Often times, I am asked how I got my start bagpiping and why I selected such an unusual instrument to play. I agree, the Highland Bagpipe is a very unique and unfortunately, often forgot about instrument. I got my first taste of the Highland Bagpipe at the annual Portland Highland Games at Mt. Hood C.C. (3rd Saturday of July). My mother was studying Gaelic at the time and invited me to accompany her to the largest annual Scottish event held in the Portland area. Once there, I couldn't take my eyes off the surrounding bands and sulo players. I hadn't even touched the instrument and already I was hooked. The following fall I began taking lessons.
To give the reader an idea of past accomplishments, my current contributions and future aspirations, I have highlighted my Bagpiping life in brevity below.
- I began playing in 7th Grade, at age of 13 under the direction of the local and prominent piping instructor Jeff Brewer
- After 12 months on the chanter (plastic practice piece that resembles a recorder), my new Bagpipe from Scotland arrived
- In 1997, I joined the current Sir James Memorial Pipe Band (formerly known as Oregon Pipers Society Junior Pipe Band) in 9th Grade. The junior band was comprised of kids 18 years and younger
- We were primarily a competition band and we competed everywhere on the west coast: San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver Canada.
- In my latter High School years (10th & 11th Grade), we started winning the majority of band competitions we entered Solos also began taking off at this time. I enjoyed much success winning competitions and moving up in the solo competition grades
- My first trip to Scotland took place in 12th Grade, in which my band competed in the Grade 4 World Championships. We took 11th place out of 42 bands
- I Moved to San Francisco for college at USF and joined the Prince Charles Pipe Band
- Due to the strenuous work load of college, I was forced to set aside my solo playing and focus mostly on band performances
- We won the 2003 World Pipe Band Championships Grade 3 in Scotland. We placed first out of 33 bands! Probably, my single favorite moment of my life
- Traveled and instructed the Portland junior band in the 2005 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland
- I instruct the junior band I once played in during High School-the Sir James McDonald Pipe Band (formerly known as Oregon Pipers Society Junior Pipe Band)
- I also play competitively in another pipe band, the Portland Metro Pipe Band
- Summer Plans: Will be instructing and competing all summer long at the local Portland Highland Games and various other west coast locations, including a possible trip to Alaska
- Between actively participating in two bands here in the Portland area, I don't see myself leaving this beautiful place any time soon
- With the current band I play in, I am endeavoring to return to Scotland to compete in another World Championship and maybe notch another title (the Scottish get really angry when American bands win)
- Above all, I want to share my affinity for Bagpiping with anyone who is willing to listen.
This is a recording of our first ever Portland Metro Pipe Band performance from March, 2007. I will update this version of the medley with another video shortly.
Porltand Metro Pipe Band
Sir James McDonald Pipe Band