Find Your Folklife – Andrew Fusco
I play the bagpipes at funerals…
…at weddings too, and all kinds of events, but lots of memorial services out at the Veterans Cemetery in Boulder City. You might think that playing for a funeral would be a sad job, but it’s not, not to me. Bittersweet, yes, but it’s satisfying and rewarding to participate in honoring a person, to contribute to something that’s so important for the family to say goodbye. The pipes mark that experience for people in a very emotional and significant way.
When I moved to Nevada I got connected to an organization that taught the local pipe band. I learned the tradition of how bagpipes are used in military funerals and for people in public service like police and firefighters. I learned the songs that are traditionally played and the protocols—what to do and when, and what it all means.
I play with the Las Vegas Pipe Band. We wear the official Nevada State tartan. All the stripes and colors mean something related to the state. I play the pipes and the drums too when needed, and you can also find me playing drums in a rock and roll band around town, from time to time.
—Andrew Fusco, Las Vegas Pipe Band, Las Vegas