Above: Pipers Kari Olsen of Milton and Mark Lamont. Photo: Raftermen Photography
Both exciting and mournful, there is nothing quite like the sound of the bagpipes to stir emotions. That’s why North Georgia Pipes and Drums is hired for events ranging from parades and parties to funerals. They’ll perform at Luck of Avalon this year on March 15.
When asked about performing for St. Patrick’s day with Scottish bagpipes, Tom Crawford, Pipe Major, replied, ”The bagpipes are indeed Scottish. The full name is the Great Highland Bagpipes. However, Scotland and Ireland are very close neighbors and cross migration was common. So the Scottish pipes are used in Ireland as well. It’s all Celtic, so we celebrate that.”
For a dozen years, North Georgia Pipes and Drums have held true to their philosophy: Good Music, Good Will, Good Fun! Members hail from all corners of the North Atlanta/North Georgia region, including Alpharetta, Athens, Buford, Covington, Dahlonega, Gainesville, Johns Creek, Woodstock and beyond. “We have ten pipers, seven drummers, and one drum major, said Crawford. “We’re always looking for new members, too.”
The band was founded in 2007 as North Atlanta Pipes & Drums, by four seasoned musicians: pipers Brad Beaton, Mark Blihovde, Robbie Rogers, and drummer JJ Hayden. Their vision was, and remains, to bring together a core of accomplished pipers and drummers who love to play, who are ready to compete, and who will welcome and nurture developing players. In 2016 they changed the name of the band to North Georgia Pipes and Drums to better reflect its burgeoning and wide-ranging membership. The band uses competition as a motivation tool to improve their playing, and has taken many first place wins. They perform for the public at reasonable rates in order to subsidize the costs involved in maintaining their organization, a charitable 501(c)3 organization.
They practice weekly at Johns Creek Presbyterian Church and they welcome visitors to come and observe at a rehearsal. Contact them at the website to be sure that the rehearsal is on the calendar. Look for them at Luck of Avalon and visit North Georgia Pipes and Drums, to learn more or call 678-718-KILT (5458). ❍