Piping at funerals is a beautiful and ancient tradition. The venerable Celtic practice of having a piper play to honor the memory of a deceased person at their funeral has become become very popular in the United States. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has heard the evocative strains of pipe music at a funeral, memorial or burial ceremony.
We understand that on the occasion of a funeral our friends are not able to arrange for the presence of a Piper with as much pre-planning as at other events. Because of this and our desire to help comfort you and your family at an already stressful time, we try our very best to be as available as reasonably possible.
Please feel free to call upon us. We delight in the opportunity to share the living tradition of our music with the family of a person who has just died. We know why you are inviting us to join you on this occasion: our clients invariably tell us “it would have meant so much” to the deceased person. We know that.
In this part of the United States, the Piper most commonly plays outside the funeral as the attendees arrive, and plays a special salute as the coffin is removed from the hearse and carried inside. At your option, the Piper may either play off to the side at this time or may lead the coffin to the doors or inside.
You may also arrange for the Piper to play at the burial. Usually the piper will play at a distance as people arrive and leave their cars to approach the grave, will wait in silence as the graveside ceremony is held, and will play again as the ceremony ends, walking slowly away, thus allowing the music to fade away into the distance.
In any event, what the Piper plays, when and where, is up to you.
Our Pipers know literally hundreds of traditional piping and other tunes and not matter how long we are required to play will never run out of material. Please do not hesitate to request a particular tune. Our Pipers are very highly experienced and will let you know if the piece you are requesting can be played on the pipes.
On the other hand, don’t worry if you are not familiar with the titles of tunes which might be requested; our pipers will always know what is appropriate to play, and if you tell us something about your deceased friend or relative we can also pick out something special. Tell us, for example, if they are their forbears came from Ireland, and even, if you know which county or province – we’ll have music from that part of the country (or let us know if they were Scottish, Italian, Jewish…. we’ve done it all!)
Let us know, also, if the person served in the Armed Forces, and which branch. We can pipe the traditional hymn, song or march of each service. We are also expert at working with Honor Guards provided for service members and those provided by members of the uniformed police, fire and rescue services for the funerals of their deceased brothers and sisters.
A note about traditional music: Our Pipers are deeply steeped in the Celtic piping heritage, and particularly in the Irish piping tradition. Those genres happen to include a large number of “laments” and “airs” which are very appropriate for funerals. This is something which distinguishes our Pipers from others you may have heard who are less experienced with traditional Celtic music. Many pipers know only one tune appropriate to a funeral – perhaps “Amazing Grace”. That’s a lovely hymn that has become an appropriate tradition at funerals in this country; we can and will play it – but we are capable of doing much more as well.
Yes, indeed. Please let us know if you would like a Piper to play at the wake. You or the Piper should speak with the funeral director facilitate this. If the deceased person belonged to an fraternal organization, (especially an Irish one such as the Ancient Order of Hibernians), or a volunteer fire department or lodge, the Piper can lead the members of the group into the room to when they enter to perform their wake service.
The Piper will wear a traditional piping costume, consisting of a kilt, jacket, plaid (shawl), etc.
Our Piper will wear a an Irish style solid coloured kilt or a Scottish style tartan kilt, at your option.
You may arrange for the Piper to play at the burial. Usually the piper will play at a distance as people arrive and leave their cars to approach the grave, will wait in silence as the graveside ceremony is held, and will play again as the ceremony ends, walking slowly away, thus allowing the music to fade away into the distance.
The Piper can play in the church only if the rules of the church allow it and it is pre-arranged with the clergy or musical director. The funeral director can assist with this. At Catholic funerals the Priest will meet and bless the coffin at the door and lead a proscession from there, usually to the sounds of hymn accpompanied by an organ; this usually precludes the use of the pipes at this point. If, again, it is arranged ahead of time, the Piper might play a lament later in the ceremony.