St. Patrick's weekend is always a busy time for any piper worth his/her salt. Over the years I've played more locations than I want to think about, but one thing I feel needs to be resaid is etiquette when around those in kilts. Kilts are an important part of our culture and an expectation as a performer!
Seems simple but it's called a kilt, not a skirt. Enough said haha
You can play a lot of fun tunes on pipes, and Synyrd is not on the list. AC/DC is though
There are many reasons you shouldn't ask but most importantly it's inappropriate. You also might get an answer you weren't prepared for,
Seriously don't, again its not just inappropriate its also called sexual assault. I know that's very blunt but no man could do that to a women, so why is it ok for everyone to do that to us? Also I'm married
We love sharing our culture and explaining the history of it and how it started in our lives. With it being such a unique instrument you'd be surprised all the history on how it has affected people in times of joy, sorrow, anger, grief, and surprise!
I can't speak for everyone but I do my best not to eat before playing and during gigs as it causes more maintenance afterwards. I also just drink water for the same reason, so please don't be offended if we don't partake of your tasty treats. Believe me it's not personal, it just creates a lot for work for us to keep the instrument in top playing condition. I do accept haggis to-go :)
We wouldn't be out playing if no one enjoyed it, so keep on enjoying it! Ask for tunes and see if you can stump a piper with some old ballad. I always enjoy playing more, when the people are enjoying it
Piping full time came about after I was married and my wife encouraged me to live the musicians dream and play full time. Not an easy nor financially stable position but a fulfilling one in deed! Now it has been 8 years, hundreds of events, and thousands of tunes played with some accolades here and there.
Thank you for trusting me to be your piper for marriages, birthdays, surprise engagements, retirement parties, and of course funerals. It's been an honor to perform for so many veterans honoring their sacrifice of service to our country with a few tunes. I hope to be of service to you and hope you will continue to trust me with your most special of events!
I joined St. Andrew's Pipe Band of Tampa Bay in 2004 as a snare drummer. This band has always had a special place in my heart as I imagine all do for the band they "cut their teeth" with. After being a member for several years, I left due to some creative differences. Fast forward and now in 2018, I have rejoined St. Andrew's as a bagpiper! There is something special about piping with a band and there isn't another band in the area I would join that is strictly a show band.
So what is a show band? its a band that does not compete and strictly does parades, events, kirkings, etc. Basically any event other than a competition, they doe exhibits at highland games, and the perk to this kind of band to me is the less stress of the situation. Every member goes and does their best, and they only compete against themselves and how they played previously. I left the competition circuit a while ago and doubt I will return but who knows. I look forward to learning some new tunes, gleaming some knowledge from pipers with decades of experience, and jus being apart of a band again.
For those out there looking to play but not compete come on out and give a try. Snowbirds or yearlong residents, there is always a welcome play for you! Visit the band's website and be sure to check the calendar for practice dates (they actually update the calendar)! For those who remember how St. Andrew's use to sound, they have grown tremendously and I wouldn't waste my time if I didn't see the great progress this group has made and is working on making. Some fun and challenging tunes and of course the old classics!
Important moments in history are often memorialized in bagpipe tunes, sometime a jaunty march and to often an emotional dirge for someone lost. As a bagpiper, if can help to understand how to play pipe tunes by knowing the history behind it. Bagpipe music is very subjective on how it is stylized, which makes it very enjoyable as a musician.
The Armistice of 1918 is an important part of world history and as such a WWI piper commemorated that time in a tune. G.S. McLennan, who is considered one of the top pipers period, served in the Great War with the Gordon Highlanders. He served gassing, and seeing things no one should be forced to. He wrote his famous 2/4 march shortly after the signing but debuted it in 1922 in Aberdeen, Scotland. I have quickly learned to love this tune and his style of writing music. I have learned this tune specifically of the time we are in.
I hope you go out and research tunes you enjoy and find some new information out about it. Don't take the title for granted as many tunes have alternate titles that shine a new light on its past. Sometime tunes where written for a competition, to memorialize a person or time and more than once it came out of a few too many drams of single malt. Knowing your history is important and if you'd like to learn more about G.S., visit this website his decedents created to honor him and teach others http://gsmclennan.co.uk/