Locals to shine in Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Don MacLean, Ian Thorn and Chris and Janet Bouwmeester are piping hot for their Etihad Stadium performances. Picture: Joe Mastroianni

You don’t have to be Scottish to appreciate the drama and regal ceremony of the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this weekend.

And, increasingly, you don’t even have to claim ancestry to become a member of the many Scottish bands dotted around Victoria.

Sunbury’s Chris Bouwmeester, whose family is of Dutch extraction, is president of the 60-member Melbourne Highland Pipe Band. He’s one of four Sunbury musicians who will be in the Melbourne band when it takes part in the tattoo at Etihad Stadium. Ian Thorn and Don MacLean are pipers, while Janet Bouwmeester plays the tenor drum and her husband plays the snare drum.

It’s just the fourth time the tattoo has been held outside the UK.

Chris said the Melbourne band was welcoming more and more members whose families hail from places such as Vietnam.

‘‘As Melbourne has changed, so has the band,’’ he said.

The band, which has members ranging in age from nine to 74, is one of two Australian groups invited to be part of the Scottish extravaganza at Etihad Stadium.

Chris Bouwmeester, who also played when the tattoo visited Sydney six years ago, says it’s a great honour.

‘‘There’s nothing like it – it’s a very special thing to be a part of,’’ he said.