Celtic Tradition & The Do-Over

“The whole name of Backspace is literally the keyboard key—the delete button. Being able to take chances and rethink… Having the opportunity to go back and try again… that there’s no failure in that—there’s always that key that lets you go backwards.”

Such was the thought process behind the naming of Backspace, an artist-run gallery space on the 600 block of Main Street in Peoria. Appropriately enough, Backspace is located in a part of town that’s been reinventing itself of late—a neighborhood that was in need of a do-over. From the community garden that popped up last summer to the bustling artistic activities at Studios on Sheridan and its adjoining retail outlets, that’s exactly what’s been happening near the corner of Main and Sheridan.

The idea of going back and trying again reminds me of the mulligan—the do-over shot in golf, with which I am eminently familiar! Speaking of golf… it will soon be time to hit the “links”—that’s an old Scottish term for “sandy wasteland, usually near the sea, with bristly grasses and ever prevailing wind.” The game of golf itself can be traced to 15th-century Scotland, and Scottish tradition still abounds, as I discovered several years ago on a visit to Pebble Beach, where I watched a bagpiper close the course at The Links at Spanish Bay at sunset. That’s a popular tradition well worth experiencing!

March 17th is St. Patrick’s Day, and all of Peoria will be going green for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of our most popular traditions. Lesser known is National Tartan Day (April 6th), a celebration of Scottish heritage that’s of relatively recent origin, having first been celebrated in the U.S. in 1997. You can be sure they’ll be marking the occasion over in Monmouth, where the droning of bagpipes has been a fixture for more than six decades, courtesy of its award-winning Monmouth College Pipe Band.

Closer to home, the Peoria area’s premier pipe band marks its 50th anniversary this year. Besides performing all over the Midwest, Celtic Cross Pipes and Drums also offers tuition-free drumming and bagpiping lessons. If you’ve ever wanted to try out that unique instrument for yourself, just stop by one of their Thursday night practices at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, where they offer lessons from 5:30 to 6:30pm.

And remember: if you don’t immediately get the hang of it, you can always go back and try again! a&s

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