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Bagpiper Blog

Bagpipes for Parties!

Tags: Bagpipes, Events, History, Uncategorized, Weddings

I often get called to play at parties. They are always a great time . Here are my ideas to make a birthday party with bagpipes a smash succcess:

Who wants birthday cake? Ralph Sr. on left was a big Notre Dame fan- I played the fight song for him and also piped in the cake to Happy Birthday

Who wants birthday cake? Ralph Sr. on left was a big Notre Dame fan- I played the fight song for him and also piped in the cake to Happy Birthday

  • For birthdays I am often called to add some pizzazz to the party. Surprise birthday parties are getting more and more popular and this can work very well. It usually requires a little extra planning. What I do is stop away from the birthday site and tune and warm up the pipes and get everything ready. When I arrive on site I call someone inside that is in the know. When they are ready I strike up the bagpipes and march right in playing as they hold the door open for me. It’s a big entrance to be sure.
  • Also Happy Birthday works perfectly on the bagpipes, so I sometimes lead the cake out from the kitchen or wherever it is. When I do a birthday gig it is always my objective to play for the guest of honor but I also intersperse playing with some history of the tunes I’m playing, bagpipe 101 and answer any questions. Usually these last about one hour and the time goes fast!
  • Christmas parties are usually a great time too. Many Christmas carols work well on bagpipes- usually the older ones like Come All Ye Faithful work very well. Unfortunately Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer doesn’t work very well.
  • I’ve also played a couple of retirement parties this year as well. On these it is very important to be flexible as many people want to wish the retiree the best and schedules can get pretty loose. One tune that I always bring into a retirement party is Auld Lang Syne. In both of these parties I was a surprise as well.
  • Bagpiper and Mom sm

Parties and Events work very well with Bagpipes- the secret to success is prior planning. A competent bagpiper will be able to make creative suggestions and work to give you the absolute best performance possible.

For openers and launches I am usually playing outside to add ambiance to the event. This gives me a great opportunity to run through a lot of my repertoire- to play some of the lesser known tunes that I have learned over the years. I also get to refine my tone and tuning to the point that I’m totally blowing tone and the pipes are sounding magnificent. The sound you can get from a bagpipe is like no other and I enjoy it as much as the people I play for.


What is the best birthday party you’ve ever attended? Have you ever been in attendance at a party with a hired musician? Answer in the comments section below!

About bagpiperstephen

Professional Bagpiper serving the greater Los Angeles area with over 20 years of experience.

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1 comment

Bagpiper Stephen - December 6, 2013

I will often play remotely- say in a backyard or some other location. Believe it or not bagpipes are like many things and you can get too much of a good thing! 😉 The piper has to be sensitive to the mood and receptiveness of the client and guests. If I feel I am overpowering the crowd I will relocate. It is important to always be an asset to the event never a deterrent. Also I always try and mix the playing with the discussion and answering questions. If some guests are totally into piping and others not so much I will invite them to join me at the remote location.

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