More than your typical born & bred Seattlite, Bagpiper Don might just be the most creative and ambitious player of Scottish bagpipes in the Pacific Northwest.
From an early age Don was raised being exposed to his Celtic heritage. Exposed to the culture and music, he was particularly drawn to Highland bagpipes. After searching for many years for an instructor, once a teen his parents ultimately found a high school in their district that happened to have its own pipe & drum corps. After petitioning the school district for Don to attend classes on the other side of the city and join their pipe band, the dream began.
Today Don pays tribute to the origins of Celtic music, culture and his instrument through playing traditional style music in service of private observances. Recognizing that music is not static but dynamic he has further stretched himself as an artist composing new music, establishing various bands including his wildly popular experimental Celtic-rock group Nae Regrets, recording an array of different personal albums and applying his talents to recording projects that of other contemporary style bands.
Don aims to act as a preservationist of the Celtic arts while at the same time endeavour to apply the music to modern day. He hopes to lead by example, encouraging the next generation to take up piping and follow their passion and inspiring other pipers to pursue creativity and recording. With recording ideas and performance concepts that resemble nothing short of lightening captured in a bottle, the only way for Bagpiper Don is UP!
Here’s a story from Bagpiper Don…
When I was quite young, my folks took me to a performance of a British military pipe & drum corps on an American tour. After the show, a number of the band members came out into the foyer to meet their audience. Excited, I brok away from my parents and ran up to one of these men, nearly plowing into him. He was decked out in Scottish military regalia and stood the better part of seven feet tall; I believe he was the drum major. I wasn’t much taller than his kneecaps; I looked up at him in awe and could only muster saying “Wow!”
Today, when publicly playing out, little kids run up to me and do the same thing I did all those years ago. Its said that everything comes full circle, and I have to wonder which of these kids will someday start to play pipes or drums, remember ‘that tall piper’ they looked up at from the height of his kneecaps and also say, “Wow!” Its humbling and I’m honored to potentially be part of their inspiration.
Bagpiper Don ~ Highlights
- Professional musician in the Greater Seattle Area and Washington since 1998
- Performs & records with Highland bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes and the Irish bodhrán (drum)
- Co-founded and manager of John Cunningham Memorial Tartan (Alumni?) Pipes & Drums June 2006
- Performed in various local pipe & drum corps
- Traveled to Canada to train briefly through Simon Fraser University’s world famous pipe band
- Participated in parades of 10,000 pipers & drummers in Scotland and New York City raising money for cancer research
- Instructor of Highland bagpipes
- Founder, front-man and manager of Celtic-fusion band Nae Regrets, Winter 2006
- Co-Founder and manager of John Cunningham Memorial Tartan Pipes & Drums