Nathan T. Brown, Sr. - My
Own Scottish Journey
suggested that I send him a mini-bio to explain my involvment with Br. 28
Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band. First a short backgrounder. Currently I am
International Truck and Engine Corp., in Chatham as a production
supervisor. My family has a "history" there: my father worked there for 29
years, my brother and his wife work there, and so does a cousin.
I am married to Christine Reaume-Brown, and have 5 children: Aly (15),
Felicia (12), Dylan (10), Nathan Jr. (8) and Christopher (6). When I am not
working, I am the commanding officer of 162
Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps "Wallaceburg", in Wallceburg ON. I have
been in the Canadian Forces Reserves as a Cadet Instructor Cadre officer for
almost 22 years, with the rank of Lieutenant (Navy). I also umpire baseball
during the summer, like to golf and of course, there is the band.
My real first taste of things Scottish and the band occurred while I was an
Army Cadet here in Chatham. The local militia unit, the
Essex and Kent Scottish, was our affiliated unit, so that had some
affect. But it was when I was Regimental Sargeant Major that I had the
chance to wear a kilt for the first time. And I loved it. And for our
Annual Inspection, the Br. 28 Pipe Band always played for us. I was hooked
pretty much right away.
When I was in my early 20s, I tried my hand at learning the pipes with the
band. I was actually coming along quite good, before life took one of it's
many turns in the road, and I found myself in Kitchener/Waterloo. The Army
Cadet corps I worked with in Kitchener was too attached to a Highland
militia unit (Highland
Fusiliers of Canada). This is where my Scottish education really began.
Besides just wearing a highland uniform, the HF of C would hold a St.
Andrews dinner every year. Lots of Scottish fare, including of course,
Haggis (love the stuff!). I also started attending Highland games during
the summer, and dove in head first in the culture.
When I moved back to Chatham, I decided I would try my hand again with the
band. But this time as a swing tenor drummer. I joined the band in March
of 1995. I have played swing tenor, bass and have recently retired as Drum
Major after 5 years. I am back in the ranks, playing rhythm tenor, and
trying, albeit very slowly, to learn snare. I also look after the band's
My family has always backed and supported my Scottish hobby, and some of my
kids have really taken to it. Aly wants to play the snare drum. Dylan in
the past has suited up at various events and marched as a Drum Major with
the band. My youngest Christopher loves to put his kilt on, and play his
drum. He seems to have a knack for it. Our lead stick in the band says he
is a natural. We'll have to work on it. And even my wife spent a couple of
years in the band playing swing tenor.
So I continue on my journey, learning all I can about Scotland and it's
history and heritage. I can even have Irn Bru on a regular basis since a
couple of the grocery stores stock it. My dream is, of course, to some day
visit Scotland and take in things first hand. Just throw my kilt on and
take it all in. Of course, being black, I get certain looks when I am in my
gear, but I still love it. One thing though: I am not forsaking my Black
heritage to be a "wanna-be Scot". I know where I came from. My children
know where they came from. But the Scottish influence that has been in our
lives through the military and the band is too strong to ignore.
Christopher at 2006 New Year's Levee
Being a good husband and carrying my
wife's drum after Tartan Day Parade in New York City 2002
Dylan (left), Russel Lambe (centre)
and Christopher (right) Comber Fair 2004
Myself and Felicia at the CN Tower
2003 (she is much taller now!)
Myself and Aly at 2004 Annual
(She is now an Army Cadet, like the old man was!)