Feb 13, 2017

OPS is February 18, 2017

Come to OPS and listen to some wonderful music. You can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a good brew too! The show starts at 7:30 at The OddFellows Hall, 10282 SE Main St. Milwaukie OR, 97222.

Our featured band is Portland Metro Pipe Band. 

Portland Metro Pipe Band
The Portland Metro Pipe Band, founded in 2006, consists of premier pipers and drummers from all over the Pacific Northwest; including players ranging from Corvallis, OR to Seattle, WA. The band wears the Muted Red Fraser tartan.

We spend the Fall and Winter preparing to start the new year with our Annual Burn's Night in January and continue through then end of Summer. While mainly a competitive band, we also perform parades, commencements, and events around Oregon.

Jan 21, 2017

Piping & Drumming Workshop

The OPS annual Piping & Drumming Workshop will be held on Saturday February 18, 2017. 
Our instructors are bagpiper Jamie Troy and drummer Blair Brown. Join us for a day of fun and excellent instruction from some amazing teachers!

There will be no competition that day. Help us spread the word! Please share this information with pipers and drummers you know. Email or phone questions to: colinmackenzie1@comcast.net, 503-636-2755

Jamie Troy
Get the workshop registration form here!
Get the lunch order form here!

Jamie began both piping and drumming at age 6, studying piping with his father, James W. Troy, and drumming with his uncle, Colin Magee. At age 11, he joined his first band, the renowned City of Victoria Pipe Band. His band playing background also includes the Peel Regional Police and most recently, the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, Toronto.

In addition to his extensive band experience, James has won numerous prizes throughout Canada and the United States as a soloist with both instruments. In 2008, he won all three of the Professional Piping events at the BCPA Annual Gathering, including the MacCrimmon Memorial Cairn for Piobaireachd.

In recent years James has become well known for the quality of his seminars for both pipers and drummers. He is a valued resource for pipe band players, presenting seminars on ensemble concepts and teaching at major summer programs in the United States and Canada. He judges piping, drumming and pipe band events frequently, and is a member of the British Columbia Pipers’ Association adjudicators’ panel. In addition, he has a number of private students in Victoria, British Columbia,where he resides.

Blair began drumming in 1992 under the instruction of Doug Stronach. He joined the Milton Optimist Juvenile Pipe Band, founded and led by his mother Gail. The band went on to win two World Championships: Juvenile in 1994 and Grade III in 1997. In 2000, he joined the 78th Fraser Highlanders under the leadership of Michael Hunter. During that time, he also returned to the Milton Optimist Pipe Band (renamed MacDonald Caledonia) as lead drummer.  In the autumn of 2001, he realized a boyhood dream and joined the Shotts and Dykehead drum corps led by his drumming idol, Jim Kilpatrick MBE. Blair enjoyed many successes with Shotts. Highlights include winning the World Drum Corps Championships in 2002, 2003, and 2005, as well as the overall band title in 2003 and 2005. Blair returned to Shotts in the autumn of 2012 when his brother-in-law, Ryan Canning, was appointed Pipe Major. Before returning to Shotts, Blair spent two seasons playing under his brother, Graham, with the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, and three seasons learning under J. Reid Maxwell with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, BC.

Blair is one of the top solo drummers in the world today and is a consistent prize winner at the World Solo Drumming Championships.

Blair is a sought after educator. He regularly conducts workshops and teaches at piping and drumming schools worldwide. He is a certified judge with the Pipers' and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. 

Jan 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! 

So far the 30th season of Oregon Pipers Society has been great fun. There's more Scottish entertainment scheduled for the season. Save the dates!!

OPS Presents!
  • January 21, 2017 - Clan Macleay Pipes and Drums, Eliot Grasso, Laurence Overmire, and Patrick Downing.
  • February 18, 2017 - Portland Metro Pipe Band, Jamie Troy, and Duncan Millar. Annual Piping and Drumming Workshop.
  • March  25, 2017 - Columbia Regional Pipe Band, and John Lee.
  • April 22, 2017 - Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band, and Kevin McLean.

Join us on January 21, 2017

Come to OPS on January 21st - grab a bite to eat and enjoy a good brew too! The show starts at 7:30 at The OddFellows Hall, 10282 SE Main St. Milwaukie OR, 97222.

Laurence Overmire
at Burns House, Dumfries, Scotland
Our local hero is Laurence Overmire. Larry is a poet, genealogist and author of 10 books. Renowned Scottish historian Ted Cowan calls him a "true sennachie." The sennachies or bards of ancient Celtic tradition were high status members of the clan, voices of conscience, who knew the legends, the history and the ancestral lineages. They were the intellectual leaders who united the people in story and song. Laurence is a modern-day inheritor of that ancient tradition.

Overmire's most recent book of poetry The Ghost of Rabbie Burns: An American Poet's Journey Through Scotland recounts his quest to find his ancestral roots and heritage, which according to his great grandmother Burns' family tradition includes a descent from the uncle of the iconic poet Robert Burns. As an historical snapshot in time, this journal of his experiences is part travelogue, part poetry, part history and genealogy and provides a fascinating look at the mythology and history of Scotland, its culture, its people and their aspirations in 2014 in the run-up to the referendum on Scottish independence. The Duke of Argyll calls it, "a wonderful book of poetry and a great asset if you are making a trip to Scotland."

Displaying Clan Macleay Pipes and Drums-1.jpg

Also joining us is the Clan Macleay Pipes and Drums & Eloit Grasso. Formed shortly after World War I, the Clan Macleay Pipes and Drums is one of the oldest continually existing bagpipe bands in North America. Based in Portland, Oregon, the band is comprised of approximately twenty pipers and drummers from Oregon and Southern Washington states.

The Clan Macleay Pipes and Drums is best known as a performance band. As such it is an annual highlight of many local events including the Grand Floral Parade during Portland’s Rose Festival, as well as at a number of parades and other events in the Northwest.

In addition to its music, part of its crowd appeal has been the band’s traditional look. The band adheres to many of the traditions common to the regimental bands of Scotland. This includes “military” (full dress and summer), as well as “civilian”.

In addition, and like certain Highland regiments (e.g., The Royal Scots or Scots Guards), it is one of the few bands that still wears two different tartans - Royal Stewart by the pipers and Hunting Stewart by the drummers.

Besides the Clan Macleay Pipe Band’s history and long-standing reputation, the band is known for its continued fostering of Scottish tradition in piping and drumming, through its own instruction program, through schools and other public service performances, and through its support of other pipe bands.

Internationally-acclaimed performer-scholar, Eliot Grasso (PhD), teaches, performs, and records Irish traditional music on the uilleann pipes. He is a researcher and teacher in the fields of musicology and ethnomusicology.

Eliot has been performing throughout North America and Europe for two decades. Critics have described his playing as “remarkably compact and precise, tastefully embellished with a restrained creativity and inventiveness,” in that it demonstrates a “superb technical ability” through “a startling depth, consistency, and clarity of tone.” Contemporaries claim that Eliot’s “intuitive sense of melodic and technical variation make him one of the most creative and dynamic musicians in the contemporary world of Irish traditional music,” and “one of the finest uilleann pipers in the history of Irish music in America.”

Our Featured Performer is Patrick Downing. A top-ranked soloist in the BC Pipers, Patrick has been piping since age 10 and has had the privilege of working with some of the world’s best pipers, including Jack Lee and Andrew Wright. Some highlights include playing with both the SFU and Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Bands and competing overseas for many years. In addition to competition, Patrick teaches individuals and bands, including the Bellingham Firefighters, since 2009. Patrick is excited to be invited back to OPS and outside of piping, he enjoys traveling and works in sales for a national payroll company.

Dec 12, 2016

Join us on December 17, 2016

Special this month - a special Whisky Tasting assortment! At the front desk you can buy 5 tastings of premier single malt Scottish whiskies for only $20! There will also be a dedicated pouring table, then sip and enjoy at your own pace throughout the evening.

We welcome back Alastair Lee as our featured performer! Alastair started with the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band. Joining Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in 2008, he was privileged to win the Grade 1 World Pipe and Championship in his first two tries (2008 & 2009). In concert, Alastair can be seen playing both pipes and keyboards.

As well, solo pipe competition has been a focus for Alastair. In Scotland he is now in the Former Winners MSR at Oban as well as the Gold Medal for Piobaireachd at Oban and Inverness. Alastair also plays for highland dancing on a regular basis.

In his private life Alastair graduated with honours in 2013 from the Art Institute of Vancouver in professional sound engineering. He currently works full-time at the well-known Scottish importing firm Tartantown Ltd. as a bagpipe technician, shipper and sales associate.

Piping and drumming competition begins at 4:30pm and entertainment begins at 7:30pm.  Food and beverage will be available for purchase throughout the evening, including pizza, salad, bread, and delicious homemade Curry Pumpkin soup! You can wet your palate with Scottish Ales, Oregon beer and wine, or a soft drink. 

Admission is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Kids 12 and under are Free One free admission is given with your new or renewed membership. Get the membership form here!

OPS needs your help! Consider us for your end of year donation (it is tax deductible!) It is with your ongoing support that make it possible for us to provide scholarships, workshops and great entertainment. Email the OPS Business Manager, Will (beattie.will@gmail.comfor details or bring your donation check on Saturday.

Nov 15, 2016

Join us for OPS this Saturday!

Piping and drumming competition begins at 4:30pm and entertainment begins at 7:30pm.  Food and beverage will be available for purchase throughout the evening, including pizza, salad, bread, and delicious homemade onion soup! You can wet your palate with Scottish Ales, Oregon beer and wine, or a soft drink.

Our featured performer is Alexander Schiele.

Alex began playing bagpipes at age 8 with instructor Kevin Auld. He plays with the 8th ranked pipe band in the world, Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band.

An accomplished solo piper, most recently Alex made it to the final round of the 2014 BCPA Pro Knockouts in his first year entering the event as a professional piper, placing 3rd overall. He placed 2nd as an invited amateur in the 2013 BCPA Professional Knockout first round, out of 11 professional competitors and was promoted to professional in February, 2013, winning one of his first events at the BCPA Annual Gathering March 30, 2013. He finished his first professional season ranked 7th.

Alex was promoted to Grade 1 at age 13, the youngest of all grade 1 Amateur pipers in Washington/Oregon and British Columbia at the time in the British Columbia Pipers' Association.

Portland Highland Dancers will also be joining us!

We are please to have the Portland Highland Dancers perform for us! The Portland Highland Dance Association was founded in 1958 to create in our area a greater interest in Scottish traditions and Highland dance. PHDA's purpose is to foster and preserve the art of Scottish Highland Dance. 

PHDA hosts dance competitions and workshops in the Portland area. Dancers range in ages and dance levels. These dedicated and talented dancers will perform a variety of traditional Highland dances. 

Bring your friends and introduce them to the Oregon Pipers Society! Admission is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Kids 12 and under are Free.

Oct 26, 2016

Thanks for Attending the October Gathering!

Thank you to all who attended our first gathering of the season on October 15th! The event was very successful with a great turnout despite bad weather throughout the region.

Murray Huggins

A special thanks goes to our featured piper and judge Murray Huggins! Murray delivered a great recital on a beautiful set of his own hand-crafted pipes and shared many entertaining stories with the audience.

Thanks also to Dram & Go and our Local Hero Nate Wahlgren for making the evening special.

If you weren't able to attend, you can find a great set of photos from the evening on our facebook page. Please hit 'Like' on our page while you are there!

You can also view our results on the Results Page.

Please join us for our next gathering on November 19!

Oct 19, 2016

Welcome to our two new Board Members!

Oregon Pipers Society has always been very informally organized, relying on the generous time and support of countless volunteers. This past year we had some open slots on the OPS Board of Directors.

Micah Babinski
Congratulations to our two new Board Members - Micah Babinski and Deborah Lyon! These two have been rockstar volunteers for years and we are so pleased to have them on the OPS Board. 

Micah has been involved with Oregon Pipers Society for over a decade as a competitor, judge, attendee, drone tuner, and overall fan. He has also performed at OPS gatherings as a solo piper and with his band, Dram & Go.

Micah shares OPS' dedication to fostering Scottish culture in the Portland area, especially among kids and young adults. Micah lives in Portland with his wife, Quinn.

Deb joined the Oregon Pipers Society 3 years ago, when her son joined the PMYPB as it's bass drummer.  Her daughter dances and plays the tenor drum in the youth band as well.

A former dancer and piping groupie, she grew up in a very active Scottish social community in Spokane and was thrilled to find the same kind of spirit at OPS.  She's been hooked ever since.

Deborah Lyon
Deb loves working with the competitors and judges as the OPS steward, and is honored to serve on the board.  She lives in Lake Oswego with the aforementioned twins, Will and Alex.

Our current Board of Directors is: Kevin Kelley, Colin MacKenzie, Will Beattie, Barbara Valenti, Suvi Chisholm, Micah Babinski, Deborah Lyon.

We thank our volunteers for their work and dedication to OPS! Wanna join the fun? Contact info@opspdx.org to inquire about volunteer opportunities.

Oct 10, 2016

OPS 30th Season begins on October 15, 2016

Come to OPS and listen to some wonderful Scottish music. We are celebrating our 30th season! Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey and welcome to new friends joining us for the first time!

You are welcome to watch the piping and drumming competition beginning at 4:30pm. The evening's entertainment begins at 7:30pm. There will be food and beverage available for purchase throughout the evening.  Including pizza, salad, bread, and homemade soup. Beverages include Scottish Ales, Oregon beer and wine, and soft drinks.

Held at the OddFellows Hall in downtown Milwaukie, our monthly event welcomes all ages.  Only $5 for OPS members. $10 for non-members. Kids 12 and under get in free!  One free admission is given with your new or renewed membership. Click here to become a member today.

Featured Performer

Murray Huggins
The featured performer of the night is Murray Huggins. A native of Ashland, Oregon, Murray has enjoyed a long piping career. He began as a boy receiving instruction from Scottish piper William Keddie. His piping style is influenced by Cameron Wylie, Seattle and Jimmy McColl, Florence, Oregon.

Murray is the proprietor of Colin Kyo bagpipes where he hand crafts every detail of the Highland bagpipe including reeds, metal forming and hand engraving. Murray also provides hand engraved metal fittings to bagpipe makers throughout the world.

Band Performance

Dram & Go
The fantastic celtic trio Dram & Go will play a set for us as well.  We are pleased to have Dram and Go back to OPS this year, and you can read more about them and check out some tunes from their 2015 album.

Founded early in 2014, Dram & Go features a fresh take on traditional Celtic music. With piper Micah Babinski (lowland pipes, smallpipes, mandolin), Rachel Bowen (fiddle), Anton Emery (guitar, flute, and banjo), and featuring Richie Rosencrans (guitar, bouzouki) of Na Rosai, Dram & Go has been busy harnessing the raw foot-stomping energy found at the intersection of Scottish piping, old-time fiddle, Irish Sessions, and bluegrass.

Local Hero

Nate Wahlgren
Corvallis resident Nate Wahlgren returns as local hero, always happy to support local piping. Being the sentimental sort, he likes to mark milestones, and next month will be celebrating the date when he will have been playing pipes for half of his life.

He learned his piping on the east coast, where he lived all of his life until moving to Oregon in 2012. He joined the Portland Metro Pipe Band shortly after arriving, and has played four seasons with them. His solo competition career began in earnest in 2004, and he moved up through the amateur ranks until he was promoted to grade 1 following the 2009 season.

Shortly afterwards he was bitten by the piobaireachd bug, and it's his favorite thing to play whenever he picks up his pipes. If you're nice to him, he might play a tune for you. If you're not nice to him, he might inflict a tune upon you.