Dec 10, 2017

THIS WEEKEND - Jack Lee will perform for us at OPS!

Come to OPS on December 16 - We guarantee an outstanding evening of music, friends, and Scottish Culture! The show starts at 7:30 at The OddFellows Hall, 10282 SE Main St. Milwaukie OR, 97222.

Our local hero is Sam Toohey. Sam won the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) Grand Aggregate award for Grade 2 last year. We are thrilled to have Sam as our Local Hero recitalist! (Note: Lacy Campbell will be our Local Hero recitalist next month!)

Our pipe band performance will be delivered by the Eugene Highlanders Pipe Band. A little about the band:

The Eugene Highlanders began in 1953 under the direction of P/M Hector Smith who served as pipe major for over fifty years. They continue in that spirit to keep the music flowing, bringing history alive and carrying bagpiping, highland drumming and dancing forward as a living art form. Eugene Highlanders plays at Highland Games and other celtic events around the region and have proudly led the Eugene Celebration parade for many years.

Above: Eugene Highlanders in action!

Our adjudicator and featured performer will be the one and only Jack Lee! Jack is a renowned solo competitor, teacher, Pipe Sergeant of the six-time world champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, and is among the world's greatest pipers. Along with his family, Jack runs Lee and Sons Bagpipes. Jack is also the reigning champion at the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship which he won earlier this year.

Admission is $10 for non-members and $5 for members. In addition to our great performers, you can enjoy food and drinks served by our wonderful OPS volunteers! Our December menu will include:
A) Vegetable Beef Barley
B) Carrot, Corn, and Corriander
Salad Dressings:
1) Balsamic Vinaigrette
2) Honey Mustard
3) Creamy Blue Cheese
4) Paprika Vinaigrette

Pizza, snacks, soft drinks, beer, wine, and Scotch is also available for purchase!

Nov 20, 2017

Thank You for Joining Us in November!

We had a terrific November gathering on Saturday with wonderful music from Mark Cameron, Kells Pipes and Drums, and Hal Senyk! As always we thank all the competitors, volunteers, and performers who made the evening memorable. But most importantly, thanks to YOU for supporting OPS by showing up! If you haven't already you can always help OPS even more by becoming a member.

The Competition

As usual, we were treated to wonderful music from our piping and drumming competitors. We have results available on our results page, and if you are a piper or drummer don't forget to register for the competition next month! You won't want to miss the opportunity to get comments from our featured performer in December.

Evening Program

Following our competition we enjoyed fine piping by our Local Hero Mark Cameron, guest pipe band the Kells Pipes and Drums, and featured performer, Hal Senyk. We are hugely grateful to all our performers for making the evening so worthwhile, and to our great team of volunteer organizers, bartenders, servers, and chef for providing wonderful food and drink to our patrons.

(See our facebook page for more great photos of the event)

Our Next Event is December 16th featuring Glenfiddich piping champion Jack Lee!

Jack is truly among the world's greatest pipers and we are so fortunate to have him join us in December right here at OPS. Make your plans now to attend, tell your friends, and we will see you next month!

Nov 14, 2017

November OPS Gathering

Fall Greetings from OPS!

The days are getting shorter and Thanksgiving is around the corner, but OPS is ready to bring a fantastic evening of bagpipes and Scottish culture to our monthly gathering at the Historic Oddfellows Hall in Milwaukie, OR. You are cordially invited to join us THIS Saturday, November 18th!

The Competition

Our event will begin at 4:30 with solo piping and drumming competition. Hal Senyk will be our adjudicator (more on him below). Our competition inspires pipers and drummers to practice hard, perform publicly, and reap the benefits of receiving feedback from some of the best pipers in North America. It's one of the most important things that we do at OPS and a great reason to become a member. You can also support the competitors by arriving early and enjoying the wonderful music! Check out our  our competition page for details on how to sign up.

Following the competition until the start of the evening program, we encourage piping, drumming, playing fiddles, guitars, and any other instrument you may care to bring! We love all forms of Scottish, Irish, and roots/traditional music. Jamming is encouraged at OPS!

The Evening Program

At 7:30 pm our official program begins. As usual we will have a band, a Local Hero (our local hero is a competitor who, in the spirit of OPS, steps forward to perform a short recital), and our featured piper. 

Our friend Mark Cameron will be our featured piper for the month, and our pipe band will be a contingent of Kells Pipes and Drums! 

Sponsored by Kell’s Irish Restaurant and Pub, Kell’s Irish Pipes and Drums began in the mid-1990’s in Portland, Oregon. Currently, the band is joined by several members of the Fort Vancouver Pipe Band with the two bands performing together on many occasions. The approach the band takes is to play music that is inclusive of all types of Celtic backgrounds. The main idea is to play well and to have fun while we do this. Many of the members have been playing for a number of years, but we encourage people to join who are at all levels of proficiency. Performers ages can range from age 12 through late 70’s.

Kells Pipes and Drums

Come hungry! We will have  homemade soup, salad, and pizza, while OPS board members and volunteers served soft drinks, beer, wine, and Scotch at the bar.

We are so excited to welcome Hal Senyk as our featured piper!

Hal is a veteran piper, pipe major, instructor, adjudicator, and is a longtime leader within the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA). He played for bands including the Canadian Scottish Regiment until 1971, and the Muirhead & Sons Pipe Band (5 time World Champion Grade 1). Hal was also a was Pipe Major of the Triumph Street Pipe Band, making them one of the premier Grade 1 bands in North America and the world.
After Hal's retirement from the band in the early 1990's, he played with the Abbotsford and Maple Ridge (New Westminster Police) bands, and has since become one of the assistant instructors with the White Spot (juvenile) band.
Hal was also a successful solo competitor for many years, having won many professional prizes in light music and piobaireachd. He was the first Canadian to win a major prize in Scotland, winning the March competition in Inverness in 1972, helping to set the stage for more Canadians to make their mark on the Scottish piping scene. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Oct 29, 2017

October OPS Gathering a Success!

We are so pleased to announce that our season's inaugural event, held on a rainy night last Saturday at the historic Oddfellows Hall in Milwaukie, was a huge success! Below is a recap of the evening. Don't forget to visit our facebook page for more photos and make your plans now to attend our next gathering on November 18th!

The Competition

The first event of the day - our piping and drumming competition - went very well and competitors gained valuable experience and comments from adjudicator Andrew Lee. As Andrew mentioned in his remarks later in the evening, October is typically off-season downtime for competing pipers and drummers, but the sooner they get the pipes and drums going, tunes memorized, and up in front of a judge to play, the better the season will go! OPS wishes all competitors the best of luck with the rest of their competition seasons. Below are the results from last Saturday, and see our competition page for details on how to sign up for the next competition:

The Evening Program

With the competition over, attendees were able to catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and enjoy the wonderful food and drink offered by OPS and it's wonderful volunteers. Head OPS chef Michael Johnston and his team of OPS volunteers served delicious homemade soup, salad, and pizza, while OPS board members and volunteers served soft drinks, beer, wine, and Scotch at the bar.

Around 7 pm our guest band, Biddy on the Bench, delighted the audience with some impromptu folk songs and tunes. We were so pleased to welcome Biddy on the Bench and they really added a unique musical touch to our evening! At 7:30, following opening remarks from our Master of Ceremonies Eila Chisholm, our Local Hero Nate Wahlgren delighted the audience with tunes (including a lovely piobaireach) on a fantastic bagpipe.
Following Nate's performance, the gathering took a moment to remember the late Andrew Bonar, champion piper (and former OPS judge and recitalist) who passed away recently after a three year battle with cancer. OPS is honored to have experienced Andrew's passion for the Scottish arts, his wonderful humor, and his amazing music.

Next up we welcomed Biddy on the Bench back to the stage for a rousing set of songs and tunes, including songs sung in purely Scots Gaelic. We really appreciated Biddy on the Bench's willingness to share their music with us. Check out their website for more info on the band and to see where they are playing next!
The highlight of the evening was an excellent recital by the one and only Andrew Lee. Delivered on a beautiful set of Lee and Sons bagpipes, Andrew delighted the audience with fantastic light music, a unique Piobaireachd called "War and Peace", and many stories of his friend and mentor Andrew Bonar.

Featured piper Andrew Lee
Our next gathering will be November 18th at the Oddfellows Hall. See you then! In the meantime, visit our membership page to support OPS as an individual family, or consider sponsoring our organization so we can bring more Scottish arts to the community.

Oct 10, 2017

Come to OPS on October 21st!

Welcome to a new season of OPS! 

We've got a great season planned out beginning with outstanding piping by Andrew Lee and rousing Irish folk music from Biddy on the Bench! Please join us October 21st as we proudly begin a new season of OPS at the historic Oddfellows Hall in Milwaukie, OR. 

The program begins at 7:30 pm and runs well into the evening. Solo piping and drumming begins in the afternoon - see our competition page for more details! Food and drink will be available, including delicious soups, pizzas, salad, bread, and snacks. Drinks will be served as well with beer, wine, soft drinks, and scotch available!

Our featured performer is Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee has been piping for most of his life, having started at the age of 5. He was born into a family of pipers with his Father and Uncle being the founders of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

Andrew has won many prizes throughout North America and Scotland including the US Silver Medal, US Gold Medal twice and BC Pipers Cairn for Open Piobaireachd. He is a member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band with whom he has won two World Pipe Band Championships. Prior to joining SFU he was a member of the Robert Malcolm Memorial juvenile pipe band where he won three Juvenile World Pipe Band Championships.

Outside of playing bagpipes, he along with his father Jack are the owners of Lee & Sons Bagpipes in Surrey, BC. Lee & Sons produce hand-made bagpipes, pipe bags and chanter reeds.

Andrew has been involved with OPS for quite a while and we are very pleased to have him back as our featured piping judge and recitalist!

Our band for the evening will be Biddy on the Bench!

From their website:
The versatile combination of banjo, guitar, mandolin, tin whistle and four part vocal harmony lends itself equally to high-energy Irish rebel songs and shanties, lively session tunes, and mournful gaelic ballads. Grounded primarily in the folk/traditional style of Irish music pioneered by such bands as "The Dubliners", "Planxty", and "The Bothy Band", Portland's own "Biddy on the Bench" breathes life and authenticity into old standbys of the genre and lesser-known tunes alike.  
In the winter months of 2013, Biddy on the Bench was formed. The members include Kevin Grgurich, Nick Frey, Noah Cotter, Casey Dyer, and Tristan Cormack. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio, Kevin, Nick, and Tristan have been playing music together for close to a decade. Noah and Casey are Oregon natives and bring with them years of experience with Irish music. Together, Biddy on the Bench approaches each song, each melody, with a passion for the music and sharing it with others.
Check out their media page for a sample! 

(Note: you will quickly discern that Biddy on the Bench is not a pipe band! Don't worry - We'll feature plenty of those in our season, but will also be incorporating more folk music into the program to encourage a broader appreciation of other aspects of Celtic music!)

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.

Sep 23, 2017

2017-2018 Season Update

Looking Forward to a New Season of OPS

Oregon Pipers Society is thrilled to begin its 31st season! 

Right now while pipers and drummers are practicing hard to bring their best to the competition stage, OPS volunteers and organizers are working together to make the mission of OPS succeed. We truly have a great season to look forward to with all the best in Scottish entertainment, scholarship, friends, and fun. Our schedule for the year is:

The featured piper at our October 21st gathering will be Andrew Lee, with additional entertainment provided by Biddy on the Bench. Stay tuned for more updates about our upcoming events!


The best way to support us is by attending our events and becoming a member.

We value our community and love welcoming new members who want to share our enjoyment of Scottish arts. By becoming a member you help the community grow. Plus, it gets you a nice discount at our events! Check out our About page for more about why you should join.

Don't forget! Volunteer positions are available (and a lot of fun)!

If you haven't already, check us out on facebook!

May 4, 2017

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who has made this 30th season of OPS such a great success! Thank you to all of the competitors, volunteers, and performers.

A special thank you to all the people who have attended an OPS event this year. Your participation is crucial to supporting a strong piping and drumming community in Oregon. Congratulations to all the competitors and good luck in your summer competitions!

Want to be more involved or support OPS? Volunteer positions are available (and a lot of fun)!

Thank you!

See our Facebook page for more photos from this season. And while you're there.... LIKE us too!

Apr 4, 2017

Final OPS of the season is on April 22nd!

The final OPS of the season is on April 22nd. 

We look forward to a festive night celebrating a fantastic season of piping, drumming and Scottish fun!

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 beer, wine, whisky, and soft drinks.

Our Featured Performer is Kevin McLean.

Kevin has been a member of the Simon Fraser University for the past seven years and is an Open piper in the BC Pipers' Association.

Starting out in 2003 with the Robert Malcolm Memorial organization, he quickly moved up the piping ladder and Pipe-Majored the RMM Grade 4 band in 2006 and competed with RMM 3 at the World Championships in 2007 and 2009. In February 2011 Kevin moved into the SFU Pipe Band and played with the band as they captured 2nd place at the worlds that year. In 2014, Kevin competed at the amateur invitational competitions Nicol-Brown in Albany, New York and at the George Sherriff in Hamilton, Ontario. He captured second place in both Piobaireachd competitions and won the MSR at the Nicol-Brown that year. He returned to these competitions in 2015 and won the Piobaireachd event at both competitions. In his first contest in the Open category, Kevin won the CPA B+C Grade Piobaireachd at the BCPA Annual Gathering in 2016.

Outside of piping, Kevin recently graduated with an Undergraduate Degree from SFU and is now enrolled in the Justice Institute of British Columbia's Investigations and Enforcement program.

The Pipe Band will be the The Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band (PMYPB).

PMYPB is made up of bagpipers and drummers ages 8 to 18 years from the Portland and Vancouver area.

These dedicated children and young adults attend band practice weekly, take private lessons with professional instructors, and utilize regular practice in preparation for Highland Game competitions.

The band's mission is to promote and advance the learning and performance of highland music, through youth, in Oregon and Southwest Washington. PMYPB provides a safe age appropriate environment to learn highland music. It is the intention of the PMYPB that at age 18, a PMYPB musician will become a competitive player in the adult Portland Metro Pipe Band.

Our Local Hero is bagpiper John Goff.

A bagpiper since 1984, John Goff has performed at hundreds of weddings, funerals, celebrations and parties. As a competitive bagpiper, John has won numerous band and solo competitions. He is a recording artist inside and outside of the bagpiping world and has worked with countless artists such as Moby, The Crystal Method, and The Noise Project.

John lives and works in Portland, Oregon, and plays with Grade 2 Portland Metro Pipe Band.

Piping competition begins at 4:30 pm. Entertainment begins at 7:30 pm. Admission is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. Kids 12 and under are Free.

Mar 2, 2017

March OPS is on the 25th!

Join us on March 25, 2017.  Entertainment begins at 7:30pm.  There will be food and beverage available for purchase throughout the evening. Join us for an evening Scottish fun!

Our Featured Performer is John Lee. John joined the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in 2009 after playing with RMM for 11 years. In 2014, he won the B march at the Argyllshire Gathering. In 2015, he placed 2nd in the North American Silver Medal, and in 2016 placed 6th in the A strathspey and reel. John recently graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Leadership.

We are looking forward to the Columbia Regional Pipe Band performing for us!

The Columbia Regional Pipe Band is made up of pipers and drummers from all over the Pacific Northwest: members are currently from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The band was formed in 2011 by members of the Desert Thistle Pipe Band from Kennewick, Washington, and a number of pipers from Portland, Oregon; the band played its first competition at the 2011 Spokane Highland Games. The band competed at Highland Games throughout the Northwest during the 2015 summer competition season and then traveled to Glasgow, Scotland in August to compete at the World Pipe Band Competition. 

The band wears the Ancient Ramsay Blue tartan and is led by Pipe Major Judy Morrison and Drum Sergeant Michael Choma.

Our drumming judge is Michael Choma. Michael has been drumming for a total of 12 years, starting out learning drum set and concert snare. He first came across Scottish drumming when attending an orientation for his high school, Shadle Park, whose mascot was the Highlanders, a pipe band. Since then, Scottish drumming has become an important part of his life. Michael has had the privilege of being taught by world famous drummers such as John Fisher, Blair Brown, Graham Brown, Arthur Cook, and John Scullion.

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:, 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.