St. Edmund's Pipes & Drums
"All the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them." (1 Kings 1:40)
The Mystic Pipes & Drums was founded in May 2019 by experienced local musicians who wanted to become more than a street band (i.e., just performing in parades). Fr. Tom became acquainted with their president, John Mauritz, and began taking bagpipe lessons as well as introducing some of the young men in our recovery program to the pipes.
Early in the pandemic, the band began to rehearse outside at Enders Island and a new tradition was born. The group joined forces with Enders Island, was renamed as the St. Edmund's Pipes and Drums, and the instruction of pipers and drummers was formally incorporated into our Sacred Art Institute.
Pipes & Drums as a Sacred Art
The Oxford History of Music traces the first bagpipe to the Middle East, during King David’s reign over the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. The “pipe” is one of the several instruments mentioned in various contexts throughout the Old Testament and it is used in the context of a full range of human emotion, from joy to mourning. When Solomon was anointed King of Israel, “all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them” (1 Kings 1:40).
While deeply embedded in the Old Testament, in modern times bagpipes are associated most closely with Scotland, where they first arrived in the 14th Century. Soon after, they began to put down deep roots on the battlefield.
Sacred music, including the bagpipes, is useful in a no less real form of battle - that is, spiritual battle. In all its forms sacred music feeds our souls and steels us for the daily battles we must fight on this side of resurrection. Click the button to download a full length essay which can help you learn more about the role of the pipes in sacred music.