Michael's family came from the Isle of Tiree, off the west coast of Scotland, over to Canada, then down to Michigan. He first heard the pipes in Kincardine, Ontario where some of the family had settled, and the sound touched him, and he started lessons at 10 years old. The passion for piping started then and has only grown through the years. Michael has passed on the tradition to his son, and is now teaching his Grandson who is 9, and has taught hundreds of students over the years.
At 16 years old, Michael was playing with a Grade 2 Pipe Band, traveling around the country and Canada competing and won many medals and trophies in both solo and band competitions.
Michael has studied under some of the best pipers in the world at the College of Piping and the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, Scotland, at Ceolas, the premier Gaelic and Piping school in Scotland on the Isle of South Uibst, and at the Gaelic College in Nova Scotia.
Michael's solo Bagpipe CD “Come to the Hills” has sold thousands, and features Michael playing the Great Highland Bagpipes made by David Glen in 1860, the Cauld Wind Bellows pipes made by Hamish Moore and the Low Whistle in D. They are available for purchase at claymoreimports.com.
Michael says that the greatest compliment he received on his CD was when George Benson bought one. He said “I remember buying his CDs back in the day, but who could ever imagine that he would buy mine!”
He has been recorded in the studio and on stage to be featured on CDs of 5 different bands.
He plays an antique set of pipes made by the legendary pipe maker Peter Henderson. They are African Blackwood, ivory and hand carved Sterling Silver, made in 1880. The sound is truly from another time when things were crafted by hand, and now mellowed with age. Also, Border Pipes, from the Scottish Border area are available and have a lower pitch and less volume, or Parlor Pipes can be played indoors and are quite quiet.
Michael has been a featured Piper in a Hollywood movie with Burt Reynolds and Raquel Welch, and also an Indie movie where he was the wedding Piper.
He has also played for celebrities like Dick Van Dyke, Cheryl Ladd and Canadian hockey legend Don Cherry.
He was featured as the Piper for the Tilted Kilt on the reality TV series “Undercover Boss”.
Michael has played on stage with the Chieftains at the Mesa Center for the Arts, at the Orpheum Theater with the Jimmy Dunn Band, at Symphony Hall for President George Bush and opened for Celtic Women at the Dodge Theater.
He did a one man show on stage at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts called “Bagpipes 101”, played at ASU Stadium for the Pat Tillman Run, and played a concert at Tim's Toyota Arena in Prescott.
He has opened several times for Scottish singer Jim Malcolm, formerly the lead singer for the Old Blind Dogs, and played jam sessions with the same group.
He has played at the Capital Building for the opening of the legislature in Arizona, as well as for the last 5 Governors of Arizona and the wedding for one of their daughters.
Michael's Piping adventurers have taken him to far flung locations. He was flown to New York to play a funeral for a prominent attorney and former assistant to John D. Rockefeller, Governor of New York, flown to Tahoe to play for the opening of a private Golf Course, then to Las Vegas twice for celebrity weddings. He played destination weddings in Napa, Peter Island BVI and in the Scilly Islands off the Cornwall Coast in England.
He played the pipes at sunset to close the day on a cruise in the British Virgin Islands, was asked to play a concert at the College of Piping in Glasgow for the Charter Members and played from the crow's nest of a tall ship for the closing ceremonies of the Tall Ships Race in Greenock, Scotland.
Most recently, he just returned from Italy where he played the wedding for Drew Scott, one of the Property Brothers on TV. It was featured in People Magazine and on his TV show.
The Westin Kierland Resort in Scottsdale Arizona has picked Michael to be their resident Bagpiper, playing every night at sunset on the golf course to close the day. He has been there 15 years and is an integral part of the hotel experience.
They even have his image on a beer tap called “Piper's Pale Ale”.
He also finds time to donate his Piping skills for the Maricopa County Sheriff Department Honor Guard.
Michael played for a wedding the first time at 14 years old, and that was over 50 years ago and has played over 1,000 weddings since, so you are getting an experienced Piper.
He has supported himself and his family as a professional Piper for over 30 years, and has owned and run a Scottish import shop and kilt rental facility for over 20 years. His dedication to Piping, and his professionalism will ensure your event is perfection.