Piper and Guitarist

Five Ponds Music

 

877.418.6158

MGKerr@FivePondsMusic.com
 

 

 

 

 

 

 






Click on my name (Michael Kerr) for a printable information sheet about my background and experience, and the services I provide for funerals and memorial celebrations.

 

 

 

 



Three trees (Michael Kerr)


We found Michael to have "the three Ps" of piping.  He was Puntual, Professional, and Proficient.

~~~ Jim Buma, Buma Funeral Homes, Massachusetts (2015)

 

 

 





Angel with bagpipes 02 (Michael Kerr)

Contact - Funerals                                                                Tòrraidhean

Angel with Bagpipes 01 (Michael Kerr) to replace



The bagpipe contributes to a funeral or memorial ceremony like no other instrument can.  It dignifies the occasion, when played professionally and with respect.

With more than forty years of experience, I have played at many, many, funerals and have worked closely with funeral directors and families all over New England and New York.  I am flexible in my approach, and I adapt my playing and positioning to satisfy almost any request.  I am always professional in my deportment.

I am also generally available, any day of the week.

So if you fill in the form below, I will get back to you within an hour or two to discuss details.  Or you can call me.  My phone number is on the left.

Lastly, a little further down this page I have outlined some of the ways in which the pipes are used at a funeral, in case this is unfamiliar to you.

With more than forty years of experience, I have played at many, many, funerals and have worked closely with funeral directors and families all over New England and New York. I am flexible in my approach, and I adapt my playing and positioning to satisfy almost any request. I am always professional in my deportment.
I am also generally available, any day of the week.
So if you fill in the form below, I will get back to you within an hour or two to discuss details. Or you can call me.  My phone number is on the left.
Lastly, a little further down this page, I have outlined some of the ways in which the pipes are used at a funeral, in case this is unfamiliar to you.

Families who wish to pay special tribute to their Irish or Scottish heritage during a funeral or memorial service will oftentimes make quite liberal use of the bagpipe.  They frequently ask for some music to be played before and after the church or funeral home ceremony and, again, at different times during the gathering at the cemetery.  Sometimes, I am asked to provide music for the wake.  In that case, unless the family specifically prefers the Highland pipes, I will play guitar or smallpipes because of their softer tones and their particular suitability for indoor use.

In my experience, though, the most common way in which I am asked to help is for me to play the Highland pipes, according to this sequence:
    - outside the church as guests and family arrive, playing until everyone moves inside;
    - outside the church as people exit the building and until they are in their cars;
    - at the cemetery as the procession arrives (I having arrived there ahead of the group);
    - after the final prayer is said or Taps is played;
    - and then as people file away from the cemetery.

In all cases, I do whatever I can to accommodate the wishes of the family.

When I play, I stand at a comfortable and respectful distance.  I also play tunes that are appropriate for the occasion.  At the church or funeral home, this usually means slow, evocative, Gaelic airs.  At the cemetery, Amazing Grace is the most requested piece for after the prayer or the playing of Taps; while for the rest of the time at the cemetery I play more Gaelic airs and other heartfelt pipe tunes. Of course, I also play special requests.

Some of the tunes that are regularly asked for include:
     - Amazing Grace
     - Going Home
from Dvorák’s “New World Symphony”
     - Hector the Hero
     - Flowers of the Forest
     - Derry Air
(also known as Londonderry Air or O! Danny Boy)
     - The Mist Covered Mountains
(or Chì Mi na Mòrbheanna)

I am able to suggest others besides these, and will often send sound files for review or play them into the telephone.

Thistles, Macomb, NY (Michael Kerr)

He who is sunk in deep distress,
And has a grief he can't express,
Who feels a woe too deep for tears,
A heavy sorrow nothing cheers,
    Will in the bagpipe find a vent
    For all the anguish in him pent;
    Its sympathetic voice will cheer
    When all around is dark and drear.
                             
from “The Hieland Pipes” (19th century)