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Andrew Lenz's bagpipe journeyAndrew
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Andrew Lenz's Grandfather and the "Rare Uillean Bagpipes."

Here's an article from 1982 announcing an charity event featuring Warren Penniman, my grandfather, who was 68 years old at the time.

If you know much about types of bagpipes, you are undoubtedly scratching your head over the description of my grandfather's pipes: "rare authentic Uillean bagpipes." First off, that set of pipes isn't particularly rare. Second, they are most definitely not Uilleann pipes, nor are they even Irish. They're Scottish. And that makes them not exactly authentic either!

As for where the embellishing snuck in, it's hard to say. Someone knew that uillean pipes (not in the average person's vernacular) are indeed Irish, and while it may have been the reporter (which I doubt), it was either my grandfather (who was honest gentleman almost to a fault) or it was someone else involved with the event. We'll probably never know . . .

The chanter on the pipes is a McLeod make. At some point it snapped while in my grandfather's possession (before his death in 1986) around the High-G/High-A holes and replaced it with a Naill chanter. [I have since learned that someone sat on his chanter at a party.] I have the Naill [sold it in 2007 to have it played along with set of bagpipes that belonged to the late famous John Wilson of Canada] and I still have the McLeod, usually sits next to my computer at home, funny enough.

Just a side note, the "disaster relief" they are talking about is what those in Santa Cruz County refer to as "the '82 storm" which took place about a month earlier than the above article was published. It knocked out services to half the city when the fallen redwood trees piled up like 'pick-up sticks' around the supports of a four-lane bridge and knocked down half of it—taking all the cabling with it, such as phone, power, etc. My school (Harbor High) baseball field was under enough water that a group of people hopped in a rowboat and paddled out across the outfield—made for some good pictures. A lot of people needed assistance. Hence the change of typical donation recipients.

If you haven't read it yet, you may be interested to read how my grandfather "earned" his set of pipes. Or you may wish to read about my attempts to identify the maker of his pipes.

This page last updated Sunday, March 14, 2010.
Page first created February 6, 2004.

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