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Donald MacDonald – Player and Pipe Maker – Part 1

Competitor, music publisher, and fine instrument maker, Donald MacDonald had a profound impact on the music of his time, and continues to play a significant role in
the music of the highlands today.

Several years ago, the Vermont Institute of Celtic Arts was extremely fortunate to have a set of Highland pipes, made by Donald MacDonald, donated to the school. Since that time, we have measured the set and are now reproducing these historic pipes. Since Donald MacDonald started making pipes in 1806, our set is likely quite close to 200 years old. All of the sections of the pipes are original, but some sections have had some repairing done to them. This set was made out of cocuswood, sometimes called Jamaican ebony. Cocuswood is a very dense tropical hardwood with excellent tonal qualities. The set is mounted with cow bone, and again some of the mounts were damaged at some point, and were replaced with cow horn. Read more below…

  • Iain MacHarg

    Iain MacHarg is the director of the Vermont Institute of Celtic Arts, and a music professor at Norwich University. He holds the Senior Piping Certificate and the Teaching Certificate from the Institute of Piping, Scotland. He has been a familiar face at the highland games since very early in his life and his father, Michael MacHarg, is one of the premier bagpipe builders in the world. In addition to competing as a professional grade solo piper, he has founded four Highland Pipe Bands in Vermont (Catamount Grade 4 & 5, Norwich University, the Green Mountain Highlanders) and has played with several folk groups. Iain’s solo albums and books: Rooted in Tradition, Ceol Na Beinne, Celtic Christmas, and Feadan Mor, a collection of original tunes for the bagpipe are sold worldwide.

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