It’s National Tartan Day: Do you wear traditional Scottish clothing when you perform?
I do in fact wear traditional Scottish clothes when I perform. I take great pride in my choice of attire. I typically wear a glengarry (hat) with a hackle in it (my particular hackle or feather is from WWI), kilt jacket (a little shorter than your average suit jacket), kilt (I wear the Cameron tartan that is issued with the competitive pipe band based out of San Diego that I compete in), wool hose (long socks), ghillie brogues (tongueless wingtips with long laces), shirt and tie.
What is tartan and what does it mean to a Scottish Family/Clan?
Tartan is a set of colors in rectangular patterns similar to “plaid” but associated with a specific clan or family. This pattern can be in different hues and colors to be used at galas, rambling through the countryside, or at a family gathering. A brighter version of the tartan might be used at a gala, the regular variation would be used at a family gathering, and the muted would be used walking through the countryside. There are many many tartans now officially registered with the Scottish tartan association: even Pendleton has an official tartan!
What types of celebrations do you play!
I play funerals, weddings, and parties. I’ve played from Bar Mitzvah’s to military retirements and everything in-between. I recently played the Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s funeral at the capital. The first state funeral at the capital since Tom McCall’s service in 1983. I’ve played many funerals for members of our armed services: in fact 100s . And many many retirements including the highest ranking non-commissioned officer of the Marines. I enjoy playing these high-profiles events but I also really enjoy playing a birthday party for somebody who just loves the bagpipes. I’m lucky that I get to be an honored guest and participant for so many families through-out the Pacific Northwest.
Why are the bagpipes played at funerals?
I believe bagpipes became popular at funerals for 3 reasons.
Scottish roots run deep. So many ancestors of Scots live through-out the US and love to carry on the traditions of their forefathers. Wearing the Scottish garb, eating Haggis, and listening to the skirl of bagpipes transports so many millions of people in the states to that windswept bonny land of Scotland.
Many US regiments in WWII were paired with Scottish and Canadian regiments who had bagpipe bands. I’ve talked to many ex-service members who said that was where they learned to love the bagpipes.
And bagpiping at so many high profile funerals, from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan, We’ve seen bagpipes portrayed as the instrument to help us process our grief and ultimately focus our love and faith.
How can someone get a hold of you?
Anyone can book me through my website:
Or call me: 503.960.5599
My favorite tune to play at a service is Flowers of the Forest. The tune was written in 1513 to commemorate the defeat of the Scottish army of James IV at the Battle of Flodden.