Oregon Bagpiper Spotted in SW Portland

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

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

Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral

December 9th, 2007

After the early Portland bagpipe funeral performance, I headed to Vancouver Washington for another bagpipe funeral performance at the Evergreen Memorial Gardens Funeral Chapel. It was a very emotional ceremony, with crowds billowing out the doors. I don’t think the family anticipated so many guests.

My had two appearances. The first time I marched down the aisles of the chapel midway through the service. I marched in with Scotland the Brave, played in place until I finished my pipes and then went straight into Amazing Grace. After three times through, I cut my pipes.

After a slide show to close the service, I played some traditional tunes as people shuffled to the door. The tunes included Green Hills of Tyrol, When the Battle’s Over, Scotland the Brave and Mari’s Wedding.

The administrators of the Evergreen Memorial Gardens Funeral Chapel did an excellent job hosting the family and making the proper arrangements to get everything in place.

Other Vancouver WA Bagpiper Gigs:
Bagpipes Vancouver WA
Vancouver WA Bagpipe Funeral with 2 Bagpipers
Bagpiper Vancouver WA
Vancounver Washington Bagpiper

NW Portland Bagpipe Funeral

December 9th, 2007

On Saturday, December 1st I warmed the cold wintery afternoon with my Portland bagpipes at St. Thomas Moore in NW Portland. It was the first time I had been inside the church. It is a quaint church with lots of rustic wood panels.

Normally at some point I march in the procession or march out the family. In this instance, I provided background music from the entry hall. After the priest gave his opening blessing, I played Amazing Grace as the family marched down the aisles, quiting as they found their seats.

After idling for a while, I played Scotland the Brave as the masses filed out. Scotland the Brave was played about 6 times over before everyone had filed out. Many people were throwing appreciative glances as they left the church. I wish I could have them thanked them verbally but that would have required me to cut my pipes.

Vancouver Church Funeral

November 11th, 2007

Last Thursday afternoon, I played my Oregon Highland bagpipes at a church in Vancouver. I arrived early to tune my pipes and meet with the coordinator. I would open up with a series of traditional marches and slow airs. Because of my extensive list and my experience performing at funerals I had every selection ready in head.

After tuning, I stepped out on the stage and within minutes of tuning, the entire church was filled with friends and family members. My pipes were a little cold from the weather but quickly warmed up within 10 minutes of performing.

My finale came a short time later once the fine men in uniform approached the stage and began the flag folding ceremony. It was emotional. As I stood there playing “Amazing Grace” time about, I was thinking about all the fallen soldiers and how blessed I am to live in a fine patriotic country where the men and women of the three branches protect us day in and day out.

Thank you Daniel for inviting me to perform for your fathers memorial.

Bridgeport Brewery Wedding

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.


Wacky Portland Bagpipes Blog

July 31st, 2007

Welcome to my first ever blog. I thought it would be appropriate to start informing my friends, colleagues and perspective clients what’s going on in my Portland Bagpiping world. I probably imagine most of the comments might be geared towards assisting anyone planning a party, wedding, funeral or other engagement. Some other comments might address various competitions or performances by the Portland Metro Pipe Band (the band I currently play in) or the Sir James McDonald Pipe Band (the band I currently instruct). Lastly, I will try to chat about what’s happening with the Oregon Bagpipe community or more directly, bagpiping in Portland.

I look forward to regularly posting with pictures and content. Please feel free to comment.

Thanks again to those who read and gain from the blog.


Me in my Portland Bagpipe Attire