Toni DeVore: The Calling

After a trip to Scotland, I discovered a friend was a piper and decided to take a couple practice chanter classes with him. I really didn't have a specific goal but had always wanted to play an instrument. I had no idea of the challenges the bagpipe would bring. My grandmother's maiden name was MacDonald and her husband a Grant. As I began to investigate my ancestry, piping also seemed to "call to me."

I discovered early on that an abundance of talent was not in my DNA but determination and willingness to learn were strengths that would help me in my bagpipe journey. My greatest struggle was having a very limited music background. Rhythm did not come easy to me and memorizing a tune took forever. I must admit there are days that I have considered throwing my pipes overboard (on the piping cruise) or using the drone sticks for kindling.

Fortunately, a bandmate found the Dojo and suggested I listen to the Wednesday noon presentations with Andrew and Vince. When I retired, there were classes in the mornings that fit my schedule....I rarely miss a 7:30 or 8:30 class.

The Dojo Community is a great place to address my piping needs, from rhythm to technique and everything in between. I find the instructors patient, competent, and truly interested in promoting piping at all levels. Before the Dojo I was hesitant to do anything but try to play my I change my own reeds, hemp joints, attack a new tune a measure at a time and also feel if I get stuck on something there is someone that will offer me positive advice.

The Dojo has provided me with some very good friends and allowed me to meet, take classes from, and benefit from the experiences of world class pipers. I could never have met so many world class pipers without the Dojo. The amount of expertise I've been exposed to is phenomenal. As a former educator (40 Years) I have again become the student. I have found in the Dojo the same enthusiasm for teaching that I felt. I try to be the student they can point to and say....just look how far she has come! Thanks Dojo!

Toni D from Parkersburg, WV

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