Larry Samuels, Scottish Bagpipes, San Diego, CA
I'm a professional bagpiper here in San Diego, available for parties, weddings, funerals, military dining-in ceremonies - any occasion is right for the Great Highland bagpipes! I've been playing the bagpipes for 49 years (!) now; I've won multiple West Coast championships, and was hired by the San Diego Symphony in 2004 and 2014 (see below ) when they needed a bagpiper for their orchestra, so I know I'll do a good job for you. If you'd like to have me play at your event, contact me at:
I'll be happy to discuss the ways bagpiping can fit into your ceremony, before, during, and after. (Please see my section Wedding Ideas on my Music Samples page for some examples of using bagpipes in a wedding ceremony).
I'll be playing with the San Diego Symphony again this month, on October 10/11/12, playing "An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise". The Symphony posted a short video about it:
I'm really looking forward to this; it's a fun piece of music and the Symphony sounds so wonderful. And in addition to having me play, they're also playing the "Scottish Fantasy for Violin and Orchestra", one of my favorite pieces.
Friday night, some dancers from Highland Fusion performed in the lobby, with me playing:
The Symphony even gave me my own dressing room, a personal first:
and the San Diego Union Tribune had a review ; here's a portion:
I enjoyed working with the Symphony so much; they're a wonderful group of musicians and everyone was so helpful. Perhaps they'll do the piece again someday!
Ever wonder what a bagpipe bag really looks like, under the cover? Well, here's my new Ross bag (of course, it gets covered up with a beautiful pipe bag cover when I play, black and silver); this is a high-tech bag:
I always keep a spare around in case the bag I'm using begins to leak. Hard to play a bagpipe with a leaky bag!
You know, it takes a lot of bagpipe playing to wear out a kilt - but I've done it! My Royal Stewart kilt may not look like it, but it's not quite as bright and colorful as when I bought it in 1999. So I bought a new Royal Stewart kilt, to look my best for my customers!
The folks at Scottish Treasures. here in San Diego, had it made for me. If you need to buy or rent a kilt, I highly recommend them!
I played for a cultural fair at the Francis Parker school (I was there last year as well), and one of the young students there studies Highland dance with Chrissy Ambler. Here's a photo of us:
She danced the Highland Fling and the Sword Dance - 3 times each! Ah, the energy of youth.
My moment of glory is not over!
Back in Oct. 2004, I had quite a piping week. I won the West Coast Regional piping championship for the 2nd time, then during the next week, I appeared with the San Diego Symphony playing bagpipes for an orchestra piece (see below ).
Well, a book was just published, "The San Diego Symphony from Overture to Encore" by Melvin H. Goldzband
and I'm mentioned in there, when they're
discussing the piece I played. "An Orkney Wedding, with Sunrise":
Hmm. I don't think of myself as "tootling away" on my pipes - but I'm glad for the mention. Maybe he'll put my name in the 2nd edition. -)
The San Diego Reader newspaper contacted me a while ago with some questions, and wrote a few paragraphs about me for their holiday issue (Dec. 5, 2013) in their article "70+ Great Ways to Celebrate the Holidays":
On their website, they show the full picture (that's an Army Honor Guard member in the background):
On a different note, I played for a dance exhibition at the Mingei International Museum in June of 2012 with the Highland Fusion dance troupe. I just got some pictures of the event to share.
Entering at the beginning
Above: Here I am playing the fiddle (!) for Leslie and Elizabeth. I've played violin and viola for many years, but don't often get to combine it with my bagpiping!
Two dancers wearing the Aboyne dress.
What a busy weekend! Six engagements to play in 3 days, but they were all a lot of fun.
One wedding requested a tune that was new to me, "Caledonia"; here's a link to it sung by Dougie MacLean:
I adapted it for the pipes, and played if for them at their wedding and reception. Very nice tune!
I also got to play for the San Diego British Car Show down near Seaport Village:
I used to own some old English sports cars, so I love the chance to walk around the car show, pose with cars, and play some good music.
You never know where you'll get inspiration from, to learn a new tune! Of all things, I was playing the computer game "Bioshock Infinite"; in it, the hymn "Let the Circle Be Unbroken" is part of the soundtrack, and plays an important role in the plot as well. After humming it for a while, I discovered I could play it on the bagpipes! So I've been doing so recently; it's just a pretty melody that fits so well.
And I heard the hymn "Jerusalem" in an old play "The Star Wagon". As always, if I like a piece of music, I'll see if it fits on the pipes, and it does! So I have a couple new tunes to play for folks/
Every May, I help out the Chula Vista Police Department with their awards ceremony. They were nice enough to give me a certificate of appreciation!
Well, another St. Patrick's Day has come and gone! There's a piper's joke: what do you call the day after St. Patrick's Day? - St. Advil's Day! There's a lot of piping to do on St. Patrick's Day and it can wear you out!
I played at the Tilted Kilt in Mission Valley again (I was there last year, too), then I got to play for a wonderful wedding at the Navel Base Chapel in Point Loma. Here's a picture of me, being an outlaw piper:
"Sign? What sign?"
Of course, the church event was the wedding, so I wasn't disturbing anything. -)
Not many updates recently - the first few months of the year are usually quiet, until St. Patrick's Day, of course.