Black Watch Enjoys Scottish New Year Celebration

The ways in which people celebrate New Year’s Eve are many, and for the past two years Montreal’s Black Watch Association Pipes & Drums (BWAPD) has hosted a Hogmanay fest for the occasion at their armoury.

The semi-formal included a BBQ chicken dinner with a champagne toast at midnight, Scottish country dance lessons and performances by BWAPD, Highland Dancers, The Black Watch Royal Highland Regiment of Canada, and Celtic/pop/rock trio Squidjigger.

Black Watch2

BWAPD Drum Major Bob Labreche says the night was a good time. “We had a great night full of music, a raffle that offered some great prizes and dancing. The association performed a new tune with Squidjigger for the first time in public, and it was a first performance for three of our members.”

Begun in Montreal in 1862 as the 5th Battalion, Volunteer Militia Rifles of Canada, the Black Watch is the oldest highland regiment in Canada. Eight companies were eventually raised for border services, with help from each of the six Montreal Scottish chieftains, due to concerns over the American Civil War.

Members have continued to help with border security, and have also fought in the Boer War, WW1, WW2 and the Korean War. They also strengthen NATO operations in Europe and UN peacekeeping worldwide and provide aid-to-the-civil-power, most recently during the Quebec and Eastern Ontario ice storm disaster.

Black Watch

In 2010 BWAPD “was launched as a result of both the success of the school of piping and drumming and interest from members of the Black Watch.” The school provides professional instruction to children and adults. They’ve performed at events such as the Jazz Fest parade in 2010, the Montreal St. Patrick’s parade and on TVA’s La Classe de Cinquième.

According to Labreche, the party was organized “to put on a good show and offer a fun evening for people,” and for the purchase and upkeep of uniforms and instruments. The group also needs funding for a trip to Scotland in the summer of 2016 to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships.

Labreche notes that organizing “was a lot of work,” but adds that having a trusted team is really helpful. “We have a good planning team that has worked on events in the past. My advice would be to plan ahead, think of every aspect that needs to be covered, and advertise as much as possible,” he says, adding “the tickets were great, it added an air of professionalism to our event.”

How do you organize planning teams for your events?