Archive for the ‘Portland Bagpiping Weddings’ Category

Bagpiper Astoria Oregon

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

Let me start off by saying it’s a long time since I’ve been to Astoria. I absolutely adore the quaint little town. It reminds me of the movie “Goonies”, which was filmed there. The town is set on a hill and overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge, just before it empties out into the Pacific Ocean. It is filled with antique shops, cafes and one of my new favorites – Fort George Brewery.

Initially I was contacted by the family of the lovely young couple I was going to bagpipe in Astoria for. This would be my first Astoria Bagpiper gig. But hopefully not my last. The family inquired about availability and cost. I told them I was available and quoted them a competitive rate. After listening to my bagpipe music samples on my website, they were more than ecstatic to have me come perform.

Because the bride and groom were located in Astoria, we weren’t able to meet and select bagpipe wedding tunes in person. Instead, they selected from my website, choosing “Scotland the Brave” for the bridesmaids/groomsmen, “Skye Boat Song” for the the processional and finally, “Sgt. James Barclay” for the processional. All very lovely choices.

elks lodge astoria bagpiper
elks lodge astoria bagpiper
The wedding was to begin at 3PM, so I arrived 30 minutes prior in case of any kinks to work out. However, there were no kinks to work out. It was very straight forward, both were I was to stand and when I would be qued to pipe. I stood near the entry way door for the first song, standing in place. The second tune, I lead the bride and father in front. At the conclusion of the ceremony, I led both the bride and groom out, piping them out from the front. Very traditional and classy.

Both families and all the guests were very complimentary of my piping and I even joined them in several photo shoots afterward. Thanks again to the bride and groom and thank you Astoria for hosting me for the afternoon.

Bagpiper Boring OR

Monday, October 4th, 2010
I feel privileged as an OR Bagpiper because I am afforded the opportunity to pipe all over the beautiful NW. Sometimes, the piping gig is in Portland or Vancouver WA, other times it is at the coast or on Mt. Hood. Bagpiping has brought me in close contact with many scenic locations I would have otherwise not been able to experience.

Last Saturday I got to be a bagpiper in Boring OR for the afternoon. Although I knew about Boring OR and its close proximity to Portland, I don’t think I had ever actually visited. It turns out the beauty of Boring OR is not so ‘Boring’ and neither was the chapel I piped at. The chapel was Bell Tower Chapel, located in the heart of downtown.

The couple who invited me to be a Boring OR bagpiper was a lovely young couple. They had contacted me several months in advance and we went over the details mostly via email, with them selecting tunes from my online bagpipe tunes repertoire.

When I arrived at the Bell Tower Chapel, all the clouds had dissipated and the sun was pouring through. I knew this was a perfect day to have an early fall Wedding. I met Zach and the officiant outside prior to the ceremony to recap the logistics. The wedding started at approximately 2:55PM, with the bagpiper (me) playing Scotland the Brave time about until someone rang the bell, which indicated everyone to rise for the bride. For the brides tune, the wedding party had selected Skye Boat Song, a lovely little slow air. Because the chapel was small and quaint, the walk from the back to the front was just a couple of lengths, which meant I was only able to pipe Skye Boat Song one time through. For the recessional, I piped Mari’s Wedding, a nice melodic slow march as the wedding party, family members and friends exited the chapel and headed to the back.

I piped the tune several times through, timing in my mind when everyone had safely arrived on the other side. After cutting my pipes, I headed around to the back. Sure enough, there were smiles all around and everyone had gathered to begin taking pictures. I politely said thank you to the bride and groom and made my way to my car.

Weddings are so much fun and it’s my personal belief all Weddings need a bagpiper (maybe I am a bit bias).

Columbia Gorge Bag Piper

Friday, August 20th, 2010
July and August are the months of Weddings. That means between bagpipe competitions with the Portland Metro Pipe Band, my solos and Oregon Bagpiper Wedding gigs, it makes for some long weekends. However, I love it.

Last Month, I got to bagpipe in the Columbia River Gorge not once but twice. And coincidentally, both Columbia Gorge bag piper Wedding gigs fell on the weekend, in the same location. The location was Bridal Veil Lakes, set in the heart of the gorgeous Columbia Gorge. And what added to the fun and excitement, was both parties asked me to bring back up. So on Saturday, Ted (drummer) and Craig (Piper) from the Portland Metro Pipe Band joined me in celebrating a Wedding. On Sunday, just Craig came with me for an equally beautiful wedding celebration for some Columbia Gorge bagpiping.

I had an amazing time on both days. Because I had part of my band join me, we mostly focused on bagpiping band tunes, like Green Hills of Tyrol, some swinging 6/8 marches and our competition Medley and March, Strathspey, Reel sets. On Saturday, we stood off to the side of the Wedding party and piped from a distance. On Sunday, Craig and I piped out the Bride and Groom and led from the Wedding Ceremony spot to the where the reception was being held. It was a short and breathtaking walk along the small lake. Alicia Dickerson, a sought after Portland Wedding Photographer provided us with some excellent shots. Thanks Alicia!

Ted, Craig and I would like to thank both Wedding Parties for inviting us to bagpiper Columbia Gorge OR.


Salem Oregon Bagpiper

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Commuting to Tuner Oregon for a bagpipe wedding performance? No problem. People always wonder how far I am willing to travel to bagpipe and I never seem to dissapoint. I was asked the other day if I would be willing to travel to Klamath Falls Oregon for a funeral. If I have time and my schedule permits, the answer is always a resounding “of course I would”.

Yesterday, I performed for a charming little wedding set in the backdrop of Tuner Oregon (just south of Salem on I-5). The wedding was located on a farm overlooking miles and miles of true Oregon pasture. It was a medium sized wedding. In all, there were around 70 – 80 guests. I warmed up with a series of marches and appropriate wedding tunes as guests mingled and drank to keep cool. It was over 100 degrees. Once the ceremony was to begin, I took my position in the back near the entrance of the house. On cue, I stepped forward and played Scotland the Brave for the Bridesmaid, Groomsman and the flower girl/little boy usher. Upon which I transitioned into Mari’s Wedding, a popular and very traditional wedding tune for the bride. After the vows were read and stories shared, I entered stage right and piped the newlywed’s out the same way they entered with Donald McClellan of Rothesay, an euphoric and lively tune as the crowd cheered.

After which, I was invited to join them for dinner and refreshments. They actually got the Philly Cheesesteak restaurant from Portland to cater their wedding. What a great treat. I thought the idea was priceless and the food was excellent. One women agreed it was the only place in Portland whose Philly Cheesesteaks rivaled those of Philadelphia.

Around 8:30PM, I drove back to Portland exhausted from the heat but delighted to have shared in such a memorable wedding. Why don’t more weddings in the Portland surrounding area have a bagpiper, especially since Oregon is so scenic.

SE Portland Bagpiper Strikes a Tune at Oaks Park

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Well in advance, I was asked to play for the most lovely wedding. It took place at Oaks Pioneer Church in SE Portland, just up the street from one of my favorites as a kid, Oaks Park Amusement Park. The church itself is quaint, charming and absolutely breathtaking. Those traits usually fit quite nicely with a bagpiper but unfortunately with this church the ceiling was quite low and the ability to disappear down an aisle or out an exit was non existent. Thus I played from outside the doors.

For the Bridesmaids and Groomsmen, I bagpiped a Portland Wedding favorite, Scotland the Brave. A great tune because it’s highly recognizable and makes everyone think of the Scottish Highlands. After a couple times through and once the guests had been seated, it was the brides turn. She elected to have Skye Boat Song as her personal tune. As I piped her and her father in, I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the whole scenery and the bride looked. I almost would have guessed we were perfectly in sink; myself, the father and the bride. Maybe I was playing to their beat or maybe they were following me. But whatever the case, it was well orchestrated. The Portland Oaks Park Church had come alive.

As the Bride and Groom officially married, headed to the exits, I played a lively upbeat 6/8 march named Duncan McGillvary. After they had filed out, I continued playing until the remaining guests had shuffled out. The smiles on everyone’s face beamed for miles and was probably felt on North Mississippi. Once the new couple had been whisked away in their chariot for the reception, people approached me in droves to offer their encouraging words. My personal favorite is when they compliment my playing. I should add a testimonial page to my Portland Bagpipe website. The Portland Bagpiper photos should be up soon.

Bagpiping in NW Portland

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Sub note: I apologize I haven’t been updating my blog for all those avid readers. The last eight weekends I have been out of town either at a Bagpipe Band competition or a Wedding Performance.

However, I did get to perform at the Armory at NW 11th this past Sunday for a lovely couple getting married. For all those who haven’t experienced the Armory, it is one Portland venue you don’t want to miss. When it’s not rented for private parties, many of the best Broadway shows in Portland can be witnessed here.

As usual, I met with the bride and groom a month before the wedding to select tunes and to go over the ceremony. Because I don’t normally partake it in rehearsals I always enjoy translating what I am told in our meeting to when I arrive and actual see the layout for the first time. This was no different.

I arrived promptly at 5:45PM in order to warm up my pipes and meet with the bagpipe wedding coordinator. The wedding layout, in terms of color scheme, table arrangement, food and drink selection was top notch. I even was fortunate enough to warm up on the actual stage where all the Broadway shows are preformed. The acoustics were out of this world. I wanted to stay and play my Portland bagpipe all night but as of course my first priority is the wedding.

For the processional, I stood at the top of the ledge overlooking the elegantly laid out dinner tables below and the guests on all sides gazing on. I ushered in the Bride and Groom with one of my favorites-Donald McCellan of Rothsey. It is a traditional and heavy 2/4 March, which I conveniently compete with, in my solo competitions. After playing all 4 parts, I stopped my pipes and headed back downstairs to await my next cue while the couple took their places.

After a short ceremony, followed by a lovely kiss, I reassumed the same position, just a couple of stairs down. My next task was to lead them down the stairs to the main room with Miss Ishabel, a very upbeat 6/8 March. While the tune itself I played well, I don’t know how I looked trying to march down a steep set of 20 stairs. I took my time, cautioning myself not to fall. Although it was probably quite comical for the guests to watch me attempt to march down stairs, I still managed to keep the beat in my head.

Once at the bottom, I cut my bagpipes and that was it. They Bride and Groom profusely thanked me, as well as the 200 guests. I really enjoyed playing for them and would perform at the Armory any day of the week.

Mollala OR Bagpipe Wedding

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

On Saturday I found myself in Mollala OR playing my bagpipes for local couple’s marriage. It was held at Arrowhead Golf Club in a beautiful and scenic location. The wedding had both the attention of the many guests they invited but also the passerby golfers going about there Saturdays. This was a wedding which had been planned well in advance. I think we met to select tunes in December. They wanted two 6/8 marches for the march in of the bride and the march out of the couple. There choices were Miss Ishabel in and Lilly Christie out; two of my favorite tunes.

Luckily for everyone involved the weather held up and didn’t begin to trickle until after the guests headed for the reception. For the first 40 minutes I welcomed the arriving guests with my bagpipes. I choose to play mostly traditional marches and slow air’s hoping someone might recognize a tune or two. For whatever reason, we were slightly delayed because many of the guests hadn’t arrived. As the moment approached for the grandiose entrance, the bride came walking up the hill, signaled me to begin and off we went down the hill. After the short ceremony, I pulled my pipes and marched them out the same way they come in.

The strange thing about weddings is how nervous the bride and groom are and how frantically the choreographer runs around tidying up last minute details. I enjoy the spectacle and maybe I have this calming appreciation because of the numerous bagpiper in Portland weddings I have performed for. Each one gets a lot easier.

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

Bridgeport Brewery Wedding

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

Last Saturday I performed at the Bridgeport Brewery in NW for a Portland Bagpipe Wedding. What a splendid evening it was. I opened the set with a set of 6/8 marches while the Bridesmaid and Groomsmen shuffled in. I quickly cut my bagpipes and got into position. When the glowing bride and euphoric father gave me the nod, I struck up my pipes and played “Duncan McGillvary”, a classic 6/8 march. Because the room was rather small, I found myself at the arbor before I was through the second part. Normally, I complete the tune but I forced myself to cut my pipes early. I didn’t want to make everyone wait for me. The spotlight was on the bride and groom.

After the short ceremony, I led them out with a rousing “John Barclay”, a beautiful and light 6/8 march. Again, I found myself only completing half the tune because of the distance.

For the toast, I played the traditional “Scotland the Brave”, in which everyone clinked their glasses and gave a salute to a long and promising marriage. The champagne was a flowing.

To conclude the evening, I played what pipers like to call the Medley, which is a series of Hornpipes, Jigs, Slow Airs, Strathspeys and Reels. After a full stomach of steak and wine, my body was reeling and ready to play.

The evening was light and young. The wedded couple sure picked an excellent place to throw a wedding. Complete with a rustic look, a lavish bar, abstract art and amazing acoustics, it was a bagpipers paradise (well, my paradise at least). I handed my card to the party coordinator. Hopefully, I will back.

Thanks to Bob and Jessica. I wish you two the best.