Andrew Douglas shows up on the video display during the World Pipe Band Championships.
continued “This is definitely one of the top spots (for a bagpiper),” he said. “I think it has to do with the fair degree of Scottish and Irish lineage, but also there is a lot of excellent bagpipers in the area that have taught students as well.”
During nice weather, he said the band practices in area parks. Even practicing at home isn’t an issue with “practice version” of the instrument, which he said isn’t too loud and could be used almost anywhere without disturbing others. Besides helping lead the band, Douglas also owns The Pipers Dojo in Colonie, which is a bagpipe shop. He said the “economy” bagpipes have a starting price around $1,200 and the more elaborate pipes approach $10,000.
“Bagpipes are pretty expensive … it is somewhat of an expensive hobby,” he said. “I think the key if you are interested in getting into is to find a good instructor that will teach you the fundamentals.”
To be a part of the band, he said, being able to play the pipes is a key requirement.
“There are a lot of pipe bands out there looking to get people into a kilt and get them out in parades,” he said.
Douglas started learning how to play the pipes when he was 8 years old and was taught by his father. His great grandfather came to the United States from Scotland in 1911, but he actually didn’t play the bagpipes. His grandfather did play though and started the family tradition spanning three generations.
“I remember sitting down with my dad at the dinner table and going over the lessons.”