Richard Hendren: Submariner Piper

My folks had a couple of albums of piping tunes and I heard them often as a child. I spent time stationed in Holy Loch, Scotland while in the Navy and attended the Cowell Games and really came to enjoy the emotive quality of the pipes.

I started with the Zenobia Highlanders but found that I really preferred to play solo memorials.

The piper at my father's graveside made a huge impression on me and I wanted to provide that service for other families, especially military memorials.

As a learning piper, I struggled with basic musicality. The pipe band got me to where I could read music but I struggled with rhythm and still do. Memorizing music is also a great challenge for me.

I've only thought about quitting every day that I have a bad practice session... but having played every day with few exceptions over several years keeps me at it!

The Dojo has pushed me to go back and learn the basics, rhythm, clean fingering, and solid tone. I also think it keeps me engaged because I am darn frugal and need to get value for my money!

Since joining the Dojo, I am both more comfortable and confident in my piping. I have had some good teachers, Sandy Jones, Cam Nixon, and the rest of the crew at NAAPD that got me lined out on tuning but the Dojo improved my blowing steady clear tone.

It is getting easier as I have un-learned some old habits and replaced them with new ones. My fingering is better but still needs work, especially on the more complex movements.

I have gained more confidence in my piping, and that is in no small part due to my involvement with the Dojo method and fine instructors.

I recently attended a reunion for the crew of a submarine I served on and was honored to play during the memorial for our departed shipmates.

Richard Hendren, Texas, United States

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Bagpipes and the United States Military

From its origin in Scottish clans and culture, the Great Highland Bagpipe has long been associated with the military.

Especially in more recent history, the Highland Regiments of the British Armed Forces, and some of the Lowland Regiments as well, have had bagpipers since their first formation.

The United States Armed Forces has historically had a very close relationship with the British – so the spread of the bagpipes was inevitable.