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Taking the world stage


The Black Tusk Caledonia Pipes and Drummers want to join thousands of bagpipers and drummers from around the world in making sweet music this summer. The band is in its last push of fundraising efforts to attend the 10th annual Marie Curie Cancer Care Pipefest in Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 23. Pipefest is expected to draw 10,000 pipes and drummers and set a world record for mass pipe events.

On Saturday (July 16) members of the band will converge at the Chieftain Mall and the Garibaldi Highlands Mall to entertain shoppers and collect donations. And on Saturday, July 23, the band takes the stage at the Grizzly Pub from 6 to 9 p.m. for a beer and burger fundraiser.

All but two of the 14-member band, half of them youths under 19, will take off for two weeks beginning Aug. 9 and the band is consumed with rehearsals in anticipation of the trip.

"Now it's all shoe-shining and practicing," said Pipe Major Luc Leblanc. "It's crunch time."

Since 1995, the Marie Curie Cancer Care Pipefest has raised funds for the hospice and home care of terminally ill cancer patients. Last year, 9,600 bands attended, raising over $300,000.

Two members of the band went to Pipefest five years ago, but this year marks the first time there will be representation from Squamish and the affiliated Diamond Head Legion.

The parade takes place Sunday, Aug. 21, looping around Holyrood Park, Scotland, but it's only one stop on the group's itinerary. There are 14 other events scheduled to coincide with Pipefest and the band plans to join two parades that will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

And during its stay in university accommodations in nearby Stirling, the band hopes to participate in parades commemorating the death of the town's heroic native son, William Wallace. On Aug. 23, 1305, the warrior Scot nicknamed Braveheart was executed in London and 700 years later his legacy will be honoured in Stirling, the site of a Wallace memorial.

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