I'm regularly asked 'how or why' I took up the Bagpipes. Starting any instrument at 39 apparently isn't normal, but...
I have always had a desire to learn a musical instrument, the difficulty being, which instrument? This is on the basis that if you're going to give 100% to the effort, it needs to be the right instrument. My story started In November 1999, with a Bagpiper revisiting his whole repertoire near my accommodation over 3 nights. This was in preparation for the Millennium New Year.
On night two, I started to think about how, one NYE I could surprise my Glaswegian born father with a blast of Auld Lang Syne, as he coughed & spluttered his 'wee dram' in utter shock.
Alas with a borrowed practice chanter and basic scales, I returned a few nights later to the weekly practice with others.
Apparently with the progress I was making in 3 months and my abundance of energy to learn, the piper offered to sell me his spare set. A short while later, members of a band asked us all to join them with a view to competing. A minimum of 6 Bagpipers are needed to enter competitions. A few outings to the competitions to listen to upper grade bands and their incredible and powerful sound, had me hooked.
With a few years in a competing band, with 2 of the 5 major championship events, i.e. The Scottish & European Championships bagged in the same year. I came away with a far better idea of what highly 'tuned' Bagpipes should sound like. For me the natural progression & aspiration was to compete in solo events.
I relished the idea of instrument preparation & tuning coming down to my efforts alone. In bands, usually the Pipe Major would be responsible for overall tuning.
The rest as they say is history. In less than 1 year, I had acquired my first overall win and came joint 1st at the Grade 3 World Amateur Solo Piping Championships in 2009. At the 2011/12 League season end, I had acquired the most overall points at Grade 3 to win the overall league title for the season. This led to promotion to Grade 2 with a fare degree of success since.
Since 2011, I have been a registered 'business' as 'Bagpiper in South Wales & Adjacent Counties'. Over time I was successful in gaining membership of the Guild and therefore enhancing the trust in which clients give their Wedding Bagpiper & other suppliers. My base is generally given as a Cardiff Bagpiper, on the basis the services expand outwards from the Capital 🙂
Our services extend to many other areas namely Funerals, of which many Directors call in advance of a family meeting to check & secure availability. Other events include Burns Suppers, Birthdays, Anniversaries, Corporate Events & many with surprise elements. With assistance of my partner Louise (TeamBagpipesWales), our business has grown year on year. Trust in our Bagpiping Services & the testimonials given via my Freeindex page has now listed Bagpiper John Campbell as 1st in the country & 'outstanding' as we approach 190 5* Reviews.
Slanj au Var 🙂
Wedding Bagpiper Wales