I grew up in a family blessed with a strong history of pipers and drummers. My family was very instrumental in the founding of The Royal Ulster Pipes and Drums of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 20's. In the mid 60's, the band split and this time, my family became the co-founders of what became known as the First Highland Watch of Pennsylvania.
In the early 70's, I began the process of learning how to play the Great Highland War Pipes under the tutelage of Pipe Major, Henry Boyd of the First Highland Watch (FHW).
At the age of 11, I was on full pipes and regularly attended band practice. By 13, I had become the youngest full time member of the FHW. I participated with the corps as a private for approximately 1 1/2 years moving up to the rank of Corporal.
Achieving the rank of Pipe Seargent at age 15, I began to march front line. It was at this time that I began to receive additional musical instruction from Casey Jones, a former piper with the Airforce Pipe band.
The First Highland Watch split in 1981 and at the age of 16, I was honored with being offered the position of Pipe Major with the new corps, Lansdale Pipes and Drums. Kindly declining, I continued as a member of the FHW. It was at this time that I began to do private piping jobs playing at parties, weddings and funerals. Over the years, I have had the opportunities to jam with people and groups such as Pete Seager, Charlie Zahm, P.V. O'Donnell, Tanahill Weavers, Clancy Brothers, Glengary Bhoys, Argyle and Sutherland of Canada, and Cameron Highlanders of Canada.
In 1990, I moved to Connecticut and joined the Gaelic Highland Pipe Band (GHPB) of New Haven as a Pipe Seargant and co-Pipe Major. While participating with GHPB, I saw the need for a pickup corps to take on other functions and co-founded Taggart Pipes and Drums in August 1990.
In the mid 1990's, while still functioning with the two corps, I again saw the need to put together a more customized corps and co-founded an ensemble or mini pipe band to play at weddings, pubs, small festivals and the like. This corps is known as Scotch on the Rocks or SOTR.
SOTR has been very successful and has become recognized as the official pipe band of WPLR, 99.1, a leading radio station based in New Haven, CT. The band has performed at grand openings for Wal-Mart stores as well as Anna Liffey's Pub in New Haven. We have opened for Clancy Brothers and Rod Stewart.
Music is an integral part of my life. Although I now Pipe Major two pipe corps, I am still a member of GHPB, offer private lessons and remain busy with private jobs.