On vacation in Cape Breton a year or so later, I saw a bagpiper playing. The first I’d ever seen up close, and I loved the crisp, aggressive sound. And the kilt. So I took lessons when I got back home and later joined a bagpipe band. After all those years of girl’s boarding school followed by a women’s college, I didn’t really know how men operated in a group. So, the bagpipe band is how I learned to be a guy in a group of guys, how to wear a kilt, how to drink beer and Scotch, how to be supportive by just showing up and participating.
A couple years ago, I tried to sing again. My new second-tenor singing voice is weaker and less reliable than my old second-soprano one, but it works well enough that I can sing in one of Philadelphia’s big, old choruses. I still play with the bagpipe band on Tuesday nights, get dressed up in my kilt to play at weddings and funerals and band gigs, and learn how to be a better musician and man.”