USA Today College…in Scotland

By Dean’s Intern Shannon Scovel at USA Today

Watching The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes run through a rehearsal in the Edinburgh Castle before the opening Tattoo performance

After over a dozen weeks as an intern for USA Today, my portfolio includes a range of articles, covering everything from the Humane Society adoption programs to college financial aid for prisoners. However, my most recent story pushed me beyond my comfort zone into the unexpected world of bagpipes and haggis.

Hanging out with Mary Novak (’17), a member of The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes, before one of the rehearsals

When I first learned that The Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes would be performing at the prestigious 2015 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo festival in August as the sole representative of the United States, I latched on to the story as a potential article series for USA Today College. After a few emails back and forth with my editors, I boarded a plane to Edinburgh, Scotland to cover the Tattoo performance festival and prepared myself to experience journalism in a completely new way.

The architecture of the Scottish buildings set against the backdrop of the mountains left me breathless, but the opening night of the Tattoo festival made me even more amazed. Thousands from around the world came together under the lights of the Edinburgh Castle, and I watched in awe as the musicians and the marchers moved across the esplanade with grace.

Over seventy members of the Citadel Regimental Band and Pipes performed alongside the other bands in the opening and closing segments, but they also took to the esplanade alone for a seven minute segment to highlight American culture. The band played a collection of songs, including “Rocky Top” and “Hound Dog” and engaged with the crowd during each number. The city of Edinburgh hosts the festival every year, and the Citadel previously attended in 1991 and 2010.

As a reporter, I’ve had the opportunity to interview the individual cadets, and I have also talked to alumni and other musicians from countries such as Australia who are also here to play on the world stage

“East meets West” stands as the theme of this year’s Tattoo, and the performances portrayed a phenomenal representation of American art. Although I may be just an intern, I’ve learned much more than basic journalism skills over these last three months, and I’m looking forward to applying my experiences in the classroom as I prepare to tackle my junior year at AU this fall.