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Scottish culture enjoyed at Walter Bickett Education Center

Bagpiper Yance Covington visited the Walter Bickett Education Center, bringing a couple of extra kilts for students to try on. Pictured, from left, are Giovvani Garcia, 4, Yance Covington, and Yaritzi Zermeno, 5, both students at Walter Bickett Education Center.

The kilt came to his ankles and covered half of his Carolina Panthers jersey. He felt the thick wool between two fingers, then passed it to another brave lad.

Bagpiper Yance Covington visited the Walter Bickett Education Center on Monday, Oct. 25, 2010, bringing a couple of extra kilts for kids to try on. Hands shot up for a chance to be next in line.

“You don’t have to go to Scotland to enjoy Scottish culture,” Covington said. “It’s right here.”

The next group of pre-K students wiggled in their seats until he walked on stage, then sat perfectly still for his first tune, eyes glued to the loud pipes.

Student Isaiah Kennedy had never seen bagpipes before. He held his mouth open to mimic the drone. Student Jordan Massey was a bit shy, but did say she enjoyed the performance.

Covington’s visit was part of an effort to expand students’ knowledge of world culture, to expose them to things they might not experience otherwise, teacher Jason Hart said.

Even Hart learned a few things. “I didn’t know they walked around with kilts as tents,” he said.

Covington shared that kilts used to cover both the top and bottom of the body — 27 feet of heavy wool that people used as makeshift tents and backpacks. It wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that they did away with the loose-fitting top part that got tangled in machinery. Bagpipes, he added, were used to communicate with neighbors before e-mail and cell phones.

Covington lives in Raleigh but comes from Scottish ancestors. He plays with North Carolina State University’s Pipes and Drums and joined the Carolina Navigators out of Chapel Hill to share his music in schools.

Monday marked his first time playing for pre-K students. He quickly adjusted his routine for the young audience; “more music, less talking,” he said. “Usually, the kids are either scared or they love it.”

The applause after each song spoke for itself.

--This article was written by Enquirer Journal staff writer Tiffany Jothen, and reprinted with permission of The Enquirer-Journal.

Written by: Tiffany Jothen, staff writer at The Enquirer Journal
Posted: Oct 28, 2010 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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