Music Department Gets a Duet

By Elizabeth Romero Student Intern of CHASS College Computing
April 25, 2008

Pianists, cellist, and clarinetist better look out as two new different additions have been added to the Music Department. Since last year, Music students are now able to major in Scottish bagpipes and the drums. Even though these two instruments are just fledglings compared to the other instruments, the bagpipe and drums are just as highly acclaimed.

The students that decide to study the bagpipes and drums are under the instruction of the new instructors Ian Whitelaw (knowing for playing the bagpipes for Groundskeeper Willie in the highly acclaimed cartoon show The Simpsons) and drum instructor Ed Best.

The addition of the bag-pipes and drums continues the connection to UCR's history. UCR has a strong Scottish background: its mascot is the Highlander; such building names as Aberdeen-Inverness, Lothian and Bannockburn are well-known Scottish emphasis and the tartan colors of gold, blue, white, and black are related to Scotland. Walter Clark, chair of the Music Department states that It's at the core of what makes us distinctive'.

Mike Terry, who is the Assistant Director of Physical Plant, was the one who had the idea of adding bagpipes and drums into the Music Department.  Terry first picked up a bag pipe in 1987 which influenced him to create the UCR Pipe Band in 2007.  After Terry read that the only bag pipe major program in the nation was at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he was determined to add UCR on the list. After his suggestion was approved by the department, Whitelaw and Best where chosen to lead instruction.

The addition of bag pipes and drums is just one example of how the Music Department is growing.  Along with the addition of the Center for Iberian and Latin American Music, and other musical programs, the bag pipes and drums are providing students with opportunities to study and participate in music traditions from around the world.


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