I've been a musician for over 50 years, starting on violin, then progressing to french horn, oboe, bass guitar, sitar, banjo and finally in 1989, the Highland Bagpipes. I love the pipes!!! I am currently a Grade 1 piper with both the Eastern and Western Pipe band associations and a member of the PA Piobaireachd Society and the World Piobaireachd Society , although I no longer actively compete. I have performed all over the US and Canada, and in the past few years I have had the privilege of playing for the 40th anniversary of Valley Forge National Park, the 400th anniversary of the Popham Colony, and the Bicentennial Wagon Train Reunion & Convention. In 2017 I was selected to be the first ever bagpiper to perform at the US Naval Museum in Washington, DC. I have played at the College of Piping on Prince Edward Island, on board the USS Constitution in Boston, opened for the International War Brides Convention, over 200 weddings and funerals, and just about any occasion that needs a bagpiper. I also perform and lecture on early american banjo music from the mid-19th century on instruments that I build myself. Another journey that is just so much fun. I continue to teach bagpipes and banjo and although I retired last year, I still enjoy watching people discover the bagpipes.
In the past decade I have been specializing in the performance of Ceol Mor meaning the "great music", to distinguish this complex extended art-music from the more popular Scottish music such as dances, reels, marches and strathspeys. The Piobaireachd, pronounced "Pea Brock" is the classic music of the pipes. When the Highlands and Islands of Scotland adopted the bagpipe, perhaps some six hundred years ago, they began to develop the instrument and its music to suit their needs and tastes.
What emerged was the instrument we know today as the Great Highland Bagpipe, and a form of music, piobaireachd, which is unique to the instrument. It is a very stylized form of music. There is freedom in the theme or “ground” of the piobaireachd to express joy, sadness, or sometimes in the “gathering” tunes , a peremptory warning or call to arms. Nothing resembling piobaireachd has been discovered in any other country in the world. Also the Great Highland Bagpipe is the only instrument which can reproduce piobaireachd satisfactorily to the ear of the devotee.