Bagpipes Prepping for St. Patrick’s Day

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The hum of bagpipes fills the air every St. Patrick’s Day.

“When you hear it, it makes the hairs on your arm stand up and it’s just a wonderful sound,” said bagpiper Derek McDaniel.

The Medinah Highlanders

The Medinah Highlanders are one of the most successful groups in the Midwest, regularly winning competitions. Their band, consisting of bagpipers and drummers, practice every Wednesday evening.

“This band is so much fun,” said Chief of the Highlanders James “Fergie” Ferguson. “I think what happens is we lose what we’re doing only because we’re having fun and that’s what keeps me going. I love this band, I really do.”

An Emotional Tune

The group always finishes their practices with a special rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’, which Fergie said often brings up emotions both in the musicians and those listening.

“I think it goes back to the history of the bagpipes, understanding that this was a war instrument, a lot of lives were lost,” said bagpiper Adam Bryant. “When you heard a bagpipe, predominantly it was either to declare you were engaging an opponent or used to celebrate someone’s life in some sort of retreat, so it’s going to have some sort of emotion attached to it.”

Gearing Up For The Parade

All that practice gets the highlanders in tune for parade season.

You can catch the Medinah Highlanders marching in the Naperville St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 14. It’s also become a tradition to play at Quigley’s Irish Pub and then Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant when they’re done.

For a Good Cause

There, the Medinah Highlanders will show off their skills, but also raise money for the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“It’s a wonderful, amazing cause and when you have kids at home, I have three, it really hits home and it really makes you aware of what you’re doing and what you’re able to give back,” said McDaniel.

Bringing some amazing grace to the public and kids in need.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.


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