Highlanders to perform special concert

As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, the Fort Frances Highlanders will be performing a special concert at Giant’s Ridge ski resort in Biwabik on Saturday.
“In the fall, we decided we’d form a strategic alliance with both the Air Cadets and Sea Cadet corps in the district, and from that we’ve got a ton of young students who’ve been working very hard to master the bagpipes or one of the three different drums that are offered in a bagpipe band,” Fort Frances Highlander pipe major Dr. Bruce Lidkea this morning.
“We’ve got all these young people that have worked so hard, so I wanted to do something nice for them,” Dr. Lidkea added. So I organized this trip down to Biwabik, where we’re playing basically for the ski lifts and rentals.
“So they’ll get a fun day for a little time playing. It’s a nice thank you for them for putting in the effort this year.”
The Highlanders will be performing at various times between 1-4 p.m. on Saturday. If anyone is in Biwabik on that day, they’re encouraged to stop by and hear them play.
Dr. Lidkea also noted he’s thrilled to see the Highlanders’ ranks swell as they have.
“People are going to see a completely different Fort Frances Highlanders this year, one in which I’m visibly old,” he chuckled.
“Right now, we have 15 members that are going down to play but that’s certainly not everyone in our band,” he added. “There’s several members that are just under the wire as far as being able to play.
“There’s others that just for family, or school or work obligations, can’t make it [to Biwabik]. But our band this year is probably maxed out at 24 members.”
The only “problem” with the band right now, noted Dr. Lidkea, is getting instruments and uniforms for everybody.
“None of that is cheap,” he said. “But we work hard and keep doing what we’re doing.”
Dr. Lidkea noted the Biwabik performance is just a fraction of the busy schedule the band has ahead of it this year.
For instance, the Fort Frances Highlanders will be playing at the opening ceremonies for the OFSAA boys’ hockey tournament here next Wednesday (March 22), followed by numerous bookings for the northern Minnesota parade circuit in the summer months.
“We’re getting phone calls from other states, as well. We’re booked to play in North Dakota this year,” noted Dr. Lidkea.
He also hinted the Fort Frances Highlanders have in the works, among other initiatives, a “very large project,” for which they are in the process of acquiring funding.
But Dr. Lidkea was reluctant to give out any other details at this time.