Some of the funeral services
Mike can provide for you…
At a church or crematorium funeral, what could be more moving and memorable than the hearse being led in by a lone piper playing a sombre slow air.
There are no rules about when a piper should play at a funeral, whether it's marching the hearse to the chapel, leading the coffin to the altar or playing a tune during the service, it's your choice. Mike is always happy discuss this with you. He's also happy to talk about which tunes would be suitable and when would be best time to play them.
Mike likes to speak to the funeral director and the minister or celebrant to make sure he knows, when and where he's expected to play during the service, so that everything runs smoothly.
Some of the uses of a piper at a funeral...
Mike has a wide repertoire and will endeavour to play any request. Here are some of the tunes that Mike has been asked to play at weddings and funerals over the years.
Abide with Me/Eventide ~ Amazing Grace ~ Auld Lang Syne
Cwm Rhondda/Bread of Heaven ~ Caledonia ~ Flower of Scotland
Flowers of the Forest ~ Highland Cathedral ~ Going Home/Largo
Londonderry Air/Danny Boy ~ Mingulay Boat Song ~ Mist Covered Mountains
Morag of Dunvegan ~ Mull of Kintyre ~ My Home ~ Scotland the Brave
Skye Boat Song ~ Sleep Dearie, Sleep ~ The Dark Island
The Day Thou Gavest Lord has Ended ~ The Green Hills of Tyrol
The Minstrel Boy ~ The Rose of Kelvingrove ~ When the Battle’s O’er
About the tunes...
Abide with Me / Eventide
A traditional hymn. It is often sung at military services and has been a regular part of the F.A. Cup Final build-up for nearly 100 years.
This is one of the most famous tunes played on the pipes. It is a favourite as a funeral farewell.
Auld Lang Syne
The song has words by Robert Burns, that remember old friends with the hope that they will meet again.
Cwm Rhondda / Bread of Heaven
The famous Welsh hymn, also known as "Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer".
A modern, but timeless tune, written by Dougie MacLean in 1977. The chorus of the song features the line "Caledonia, you're calling me, and now I'm going home”.
Flower of Scotland
This slow air is one of the best-known Scottish tunes, even though it was only written in the 1960’s. A lively version is sung at Scotland’s international rugby matches as the National Anthem. I was part of the band that played it at the Stade de France in Paris for the France v Scotland Six Nations match way back in 2005. An amazing experience!
Flowers of the Forest
The classic lament played at funerals and memorials. Composed 500 years ago as a lament for the thousands who died at the Battle of Flodden Field in 1513.
A fairly recent tune that quickly became a classic bagpipe tune and is now one of Scotland's unofficial national anthems.
Going Home / Largo
Written by Dvorak, it is part of his New World or 9th Symphony. It is perhaps better known as "that tune from the Hovis advert".
Londonderry Air / Danny Boy
Perhaps better known as “Danny Boy”, this is one of the classic Irish tunes.
Mingulay Boat Song
An old folk song that tells of sailors heading back home to the Scottish island of Mingulay. A nice lilting tune that can help lighten the moment.
Morag of Dunvegan
A Western isles love song about a young man who is captivated by his sweetheart, Morag. No matter what he's doing, travelling, playing the pipes, everything seems to remind him of her and his wish to marry her and live in Dunvegan.
Mull of Kintyre
A big hit for Paul McCartney and Wings in the 1970’s. Originally it featured the pipes as more of a backing, but the tune can be played as a nice slow air.
A military slow march, appropriate for leading the hearse to the church or crematorium. It was played by the massed pipes & drums at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's funeral and, along with "Mist Covered Mountains", at the Queen Mother's funeral in 2002.
Scotland the Brave
What could be more Scottish than this classic quick march.
Skye Boat Song
A very well known and popular slow air.
Sleep Dearie, Sleep
A farewell lament, suitable for a graveside committal. Played by the Queen's Piper at the funeral of Queen Elizabeth.
The Dark Island
A haunting tune, although it seems like one of those really old laments, it was written as recently as 1963 for a BBC series called the Dark Island.
The Day Thou Gavest Lord has Ended
A lovely hymn, so suitable for a Funeral and a farewell to a loved one.
The Green Hills of Tyrol
One of the best known and oldest tunes played by pipers and pipe bands. It refers to a remote corner of Austria and was originally from the opera “William Tell” by Rossini. Andy Stewart added words to it, and it became known as “The Scottish Soldier”.
The Minstrel Boy
A lovely Irish tune that can be played as a slow or a quick march.
The Rose of Kelvingrove
Another tune written in the 1960’s, a less sombre tune that can help to lift the spirits.
When the Battle’s O’er
A retreat march that was one of the traditional marches back to barracks for the highland regiments. This one sounds nice in a funeral setting when played as a slow march.
Mike also enjoys playing at Burns Suppers
Mike can . . .
- Pipe in the Guests or Top Table.
- Pipe in the Haggis.
- Address the Haggis with Robert Burns’ traditional ‘Address to the Haggis’.
- Play during and/or after the meal.