BANDing Together

By: Andrew Fusco

Recently, I had a young student say to me “There are so many bad things in the world that it doesn’t matter what I do, and for every good thing I do there are 1000 bad things to take its place.  Everything is useless”.  He went on to say “I feel like nothing I do will ever mean anything because I will eventually just die.  And nothing I’ve worked hard for will ever matter.” Now, that is some serious Nietzsche for a young kid.  Believe it or not, this conversation started by talking about practicing bagpipes.  Oh no!

I had thoughts like these as a young person and at times still do, to be honest.  When your mind is growing and you're expanding your knowledge of the world and how it works and trying to find your place in it, it is easy to become hopeless in your thinking.  Horrible things happen in the world and it’s hard to make sense of them.  But there are good things in the world too…like music and friendship.  These are two things that have gotten me through life, especially as a young man but even to this day; having a passion for music and having people that understood that passion around me.

After college, like most people, I separated from my childhood friends, stopped playing music and ended up on my own, working for the man, and doing adult things for a few years. It was a weird time… and a lonely time.  When I was 25, I decided to come back to music by learning the bagpipes.

And I am very happy I did.  I started piping with the Las Vegas Pipe Band (then called Desert Skye).  In those first few years I met friends that, sixteen years later, are still with me.  We struggled together to learn something and make it good.  We celebrate, we fight, we argue and we compromise.  Most importantly, we make something special together.

For me it’s one of the most important reasons to be in a band: to do something that matters to someone… you.  There is nothing more satisfying than affecting someone with your music.  Whether they cry from sadness or smile from pride or celebration; you affect people.  You create something positive in the world. And you bond with brothers and sisters for life over your shared commitment to music.  Whether you believe life has meaning or not, there is one thing I know to be true…the most important thing we have is each other. And by your passion and your companions, you create meaning for yourself and the people you touch.