I started my piping career as a snare drummer! Competing as a drummer for over 15 years, I learned to play the pipes informally around the same time. Whilst predominantly self-taught, I learned a lot from watching and listening to my father playing at home, gradually making improvements alongside my drumming.
My wife, Rachel, encouraged me to enter an amateur solo piping competition in 2011 which yielded some good success early on. This motivated me to take my piping seriously, and following that success I begain taking lessons from the National Piping Centre and the RSPBA Northern Ireland Branch school.
I'm currently in the position of Pipe Sergeant at St. Mary’s Derrytrasna pipe band from Armagh, and we were recently promoted to Grade 2. I have previously played for Closkelt for 3 seasons in Grade 2 and have been Pipe Major of the Cashel pipe band for 2 seasons in Grade 4B.
I currently compete at senior solo level in Ireland, having won the All-Ireland and Ulster intermediate solo piping titles in 2017.
My first tunes date back to 2005 during my late-teenage years. However, it was not until aroud 2009 that I started composing and rearranging music a bit more regularly, with the majority being from the period 2014-2020.
Special personal influences in my career are my parents (John & Mary), my wife (Rachel), Jim Butler and David Chesney. The top soloists, bands and their musical leaders continue to always be a source of influence also.
My arrangements of tunes and/or harmony were due to be heard in grades 3,2 & 1 in 2020 and other arrangements have been part of Grade 2 & 3 domestic and major championship winning medleys in 2019 and in previous seasons. It would be a tremendous honour if my compositions were to make it to the grade 1 competition arena or concert stage.
Early in the 2020 lockdown I came close to loosing all my files, which prompted me to put them together with enough original material for a book. Initially solely for the purpose of posterity. I then decided to have the collection published and ‘The Late-Night Collection’ of bagpipe music is now finally available. I was overwhelmed by the popularity it gained in the UK and Ireland as well as internationally.
I have learned a lot from the process and look forward to revising and expanding on this collection in the near future.