Lake Country This Month

October, 2016

Lake Country This Month

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By Andrea Fencl Freeman Staff DELAFIELD — Using antique tools, a solid block of wood is handcrafted into a one-of-a-kind instrument with deep cultural ties — bagpipes. A recent docu- mentary film titled "Hands On" features five artisan crafters including Brian Donaldson, a Delafield community member who creates handmade bag- pipes. Donaldson grew up in the small village of Cardenden in Fife, Scotland. "My father taught me the bagpipes when I was 5 years old," Donaldson said. "I adored the bagpipes, I adored playing music. I fell in love with the whole ambience of the instru- ment — everything that surrounded it." When Donaldson was 15 years old, he went to a shop where he started his apprenticeship making bagpipes in 1972. "As soon as I walked into the shop I was just in awe of the machinery and the method by which bagpipes were handcrafted," said Donaldson. In 1978 Donaldson enlist- ed in Her Majesty's Scots Guards and served for 22 years. Once retired from the military, Donaldson took over the shop where he had apprenticed. Through the military, Donaldson was able to make connections with people in the United States that would prove useful when Jack Albert Jr., presi- dent of St. John's North- western Military Academy in Delafield, was searching for a new bagpipe instruc- tor. "I was head-hunted," Donaldson said, explaining that he'd received a call and was invited to check out the school. Donaldson was impressed. The 132-year-old institu- tion sits on 110 acres off Genesee Street. The mili- tary roots reminded Don- aldson of his Scots Guards service, making for a com- fortable transition when he started his position in 2012. The president of the acade- my had all of Donaldson's tools shipped from Scot- land to the school. Donaldson enjoys his job as a bagpipe instructor, teaching about three to five classes a day. "The look of surprise in their eyes when they can pick up a set of bagpipes and play music on them is very satisfying to me," Don- aldson said. "Don't get me wrong, it's hard work, but at the end of the day I take a great deal of satisfaction out of the fact that these kids lear ned a lot. They have lear ned to play the most difficult instrument in the world to play and I say that without fear of contradiction." The old-fashioned way Donaldson claims the fin- ger technique alone is very intricate and unique to the bagpipes. He says there is nothing like making an instrument by hand. "It's a feeling of creating a musical instrument with your hands, in particular when you set the instru- ment up and you get a par- ticular sound that you have created, that's what I enjoy," Donaldson said. "I can do things with my hands that no machine can emulate." Donaldson feels that mak- ing bagpipes with machines requires no skill. "There's an awful lot to be said for the hands-on approach," said Donaldson. Survivors mark cancer journeys with ink Lake Country T H I S M O N T H INSIDE PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PAID WAUKESHA, WI PERMIT NO. 3 247138007 252311001 Candy will be collected Tuesday, November 1, 2016 From 4pm – 6pm Michael J. Schneidler, DDS Alexander W. Silvia, DMD 9 t h A nn u a l H a l l o w ee n C a n dy B u y B ac k Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter: The FREEMAN & ENTERPRISE OCTOBER 2016 Page 3A Barbara Eash antiques column Page 4A Andrea Fencl/ Freeman Staff Brian Donaldson beside his workbench, where he creates pieces to make handcrafted bag- pipes. The process takes Donaldson three weeks from start to finish if he focuses solely on making the bagpipes. HIGHLAND HANDACRAFTER Chenequa • Delafield • Hartland • Merton • Nashotah • Okauchee • Pewaukee How to get YOUR news into Lake Country This Mont h We want your community news! We will publish the happenings at your schools and community groups — as well as everyday items and we need your help to get these announcements and pictures published. Submissions must be typed or emailed. No handwritten submissions will be accept- ed. Please identify people in photos. Please send news items and photos to: Delafield bagpipe maker featured in documentary Focus on breast cancer awareness ABCDs of fighting cancer Page 2A Taraska back at Arrowhead in new role SPORTS / Page 4B See BAGPIPES, PAGE 3A

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