Kilt With Kindness

"Ae Men o' Plaid"

(with copious apologies to Robert Burns)

See the marching souls before us!

Mark their stirrin', righteous sound.

Hear the pipers ring out glorious,

As the drums boom all around!

The mighty Black Watch o' song,

With Highland Dancers who've seen nae collision.

Pipes, Drums, Choir . . . Och, all strong!

The Band/Choir of Prince of Wales Division!

Prepare-you weel, America West.

No ball tossin' Suns will seem as bright,

Aft' many men in tartan best

Fill the arena on Thursday night!

Scotland's beloved "ploughman poet" is now certainly spinning in his tomb. All literary desecration aside, "The Drums, Pipes and Highland Dancers of the Black Watch and the Band/Choir of The Prince of Wales Division" will be stirring up a powerful noise on Thursday, September 28, at America West Arena. This presentation of music from four great nations (Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England) features bagpipes, drums, Celtic dance and military marches. A total of 70 (!) performers will fill the floor and the aisles.

The Black Watch (Highland Regiment) of today is part of a direct line dating to 1725. Formed to police the Highlands after the Jacobite Rebellion, this military troupe has included drummers and pipers, even in combat, since its earliest days. It was during World War I that the Germans dubbed them "The Ladies From Hell," a commentary aimed at their distinctive dress that has become a mark of pride.

These brave and triumphant soldiers dressed in traditional Highland gear make for quite an impressive sight. Their uniforms include Royal Stewart tartan kilts with either scarlet or Archer Green doublets. On their bonnets (yes, bonnets) are red hackles and ostrich feathers. All drummers and pipers wear a white sporran (purse) and red and black hose tops with white spats and black shoes. It's not a look that just anyone can pull off. This is going to be a rare chance to experience the sort of pageantry that we Americans have never been able to quite get the hang of.

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David Gofstein