Gary Krueger

 

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 Sterling Heights, Warren

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Image

Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News


Gary Krueger teaches a bagpipers' class at a Macomb Community College class to students ranging from a father-son team, to a local firefighter and a pediatrician.

Bagpipes spark interest

MCC class caters to all ages who want to learn the highlands tradition

By Anjali J. Sekhar / The Detroit News

Image

Ankur Dholakia / The Detroit News


Class instructor David Mandy introduced the class as a bagpipe playing workshop in September.

Bagpipe workshop

What: Bagpipe workshop, "Just Nine Blasted Notes"

When: Wednesdays beginning June 2 through Aug. 4

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Anchor Bay Middle School, 52801 Ashley, New Baltimore

Fee: $100

Phone: (586) 498-4000

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STERLING HEIGHTS — When Mark King told his 6-year-old son, Jacob, that he would soon begin piano lessons, Jacob said he had other plans — to learn to play the bagpipes.

“I think I liked the way they sound or the way they looked,” said Jacob of Sterling Heights.

Jacob did start his piano lessons, but the first-grader’s wish came true earlier this year, when he and his father enrolled in Macomb Community College’s beginner bagpipe class.

The two are among about 20 in the class, which is becoming more popular.

The college first introduced the class as a bagpipe playing workshop in September, said Gary Krueger, an instructor who teaches along with his own teacher, David Clark. About 15 people registered for the first class.

Since then, those taking the class have shown quite a commitment, Krueger said. About 85 percent of the students in the first semester returned this past semester for further training.

And the backgrounds of those taking the class are quite diverse. Students range from the King father-son team to a local firefighter to a pediatrician.

While some of the students have Scottish or Irish backgrounds, others took up the instrument for emotional reasons. Kirk Lee of Eastpointe, the firefighter in the class, said he was inspired during a memorial service to those who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Seeing all those hundreds of bagpipers marching by Madison Square Garden paying tribute was really something,” Lee said. “It’s an ancient instrument that’s something most people don’t play.”

Those who started the class hope it will one day include other classes, such as dance and drumming, said Krueger, who teaches the Great Highland piping style.

“We want to expand ... to a whole Scottish heritage program,” said Krueger, who began learning to play the instrument four years ago. “There’s a big call out there for us to teach.”

People like Lee, who just completed his first semester, had to first learn how to read sheet music. Little Jacob, who already reads sheet music, has to grow into learning how to breathe properly to blow into the pipes.

But Krueger said everyone is advancing quite well and seems to be interested in learning more.

“We’re having a great time with this,” he said. “It’s a complicated instrument, and most of them came back.”

This fall, the class will move from locations in Anchor Bay schools to the college’s music and art department, Krueger said. The department is on Center Campus in Clinton Township.

You can reach Anjali J. Sekhar at (586) 826-7236 or asekhar@ detnews.com.


 


 

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