Weddings, Funerals & Other Functions

Dan playing for a wedding, Manchester, VT

We hired Dan for our wedding in July 2010. It was one of the best wedding service decisions we made. Not only is Dan a gifted piper but he provided creative solutions to problems we faced with our site specific outdoor processional and ceremony. As the saying goes, ‘even the best laid plans...’”

Bagpiping For Any & All Occassions

The fact that you are looking at this website, and this page in particular, would strongly suggest that you are interested in Scottish music and bagpipes to some degree. Whatever sort of event you may be planning the music you choose will make a statement and touch those who attend. Whether you are wanting to create a stately and formal atmosphere, a contemplative and melancholy mood or an ambiance that is buoyant and lifts the spirits – and, perhaps, the feet – Scottish bagpipes and music have the power to unlock those feelings and emotions.

Instrument Options – There are at least three types of Scottish bagpipes and exactly three that I play: The Highland Bagpipes, Scottish Borderpipes and Scottish Smallpipes; in descending order of acoustic power. The first is, by far, the most widely recognised and well suited to playing outdoors or in large interior spaces whilst the latter two are well suited to interior spaces and lower acoustic intensity moments.

Multi Instrumental Options – I also play together with other instrumentalists and as such can put together a duo or trio for various episodes of an event. Other instruments include, but are not limited to: Lever Harp, Guitar, Fiddle and a second bagpipe.
Below is a basic, though by no means exhaustive, outline of several types of events at which you might fancy having bagpipes as well as some à la carte options within each category; you may to choose one of them, all of them or you may have concepts of your own. A thorough consultation about your ideas and requirements is always the first step.

 
 
Dan Piping for a Wedding, Chicope, MA

Weddings: There are a lot of moving parts involved in wedding ceremonies; paths to map out and transitions to demarcate. From a musical perspective there are five components, give or take, to consider:

  • Pre Ceremony – Music for guests’ arrival and seating.

  • Processional – Music for walking in: groomsmen and bridesmaids and/or bride(s)/groom(s).

  • Recessional – Music for the wedding party’s exit.

  • Post Ceremony – Music for the guests’ transition to the next phase

  • Cocktail/Reception – Music for socialising, drinking and/or dancing.


 

Some tunes that work particularly well for Weddings

Máirseáil Úi Shúilleabháin (Ó Sullivan's March)
Máirseáil Righ Laoise (March of the King of Laois)
Dr. Ross's 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering

Funerals: Musically and structurally, much the same applies to funerals as to weddings, apart from the mood.

  • Committal/Graveside Service – Music for services, or elements of the service held in the cemetery.

  • Pre Service – Music for attendees’ arrival at the venue.

  • Post Service – Music for attendees’ departure from the venue.

  • Reception – Music for socialising, eating and drinking.


 

Below are some tunes that work well for funerals

Cumha gan Ainm (The Nameless Lament)
Dan playing foe a committal, Cooperstown, NY
Crònan na Cailleiche (Seaforth's Lament)
 

Burns Suppers: These usually involve a small team, many of whom may be your friends and/or family. With the aid of a minimum of one other participant I can fulfill the following duties:

  • Pre Haggis Ceremony – Music for guests’ arrival

  • Procession – Piping the Haggis from the Kitchen to the presentation table.

  • Address to the Haggis – Reciting Burns’s famous poem and cutting up the haggis.

  • Post Ceremony – Music for eating, drinking, socialising and/or dancing.

 

Conferences and Corporate Events: In a remarkably similar manner to weddings, conferences and similar types of events can be enlivened by bagpipe music. Some options include:

  • Pre Event – Music for attendees’ arrival at the venue.

  • Post Event – Music for attendees’ departure from the venue.

  • Reception – Music for socialising, eating and drinking and/or dancing.

 
 

Teaching

Lessons: I teach Highland pipes, Borderpipes, Smallpipes and flute/whistle for beginners and up. Depending on location and Covid restrictions lessons can be conducted in person or by Zoom or Skype.

Workshops: These cover everything from group instruction on bagpipes, flute and whistle to presentations on the functioning, the history and/or music of these instruments.

I often give workshops in collaboration with my colleagues, Iain Macharg and Hazen Metro, of the Vermont Institute of Celtic Arts.

Dan teaching a Smallpipe class, Marchfield, VT
Dan demonstrating bagpipes to school children, Newfane, VT
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