Chester area MLA has cameo in promo supporting frontline workers

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A screen grab of a segment showing Chester-St. Margaret&#8217;s MLA Hugh MacKay playing bagpipes in a Canada Together promotion aired by Corus Entertainment.</p>

Sharp-eyed viewers would have noticed a familiar figure providing six seconds of instrumental "O Canada" bagpipe music as part of a nationwide effort supporting frontline workers dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

Although neither he nor his affiliation is identified on screen, it was Chester-St. Margaret's MLA Hugh MacKay appearing 36 seconds into the Canada Together promotion, created by Corus Entertainment as a way to show encouragement to professionals in the health care field.

MacKay, who wasn't paid for the spot which also shows other musicians playing the national anthem, said it was great to be part of a musically-inspired sign of unity and strength for a common cause.

He said a friend associated with Corus Entertainment, owners of the Global TV network, texted him in early April and asked for him to participate in a national campaign involving musicians from across the country. MacKay said she thought bagpipes would be a good representation of the Maritimes.

"I'm probably the only piper she knows, would be my best guess" as to why she chose him, MacKay told LighthouseNOW with a laugh.

At home, on April 5, MacKay set up his iPhone on the deck with St. Margaret's Bay in the background, and filmed his version of "O Canada". He did it in one take and the process took a matter of minutes, he said, including the time to warm up his bagpipes.

MacKay emailed the movie file to his friend, who later confirmed the segment was being broadcasted. Then, he started getting messages from friends across the country who recognized him.

MacKay has played the bagpipes since age 10. In childhood, he joined what was then known as the Dartmouth Boy's Pipe Band. He continued with another band for years when he moved to Ottawa.

These days, when he does play, he'll do it for curling bonspiels or weddings so as long as event organizer makes a charitable donation.

"I just kept it up ever since" childhood, MacKay explained to LighthouseNOW of his love of the wind instrument.

"I continue to play, mostly for my own enjoyment, for my own family's enjoyment."

More information about the Corus program can be found at www.canadatogether.com on the internet.

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