SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - If Saint Patrick’s Day had a soundtrack, it would be the low drones and high pitched notes of bagpipes.
Nearly all of the groups with bagpipes marching in the parade aren’t from here. While you’re probably used to seeing and hearing bagpipers playing here, there’s only one group that calls Savannah home.
“We are the only local pipe band in town, that’s correct,” said Caleb Harkleroad, Savannah Pipes and Drums.
Formed in 2007, the Savannah Pipes and Drums group first marched in Savannah’s parade in 2008, and Caleb Harkleroad was hooked.
“As a kid watching the parade, I always thought that was the coolest part of the parade,” he said. “So, when I was 14 or 15, I decided that’s what I was going to do. I worked in a pizza place for a summer and saved money and bought a set. Taught myself for a little bit and then joined the band.”
After some lessons from the group’s founder, Harkleroad has now played for about 12 years to an always welcoming Savannah crowd.
“People are always very complementary when we get together and play,” he said. “They stop and film and take pictures, and take pictures with us. It’s always fun because everyone’s just so happy to see it.”
It’s an instrument with many pieces, but Harkleroad says it’s a common misconception that playing it is complicated.
“It’s not as difficult as you think. A lot of people I’ve talked to, that’s kind of hindered them from learning to play,” he said. “It takes, I would say, about a year once you’re on pipes to kind of get the synchronization down, but after that, it’s just practice and stamina. It’s really not as difficult as it looks.”
Maybe not as difficult as you’d expect, but at least as much fun.
“We just have a lot of fun when we get together, so it’s just an enjoyable time.”