzie tartan … Adlard began teaching some young pipers, and Ruby McBeth, formerly of the McIntosh Girls band, coached the drummers and was leading side drummer.

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“The first official parade was in May of 1971 when HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Phillip made a flying visit. The band greeted them at the airport – a very exciting and memorable maiden performance.”

I was the lead drummer of the band from 1970 to 1977 when Ross Haller took over. By 1977, I was expecting my second child and did not have the energy to attend practices.

I rejoined the band to play at Gordon Adlard’s funeral in 1990. Terry Cowles was an early member who learned more about pipe band drumming while attending the cadet camp in Vernon in the summer holidays.

Our present pipe major Robbie McMullin is another piper who started out with the cadets. Joan Thompson was a member of the MacIntosh Girls Pipe Band in Vernon at the same time as I was. Valerie Crook who was a tenor drummer early in the band’s history later learned the pipes. She rejoined that band in 2019 inspired by a trip to Scotland.

We look forward to playing as a band again when the pandemic is over.

They were loved

“They Were Loved” is an obituary project to commemorate thousands of coronavirus victims, as well as to mark this historic moment in Canadian history.

In partnership with Carleton University’s Future of Journalism Initiative and journalism schools across Canada, Maclean’s is striving to capture the richness of each life lost in elegant obituaries. To add the name of a loved one, google “They Were Loved” and click on “Tell us about your loved one.”

Auld Lang Syne

“Auld Lang Syne” is a favourite New Year’s song by Robbie Burns. To hear it sung beautifully with incredible nature photography, google “Auld Lang Syne Sissel” and click on the video with the snow scene.

Quote of the week

“O wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!” - Robert Burns

Ruby McBeth is a community columnist and lives in Fort St. John. 

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