Rhapsody Arts Center

David Bradley

Bagpipes And Violin

davidQuestionable moral fiber and two memories of bagpipes at a young age got David playing the Scottish Highland bagpipe. In the first memory, he couldn’t have been more than four or five but clearly remembers his father marching up and down the driveway after work playing his way through the College of Piping Tutor. It was the sign that everyone in the family was back where they belonged after the school/work day was over. In the second, he was perhaps 9 or 10 and at a symphony concert that was featuring bagpipes (no, really) and remembers being incredibly excited about hearing the band and about seeing the cool guys in their feather hats. Normally an exceedingly shy kid, David was squirming around in his seat from the excitement and this nasty old lady next to him told him to hush up and quit moving around. He didn’t move another muscle the entire evening but has had his revenge since and can squirm all he wants on the other end of the bagpipes now.

David didn’t really pick up the pipes until much later (age 15) when he was looking for a way to rebel against having played the violin since age four. He taught himself a few tunes, a few exercises, and a few bad habits and had a great time with it all but didn’t get serious about playing until 1995 when he was “studying” at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. David worked those six months under the tutelage of one David Duncan, former Scot’s Guardsman who was in his late 70’s at the time and who didn’t have the least patience for any of this “new fangled hot shot stuff” that current bands were turning out. After finishing college and back in the States again in grad school David fell in with a group of non Shriner bagpipers who were hanging out at the Zor Shrine Pipe Band in Madison at the time. There seemed to be a quorum so in 1997 they formalized themselves into the Badger Pipes and Drums, which, in 2002 became the Madison Pipes and Drums. David has played with the band since and is currently band manager, Pipe Sergeant, and sometimes stand-in drummer. David has taught bagpipes on and off since 2000 and has been concentrating on solo competing in area Highland Games at the Grade III level.