To the editor:
Re: "Green city is a quiet city: ban the pipes," April 25, 2012.
I would be the first to agree with the Right to Quiet Society that ambient noise is getting out of hand. Cell-phones ringing, car alarms going off unattended, people shouting into their technical devices so they really have no need for a cell-phone at all - the noise around us can reach unacceptable levels. But bagpipes? Played in the right place, there's nothing finer. Not on the downtown streets, where sound is amplified by the canyon-like city we've built around ourselves, but in the open air, the skirl of the pipes is something to behold.
A friend and I were enjoying Stanley Park one autumn afternoon when we heard bagpipe music floating on the warm air. We deliberately chose to walk towards it, relishing the music growing magically as we rustled through the fallen leaves. Eventually we arrived at Brockton Oval, where one lone bagpiper, complete with kilt, was practising. We perched on a picnic bench and listened, spellbound, as he played. The piper was totally unaware of his appreciative audience of two, and we sat motionless until he packed up and went on his way, having enjoyed a free concert where bagpipes are best heard, in the open air.
Bagpipes should not be banished from our no-fun city - in the right place they can be uplifting and enjoyable. They may even melt the heart of those to whom their 'noise' is anathema. The naysayers might even find themselves unconsciously tapping their toes while they listen, if they don't actually get up and dance!
Rosemary Taylor, Vancouver