Skip to main content
Advertising

Originally published Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:27 PM

  • Share:
           
  • Comments
  • Print

Bellingham bagpipers perform at Buckingham Palace

Two men from Bellingham got to perform on bagpipe at Buckingham Palace recently, at the Changing the Guard ceremony, along with fellow members of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band.


The Bellingham Herald

advertising

BELLINGHAM — Two Bellingham bagpipers — part of a world-renowned pipe and drum corps — held their breath at Buckingham Palace as they waited for an officer of the Queen’s Guard Home Division to decide if they were worthy of participating in the centuries-old Changing the Guard tradition.

They’d traveled as part of the Vancouver Police Pipe Band for the time-honored ritual at the royal residence in London. But first they had to pray for good weather, and then survive the scrutiny of a British “fit for role” inspection.

“The lieutenant colonel didn’t let us know we had passed until halfway through his speech after the inspection,” said Wayne D. Rogers, who with Carter Smith is part of the 100-year-old band known for its musicianship and precision drilling.

“I actually thought he was going to turn us down,” Rogers recently said via email from Britain.

Neither Rogers nor Smith is a police officer or even a British subject, and in the back of their minds they feared a thumbs-down for just those reasons. Both had been deputized as special constables in order to join the police band.

Still, they were Yanks.

“The fit-for-role inspection was pretty intense. We were on parade for an hour, half of it at attention in the sunshine,” Rogers said. The 350-year-old Changing the Guard ceremony proceeds only in fair weather.

As far as anyone knows, the June 13 performance was the first time a nonmilitary band played for Changing the Guard, and Rogers and Smith were the first non-British subjects to participate. In addition, band member Katie Frye is the first female piper to ever play a guard mount (changing of the guard), and 75-year-old drummer Ed Wagstaff is the oldest person ever to play in one.

“I’d have to say the best part of the guard mount at Buckingham is marching up the mall playing, and when you come around the Queen Victoria Monument seeing the gates of Buckingham open for you, and marching through them,” Rogers said.

Prince William and ranking military officers attended the performance.

In addition to their performance at Buckingham, the band participated in a guard mount ceremony at Windsor Castle — the royal estate in the Berkshire countryside west of London — and at Royal Chelsea Hospital, a home for retired military personnel.

“The concert for the Chelsea pensioners at the Royal Hospital was very moving,” Rogers said. “As we marched playing around the courtyard, the residents lined the edges. Those that could, stood up, and those that could, saluted as we passed. It was a huge honor to be able to perform for them.”



Want unlimited access to seattletimes.com? Subscribe now!

Also in Local News

News where, when and how you want it

Email Icon

Meet the winemakers

Meet the winemakers

View video interviews, conducted by The Seattle Times wine writer Andy Perdue, profiling five of our state's top winemakers.

Advertising

Partner Video

Advertising

Career Center Blog

Career Center Blog

How to tame an unruly resume


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►