A very decorated war hero passed away in May and I was contacted by Mark, a specialist for the US armed services to bagpipe in Salem OR for the war veteran. This wasn’t the first time someone contacted me for a Salem OR bagpiper. I have piped there on several occasions throughout the years, for parties, weddings and funerals.
The service was to be held at Court Street Christian Church 1699 Court Street Northeast Salem, OR 97301 in the mid afternoon. The bagpiper Salem OR funeral service was to follow the graveside burial at Willamette National Cemetery on Friday the day before. Fortunately, because I schedule my work around when people need me for oregon bagpipe gigs, I am flexible to make even short term requests. I did have full availability to bagpipe at Willamette National Cemetery and I am very familiar with the layout, the structure, time scheduling and when the most opportune times to pipe during the ceremony are.
At Willamette National Cemetery, I bagpiped Scotland the Brave as the honor guard escorted the casket into the shelter. After the 21 gun salute, taps and the folding of the flag, I was instructed to pipe the final segment of the program which called for Amazing Grace. It was a short and very professional ceremony. The directors and honor guard at Willamette National Cemetery do a wonderful job coordinated burials.
The next day, I drove from Portland to Salem OR bagpipe at the Church service. The Court Street Christian Church is a beautiful church with high ceilings, lovely acoustics and lots of room to accommodate large groups of people. Fortunately for the Church, there was enough (just barely) to seat all the family members and friends. The service lasted approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Mark asked that I bagpipe at the very end of the ceremony, after taps and the folding of the flag. I struck up my bagpipes and played a lovely version of Amazing Grace and repeated it three times through to get the full effect. I positioned myself in the foyer, a bit of ways from everyone, which gave a mysterious impression of background bagpipe music.
As guests of the family shuffled out the door, showering me with compliments and gratitude, one women in particular said something very memorable to me. She said, “I couldn’t tell if there was a real bagpiper playing or a CD”. Wow.