Bagpipes by Patrick - A Milwaukee based Highland Bagpiper performing for weddings, funerals and many other events in and around the Milwaukee Wisconsin area. Looking for bagpiper(s) Call 414-745-4742

PERFORMANCES There are many kinds of events which the Highland Bagpipes are suited. This site concerns itself mainly with the two most common requests - Weddings and Funerals or Memorial services. Other events I have performed at are various types of parties, marriage proposals, picnics, St. Patrick's Day celebrations, promo engagements and sailboat christenings. The limit lies within the planner's creativity. So feel free to contact me with your ideas. WEDDINGS For weddings, the most common practice is to pipe the newly wedded couple, after they are announced, down the aisle and out the church. Generally, I am in front of the couple as I proceed, usually a dozen or so feet ahead. I have on occasion followed the party out after remaining at the front of the church while the couple walk out. This I believe is less effective than being out in front - leading. Which can make for some dramatic photos. Pipes can also be heard for a short time prior to the service or post service. These periods should remain short in order to keep the sound special, especially if the pipes are to be used to lead the couple (in or out or both). Exhuberant, bright marches are used for leading the couple while stationary performances prior to or post services include marches as well as jigs, reels and strathspeys. FUNERALS / MEMORIALS Funerals, memorial services and the like often times call for a more somber, contemplative approach to the music selection. The tune, "Amazing Grace" is often requested and is most appropriate. Slow marches could also be used. The interjection of the Highland Bagpiping sound at a funeral or memorial service can be a very powerful element. As such, I always leave the decision of when to play to the planner of the service. I can only offer suggestions based on the music I play and previous, similar performances. Which brings me to the unique music known as Piobaireachd (pronounced: pee-brock) (find out a bit more on this music under the Tunes section). This music is unique to the Highland Bagpipe and is most closely related to classical music. Largely because the structure of a Piobraireachd tune begins with a ground or theme, then slowly builds in tempo through multiple variations and completes in a flurrish of more complicated fingering movements. What I find most appropriate for these services are the theme parts of these old, (200 - 300 years old!) Piobraireachd tunes as well as some of the variations that lie within them. If you are planning a funeral service, please call to discuss how I can incorporate this beautiful music. OTHER PERFORMANCES Birthdays are probably the next most often requested performance gig. Of course, fun is in order here and Happy Birthday on the pipes is nothing but fun. Add a couple jigs and reels and you've got a real party. For all other performances, what type of music to play can be discussed prior to the event. RATES / FEES At minimum, I have a flat rate. However, there are factors that can alter the flat rate, such as, but not limited to mileage, type of performance and time involved. So please call to discuss your needs so that I can quote you a more accurate rate. I am a bagpiper in Milwaukee playing for weddings as a wedding bagpiper or funeral bagpiper in Milwaukee and the eastern wisconsin area.

GRADE LEVEL In bagpiping there are 5 (actually 6) levels or grades of competence that determines the quality of piping that you hear. Grade 1 being the highest grade level and 5 the lowest. The sixth level is the open class or professional level. As one might expect, there are far fewer open class players than say grade 4 level players. This grading system becomes important in the realm of highland game competitions and should be used only as a rough guide when choosing a piper for your special event. Bagpipers of even the lowest grade levels can some times satisfy the requirements for impromtu or short events. If a bagpipe player does not compete in solo competitions, and therefore does not have a grade level classification, the number of years a bagpiper has been playing the instrument can help determine a quality level. I fall into the category of a grade 3 level player and have been playing the Highland Bagpipes since 1996. I have attended The Milwaukee School of Piping for 3 seasons. I am a long time member of the Billy Mitchell Scottish Pipes & Drums in Milwaukee WI. ACHIEVEMENTS Highland game competitions present an opportunity for pipers and drummers to not only match themselves against other bagpipe players, but to also get the chance to have a well trained ear (the competition judge) listen to their abilities and comment on them. I find this activity essential in sharpening my technique as well as enhancing my ability to express the emotions found in the music. Throughout my years of competition I have aquired some awards from highland game judges around the midwest. (11-1st place, 4-2nd place, 6-3rd place and my fair share of no placings at all). My crowning achievement has been the awarding of "Champion Supreme" status for Piobaireachd in grade 3. An award given to the piper who accummulates the most points or wins in a single season. (please see the Tunes section for a bit more on Piobaireachd style of music.) TUNING Tuning of the bagpipe presents a great challenge to even the most seasoned of piper. Proper tuning is essential in achieving the greatest quality performance. It remains a major determining factor in judging the competence of a bagpiper. However, time and circumstance will often play a role in the final outcome. I place great importance in achieving a properly tuned instrument. The Highland Bagpipes demand a period of about 30 to 45 minutes of tuning time prior to an event. This is due to, in part, because of the reeds (there are 4) and other factors such as finger dexterity and weather related conditions. The length of time between pretuning and the actual performance needs to be as short as possible in order to maintain the best sound quality. The Highland Bagpipes are notorious for their finicky nature when it comes to maintaining proper tuning once they have been tuned. This warm-up time should be taken into account when planning a piper at your event. Arrangements should be made to provide a room, out of ear-shot of your guests for this critical stage of the performance. UNIFORM As a performer of the Scottish Highland Bagpipe, I perform in a uniform known as highland wear that includes a kilt, around the kilt straps a belt and a pouch or "Sporran". Shoes called "Ghillie Brogues" and flashes that help keep the knit hose or socks up to my knees. Generally, a piper is also required to wear a hat or cap. Mine is done in the Glengarry style. Apart from bagpiping I enjoy working with leather. As such, I have created my own version of belt and Sporran as well as a leather kilt vest that I sometimes wear. The more polished look is achieved by wearing a kilt jacket, similar to a sport jacket, but fitted and shortened to accomodate the kilt. My jacket is genuine Harris tweed, purchased on a past trip to Scotland. My kilt, as all true Scottish kilts, is made from Scottish wool and the pattern or "tartan" is the Ancient Mitchell tartan. It is shared by other Scottish clans (such as Galbraith, Hunter and Rose). The Ancient Mitchell was proclaimed the "Official Tartan" of Milwaukee County by County Executive William O' Donnell, and duly entered into the Tartan Registry in Scotland.

THE MUSIC Tunes for the Highland Bagpipe fall into two main categories. Light music, which is the most commonly heard bagpipe music. The tunes are relatively short and include marches, strathspeys, reels, jigs and the like. They are often played at joyous events such as weddings, parties and parades. You then have Piobaireachd, pronounced simply: "pee-brock". Piobaireachd, is a Gaelic word meaning a pipe, or a bagpipe. Piobair is a piper and Piobaireachd is the act of a piper performing with a pipe (or bagpipe). Piobaireachd is the classical music of the Highland Bagpipe. Its origin dates back hundreds of years and was written specifically for the bagpipe. It is rarely heard outside the realm of solo pipe competitions. This music was often written for special occasions such as a battle, or loss of a loved one or to salute a great leader. These tunes often fall between 10 and 20 minutes in length. Another reason it is also known as the Big or Great music. I find portions of these tunes well satisfy the need for honor and introspection while infusing an ethereal emotion for funerals and memorial services. However, not all bagpipers of this era are trained to perform this special music - it is a choice. I perform a very small selection of the over 300 tunes that have been written. To gather more information on this great music called Piobaireachd. Call me at 414-745-4742 for a bagpiper or bagpipers at your next event.