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Bagpiper To Mark Tercentennial EventWith Pomp And Pageantry



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Bagpiper To Mark Tercentennial Event

With Pomp And Pageantry

Pageantry will mark the unveiling of Newtown’s official commemorative tercentennial seal on Sunday, March 7, at 4 pm. A ceremony will take place in The Alexandria Room of Edmond Town Hall.

Welcoming town residents to the public event will be Karl Stewart, an accomplished bagpiper who will bring pomp and pageantry to the auspicious event.

“I’m really honored to be a part of all this,” said Mr Stewart, a Newtown resident who belongs to Litchfield Hills Pipe Band, based in Bethlehem.

Mr Stewart will be outfitted in traditional Highland Civilian Dress with kilts of the MacLaine of Lochbuie tartan. His outfit is as colorful as its history and brings with it instant recognition of ritual and pageantry. It is not something one just slips into.

“It takes me about 45 minutes to get dressed,” said Mr Stewart, who appreciates the history of his garb. The outfit is topped with the traditional Glengarry bonnet, which is a Highland Scotch cap held together by ribbons and strings and features long silk streamers. It never fails to draw attention to the bagpiper and signals a colorful performance.

Many of Newtown’s residents have seen Mr Stewart in the town’s annual Labor Day parade. He has marched with the band at local and area parades and festivals.

In addition to performing at parades, Mr Stewart also participates in solo competitions. If his Scottish heritage prompted his initial interest in bag piping, it was listening to other bagpipers that convinced him he needed to learn the art.

How difficult was it to learn playing the bagpipes? When told it looks as if a bagpiper has to huff and puff his brains out, Mr Stewart replied with, “Yes, you do.”

He added that over time a progression of skills come into play.

“In the beginning one concentrates on lung capacity, but then it becomes coordination of breathing and skills,” he said.

Mr Stewart enjoys belonging to the Litchfield Hills Pipe Band and is quick to say that one of the things he enjoys most is a solo competition.

“Scotties will compete with anything,” he said with a laugh.

A software developer by trade, bagpipes add music and camaraderie to his life as well as contrast his old world ties and high tech day-to-day living.

Newtowners will easily spot Mr Stewart in front of the town hall or in the town hall’s lobby on Sunday afternoon

“The bagpipes are usually an outdoors instrument. Sometimes indoors the sound is too loud. I’m concerned about the acoustics. I’ll give it a try, but in all likelihood, I’ll be outdoors,” said Mr Stewart. He added again, “I’m very proud that I have been asked to take part in this event.”

The unveiling of the Tercentennial Seal is important, according to organizers, because it will mark all official events and products sanctioned by the Tercentennial Commission during the year 2005. The Logo Committee appointed by the commission has worked diligently to approve the historic design created by Brad Howe of Newtown’s Curtis Packaging.

All residents are invited to Sunday’s ceremony, and invitations have been sent to local dignitaries. Buttons bearing the official logo will be presented to Newtown residents in attendance, and light refreshments will be served.

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