When one thinks of bagpipes, Mississippi doesn’t automatically spring to mind. Instead, it’s usually images of Scotland with its fields of heather and its crumbling castles. Yet, for those of us who have attended at least one of Mal's St. Paddy’s Parades here in the capitol city of Jackson or been to the annual Celtic Fest at the Mississippi Agricultural & Forestry Museum, bagpipes (and drums) are indeed becoming a part of the Mississippi cultural landscape.
There are currently three pipe and drum bands in the state. The Mississippi Sound Pipes & Drums is based in Gulfport and Hattiesburg hosts the Hub City Pipes & Drums. But only one has the distinction of being the first and only Scottish Highland pipes and drums band operating under a non-profit charter granted by the State of Mississippi. It is also the largest performing group of Scottish pipers and drummers in the state. Meet the Father of Waters Pipes and Drums Band, founded in August, 2001 by Band Master Kris Carmichael.
In the photo to the left, Margaret Carmichael adjusts the volume on the playback as her husband Kris listens, obviously pleased with what he hears.
Kris, a past president of the Caledonian Society of Mississippi and the 1996 Mississippi Scottish Highland Games, as well as the founder of the East Mississippi Scottish Society, saw the need for an organization such as this.
His goal is to “propagate and teach the arts of Scottish Highland piping and drumming” in order that “the communities and State of Mississippi might be enriched with a knowledge and sense of our Celtic heritage.”
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