This week we will be taking a look at the first pipe band I played with in Indiana. The Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums is a large performance band based out of Columbus, Indiana, but has branches in Bloomington, Seymour, and Greencastle, and a few scattered players from other towns in the southern Indiana region.
Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums
Location: Columbus, IN, U.S.A.
Tartan: Royal Stewart
Member: August 2013 – September 2014
- Kevin Konetzka
- Justin Booth
- No Grade – Performance
A wedding in my family encouraged me to make the time to play bagpipes seriously again (my brother and I were asked to play for the wedding), and a change in work afforded me a better schedule to pursue my piping more fully. In August of 2013, I joined the local performance band, not feeling I was up to snuff to play with a competitive band at the time, and also unwilling to make the drive to the nearest bands – Fountain Trust Pipe Band or Louisville Pipe Band. I joined the Bloomington Unit of the Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums, and would play with them for about a year.
This was the first – and so far only – non-competitive band I have played with. The band primarily focused on a set of annual gigs, with some other gigs sprinkled throughout. More than anything, the band was about socializing with folks who had a common interest – the bagpipe, and more broadly, Scottish heritage. The band is still organized by geographical units, which affords players to more easily reach band practice. Some players lived as far as 2 hours from Columbus, but had closer units they could play with. Occasionally, there were full band practices which usually occurred over the summer months.
The band is made up of people ranging from those just interested in playing the bagpipe as a side hobby, to competitive players, to members of folk bands. There is a wide variety of interests in the band. SIPD’s band mission specifically states it is non-competition, because it wants to be welcoming to all players of any skill level, and avoid the sometimes aggressive atmosphere that competition can occasionally breed.
I still play with the band, though I have been scaling back my participation because of the demands of going back into competition and playing with a competitive band. I value playing with the pipers that are local to me, because I value local community – which is why I chose to play with Fountain Trust and not some of the higher-grade bands in Chicago, or try my luck auditioning with Greater Midwest. It is important to participate close to home, and do what you can to strengthen piping in your area.