More Than Just Bagpipes

A Look At A Special Student


Kaitlyn Starry, Staff Writer

Most people learn instruments like the violin or guitar. While that is true for James Fox, a student at GHS, he has another instrument under his belt, the bagpipes.  Out of the instruments that James plays, he claims that the bagpipes are his favorite instrument. When asked how loud the bagpipes were he responded, “ If a group of 20 bagpipers played in the basement of a church, they’d lose their heading for 3 hours.” James Fox, who plays in concerts around the New England area, started playing bagpipes at the age of thirteen. “My teacher who lives in Concord is Leslie Webster. Her husband in the ’90s was the personal piper to Queen Elizabeth the second.”

James plays in concerts around New England he has said that he does it for fun and that his concerts are a big part of his love for bagpipes. But this wasn’t the case at first. On James’s first concert, he had felt pretty scared, “the bagpipes are loud and everyone can hear if you mess up.” His first concert was in the Manchester St Patrick parade 2022, and the temperatures were bad for bag piping. “I had made a lot of mistakes because it was so cold, but the biggest upside is that everyone loves you.”

James’ last performance “was Holiday Play in Hampton, and a big difference between the most concerts is they fed us afterward.” Performances last anywhere between 15 minutes and 2 hours. The basic attire that James wears for concerts is his kilt, dress shirt, vest, dress socks, a ceremonial knife, sporran, and a Glengarry cap. James says the worst thing about bagpipes is “The fact that it takes 15 minutes to set up.” and his favorite thing is “how well they can move a crowd both figuratively and literally.”

So what had inspired James to start playing? “Well when I was younger I saw a bag-piper out on the streets playing.” James’ next performance will be in the Casco Bay solo competition on February 4th. James would like others to know he is  “more than just [his] bagpipes and if you ever see [him] you are always welcome to say ‘hi’.”