Archive for March, 2008

Bagpiper in Camas WA

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Shortly after a 1st Place victory at the BC Indoor Band competition, I was asked to play for a Birthday party in Camas Washington. If you wish to see the video, you can find it on my Portland Bagpipe home page. I arrived at 5:45 prompt to change out of my street clothes and into my full bagpipe Portland dress. I chose the McDonald tartan with black shirt and black hose. I like the all black look and many of my guests agree.

I played many traditional marches, including Scotland the Brave, Green Hills, When the Battles O’er, Bonnie Dundee and others. As is customary at all Birthdays, I also offered the “Happy Birthday” rendition on the bapipges. It was fun because all the guests were so inquisitive, asking everything from “what do you wear under the kilt” to “how did you start playing”, finishing with an explanation of how this enigmatic instrument works.

They promised me we would all reconvene at the Portland Highland Games in July at Mt. Hood Community College. Hope to see you guys there and Happy Birthday again Phil.

St. Patricks Day Piper

Monday, March 24th, 2008

A Portland lumber company hired me and a fellow drummer in my pipe band, Ted McNight to play at their St. Patty’s Day celebration. They roped off an entire block in downtown Portland for food, beer, bagpipes and festivities. It was quite an occasion. We were obligated to play for an hour but we ended up playing for 2.5 hours (partly because we couldn’t get away from the food, beer and company).

I think we offered the guests quite an enjoyable performance. We mixed it up with Hornpipes, Jigs, Strathspeys, Reels, Marches and Slow Aires. The tune we didn’t play was a Piobrauch. That might lulled everyone into a deep sleep. Our goal was to keep it lively. Normally, I play Portland bagpipe gigs as a soloist, so I always welcome the company of another bagpiper or drummer. And as always, my bagpipe band buddies are looking to take the day off work on St. Patty’s Day. I mean shouldn’t we all.

Oregon Bagpipe Funeral in Gaston, OR

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

It’s St. Patty’s Day Weekend; every bagpipers favorite weekend. It is the one time of year when you walk around the town in a kilt and not have to explain why you’re dressed up in a kilt (or as most people refer to it-dress). After a grueling midnight performance the night before with my buddy Travis and then a 630AM wake up call to participate in the St. Patty’s Day downtown Portland race, I raced to Gaston Oregon to perform my Portland bagpipes for a decorated veteran’s funeral.

It was quite a drive getting there and for the fact I slept little the night before, I was operating on little energy. Luckily, the gig went very smooth. I arrived early and played on a beautiful acreage of land. I played my bagpipe interminably for the first 45 minutes, oscillating between traditional 3/4 marches and more contemporary 6/8 marches. The main reason for the invite was to play “Taps” after the 21 gun salute. I had never played Taps on my bagpipes but I easily learned the tune the week before and believe it sounded authentic. Not always do tunes translate well to the bagpipes. After 15 seconds or so of Taps, I launched into Amazing Grace. My pipes sounded excellent. This probably stems from all the bagpipe playing from the morning and the day before.

In total I was in Gaston for a little over an hour. I believe the guests really appreciated my playing. I received many heartfelt comments.

House Pub Crawl Led by Oregon Bagpiper

Sunday, March 16th, 2008

I participated in a gig last week which was a fund raiser for a local Portland school. Essentially, a group of families offered to host a makeshift house pub crawl to raise money for their children’s elementary school. I met up with the group at house #1 shortly after the party kicked off. The 20 odd amount of school supporters where enjoying Whiskey, Guinness and other popular Irish drinks. I piped a couple of Jigs and Hornpipes (some lively fast tunes) which are always appropriate for Parties.

After last call was announced, it was my duty to lead them to the next destination which was a short down hill walk. I played some traditional marches which seemed to arouse the crowd, tunes like Scotland the Brave. Once they safely arrived, my duty as the Portland Bagpiping liaison concluded for the evening.

After packing up my pipes, I went downstairs and enjoyed a few pints and some Irish food. It was a fun evening.

Portland Bagpipe Player Strikes Again in NW Portland

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Sunday last week around 12 in the afternoon, I received a call inquiring about my availability to perform at Touche restaurant in downtown NW Portland. It was short notice and they wanted a Portland Bagpipe player there at 4PM. Remembrances and funerals such as this event usually occur unexpectedly and without much time for preparation, so I always try to accommodate short notice requests. Rarely do I turn people away.

This was one of the simpler performances I have performed my bagpipes at. I was requested to take my position at the back of the banquet hall, play Amazing Grace three times through and then march out on Scotland the Brave. I spent more time tuning my pipes then playing. I am always eager to share my musical talents with anyone wishes to listen but I understand when the request is for just a couple of minutes.

Funny story about this gig. My Portland Metro Bagpipe Band had a practice on Saturday, the day before this gig. After an exhausting performance, we all headed over to Concordia Ale House to grab dinner and a pint. Some of our pipe cases look the same, so when you through them in a pile you might end up grabbing someone else’s when you leave. This is exactly what happened. I arrived at the gig on Sunday, opened my pipe case and to my chagrin I found a foreign set of pipes. My buddy Pat Case in the band grabbed mine when he left by accident. Lucky for me he is a great player and his bagpipes were well set. Still, playing someone’s pipes is like wearing someone else’s underwear-you only do it when absolutely necessary.

Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral with 2 Bagpipers

Wednesday, March 5th, 2008

First and foremost, I apologize for not blogging this Vancouver WA bagpiper gig earlier (actually I did write it but somehow was erased). I was contacted by my close bagpipe friend who now resides in Tacoma Washington to play for a friend of a friend’s grandpa’s funeral. A decorated war veteran, the person whom I never met seemed to be a very well-respected man. Naturally, I felt quite honored to play my bagpipes at his Vancouver WA funeral.

Because the gig was somehow double booked I got to play with a colleague of mine Rob Barrick, who I refer people to when I cannot play for their performance. He is an excellent Portland Bagpipe player and a celebrated musician. He performs with his Irish Band here in Portland (cannot remember the name). You might have hear him play.

Arriving promptly at 11AM, I noticed we were dressed in starkly different kilts and attire. I was sporting a McDonald tartan and him, a Buchanan I believe. A bit of maroon and a lot of green. But what mattered most was we both played our bagpipes well and in unison. Amazing Grace was played at the recession. But in between I got to dust off the old Skye Boat Song, which I hadn’t played in quite some time. Even the alternate endings on this tune didn’t seem to through us. We also warmed up with some common mass band tunes as guests arrived to show their support for their fallen comrade.

The performance went a bit longer than the hour I am contracted to play but it was well worth it judging from all the compliments we received. I even had to promise a sweet old lady I would play at her funeral.

Other Vancouver WA Bagpiper Gigs:
Bagpipes Vancouver WA
Bagpiper Vancouver WA
Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral
Vancounver Washington Bagpiper