From 1992 to 1997 I was the Band's Drum Major, and the highlight for me was becoming Queensland Champion Drum Major in 1996, and again in 2002. However, in 1995, I was asked by a good friend of ours (Sally H), if I would do her the honour of piping her down the aisle at her wedding. I replied that I would love to, BUT I don't play the pipes, and after explaining that I was actually the Drum Major, I suggested that Neil would do a wonderful job for her. So, on the day of Sally's wedding, Liz and I were in the church, and the Minister asked everyone to stand. We could hear the pipes starting at the back of the church, and Neil slow marched down the aisle, and past us, playing Amazing Grace, followed by Sally and her Dad, and at that moment I turned to Liz and saidâ€¦"I should be doing that", and the rest as they say...
It was one of the best decisions that I have ever made, and even though I didn't have a musical bone in my body, and was tone deaf, and couldn't read music, I persevered, and within 12 months, I too was able to play Amazing Grace. That was the tonic that I needed, and I continued my tuition with Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band and also had lessons from the wonderful Doug Thoresen, and eventually was deemed competent enough to become a playing member of the Pipe Band.
Playing with the Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band has given me some wonderful opportunities to play at many great events and competitions, and the opportunity to travel overseas for 5 years in a row. We had tremendous competition success, being crowned Queensland Champions in Grade 3 twice, and in 2005, we won the New Zealand Pipe Band Championship. This was a huge achievement for a civilian Australian Pipe Band, and it had the effect of giving us tremendous exposure and great press coverage. It resulted in us being invited to take part in the biggest Celtic Festival in the world, the 2006 Interceltique Festival de Lorient, in Brittany France. What an experience that was, and from that event we were then invited to represent Queensland and Australia at the first ever International Military Tattoo in Red Square in Moscow, the 2007 Kremlin Zoria. These were some of the incredible highlights in a wonderful Pipe Band career with Ipswich Thistle Pipe Band.
In 2009, after the 100th Anniversary of the Pipe Band, I decided to leave the Band, to go solo and set up my own business as a solo Piper/entertainer, and so Aussie-Scot Events â€“ Bagpipes for ALL Occasions, was formed.
For many years I have been fortunate to have been asked to be a part of many memorable events and occasions, including weddings, funerals, memorial services, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events, and what has now become probably my "niche calling", I perform my "Morning Melodies with Piper Joe" concerts at nursing homes, respite centres and aged care facilities. These concerts give me tremendous satisfaction, as I see the joy and happiness on the faces of our "elder citizens", as they enjoy the tunes on the pipes, the sing-a-longs, and the stories from my many and varied exploits from my piping experiences from around the world.
Life as a Piper has certainly been a very entertaining one, and there is never a dull moment.
I am available for any occasions, and mostly anywhere, and because this is my business, I am normally available at short notice for funerals etc. I hope you enjoy browsing the site, and please feel free to contact me for advice and information on events that you may be considering.