Archive for January, 2008

Hood River Bagpipe Wedding

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

Of all the days Oregon Department of Transportation decides to close the I84 corridor between Portland and Hood River, it just had to be on Saturday, January 26, the day I was scheduled to perform at a Wedding in Hood River Oregon. Although there wasn’t a hint of snow at lower elevations in Portland, it was dumping in the Gorge. I wasn’t aware of this until I received a call from Kim’s sister informing me of the dismal road conditions. They kindly acknowledged the driving difficulty and candidly told me they would understand if I wouldn’t be able to play my bagpipes at the Wedding.

Of all the Portland Bagpiping Gigs I have performed at thus far, never once have I missed a Wedding, Funeral or Party. And this wasn’t going to be my first. So I braced myself for the worst and took the Washington equivalent of I84. It took twice as long as normal but I arrived safe and sound. Although, a wee bit late, the best man hadn’t arrived because he too was driving from Portland. Luckily, I had plenty of time to warm my pipes and play a few tunes for the reception.

Once the Wedding was underway, I played Amazing Grace as the entrance tune for the bridesmaid and groomsmen. When the bride was ready, I escorted her in with Scotland the Brave. It was a short waltz to the front of the alter where everyone was waiting for her. I had literally just started the tune and already I was in front of the crowd facing the audience.

Halfway through the ceremony I was instructed to play Highland Laddie which is a very nostalgic tune for me. Highland Laddie was one of the first tunes I learned on my Portland Bagpipe and favorite amongst mass bands at Highland Games.

Once the Bride and Groom said their “I do’s” and kissed, I marched in from the back with Mari’s Wedding, turned to face the crowd and ushered them out with the same tune.

Afterward, they requested I play something a bit more lively which I quickly obliged. I choose some Jig/Hornpipes, Strasthspey/Reels and my bands Medley compilation of tunes. All in all, I played for another 20 minutes. Once I put my pipes down, my mind focused on how to make it safely home. I kindly thanked everyone and set off my long track home. What should have taken me 2 hours turned into 5 hours. Lots of other commuters shared the same goal as me; final destination, Portland.

Fortunately, I made it in time and kept my present gig record. It takes more than a bit of snow to slow a Scotsman on his way to an Oregon Bagpiping Wedding. Portland Bagpiper playing in front of Hood River WeddingPortland Bagpiper playing at PrecessionPortland Bagpiper playing at PrecessionPortland Bagpiper posing for pictures with the recently married wedding couple

Portland Bagpiping at OHSU Event

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

This was a last minute event which I was called upon to play my bagpipes. The event took place at OHSU (on the Waterfront) last Tuesday and was a OHSU benefit for people with Down Syndrome. There were hordes of people on hand to witness and participate in the special fund raiser. My task centered around the various works of art produced by the children with DS. There were approximately 12 different murals and as each of the artists tore down the construction paper masking their creation, I was there to play and pose for photos. The preference of bagpipe tune selection was a Slow Air. I choose Dark Island, which one of my favorites and is very traditional.

After playing for the unveiling of the 12 pieces of art, my duties concluded for the evening. Overall, it was a great event and I wish I had more information to share regarding the specifics of the event. This is one of the unfortunate parts about bagpiping Portland events; sometimes I am reached on such short notice, I never get the opportunity to research or ask questions.

At any rate, I had great fun and organization did a wonderful job.

Washington Bagpipe Funeral in Longview

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Rich, the director of a funeral home in Longview Washington contacted me through the Portland Bagpiper website and inquired about my availability and whether I was willing to drive to Longview form my Portland home. I am always eager to spend a weekend outside Portland or even just a few hours, performing for an audience who is likely to not have heard me play my bagpipes. So I greatfully accepted. I enjoyed the drive (although getting lost slightly) to arrive plenty of time before performing.

I am getting really good at funerals. Open with Amazing Grace, then as guests are filing out I play traditional marches. This Longview Washington funeral gig was no different. But instead of filing out, the patrons just sat there intently listening. I would like to guess my playing was so moving and mesmerizing, it kept them transfixed in their seats longer than expected. Or maybe it was because the Father was about to make another announcement. At any rate, judging from the praise I received upon leaving, I would like to assume the former was more accurate.

Portland Bagpipe Funeral at Willamette National Cemetery

Monday, January 21st, 2008

I am getting somewhat accustomed to the layout at Willamette National Cemetery. For first times, it get can be a daunting task finding a small grave plot amongst thousands. Fortunately, it was my third or fourth performance in the last few months navigating the the twists and turns is becoming increasingly familiar.

The women who hired me was referred to me by the organizer of Marys Woods in Lake Oswego. The congregation and staff at Mari’s Woods enjoyed my playing enough for a future recommendation. I really appreciate referrals, it tells me my bagpiping in Portland is becoming more and more appreciated.

As is customary at most funerals, I opened with Amazing Grace, playing it through three times. Upon completion, the pastor made directed everyone where to meet for refreshments. As guests stood to leave, I played Green Hills of Tyrol and When the Battles O’er. two very traditional war marches.

As I walked to my car, I started thinking about my wool quilt and whether it was adequate protection against the forces of nature. My response, yes, as long as the wind factor is minimal.

Oregon Bagpiper Spotted in SW Portland

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Oregon Bagpipes player was at it again for a birthday party last Saturday. After a grueling three hour practice with the Portland Metro Pipe Band (the band I currently compete with), I ran home to change into my attire. I choose the McDonald tartan with the black dress shirt; an excellent choice for a night Birthday.

I arrived punctual and met Susan outside. It was a surprise birthday performance for her husband. Because bagpipes as you might know are rather loud, I opted for warming them up far far away from the house and away from any suspecting ears. Because it was cold outside and my pipes were previously warmed up from band practice, it was a quick tune.

Marching up the back entrance playing Scotland the Brave, I was met with 10 sets of curious eyes. Apparently, only Susan knew of my pending arrival. After finishing the tune, I was invited inside to perform. I choose a spot on the balcony where I thought the acoustics would best be felt. I opened with a March, Strasthphey, Reel set (a very traditional combination of tunes). Followed by the Medley, which is a compilation of nine short tunes, I stopped my pipes and braced myself for the final hooray. As is customary at Birthday parties, “Happy Birthday” on the bagpipes is always a must. I think most people never envisioned this could be pulled off. Surprisingly, it sounds very pleasant.

Look for Happy Birthday to be played in a Portland Bagpipe community near you.

Vancounver Washington Bagpiper

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Yesterday, I played at a funeral in Vancouver Washington. It was a cozy catholic school/church combination. I didn’t perform until the very end. After idling for 45 minutes in the back awaiting my que, I stepped forward from the back of the church and marched down the aisle playing Scotland the Brave. After arriving at the front state, I turned to the audience, acknowledged the crowd and continued playing until I finished the song. Without stopping my pipes, I quickly transitioned into Amazing Grace, which I played three times through (side note: because Amazing Grace is a 3 part tune, I always recommend playing it through three times).

Once finished, I cut my Portland bagpipes for a quick second, struck them back in and led the masses out with Green Hills of Tyrol/When the Battles O’er. Outside, I continued playing until all the guests had shuffled out.

It is sometimes especially hard playing for funerals because bagpipes is an instrument which provokes strong emotions (both joyous and somber). Normally, it is the Amazing Grace which causes people to tear up. I always receive this comment after playing.

Other Vancouver WA Bagpiper Gigs:
Bagpiper Vancouver WA
Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral with 2 Bagpipers
Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral