Steven G. Brownlee
Bagpiper


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To skirl or not to skirl?
You will often hear people refer to "the skirl of the bagpipes." While this sounds cool, it's a bit misguided. A skirl is actually a sound that pipes make when they are played badly. Skirl is a generally accepted term used by pipers to describe an unintended shrill sound made by the chanter, and is usually produced when the chanter reed is too easy and thus the chanter is overblown. Sometimes the term is also somewhat mistakenly used to describe the general sound produced by a bagpipe.

So, while I promise you good piping, I'm afraid I cannot promise you skirling.

Comments from people I've played for....

Weddings:

Thank you again for your lovely bagpipes last Friday for my program. You were the hit of the party!!
The guests were all so surprised and excited. That was the response I was hoping for. You were great! Thank you, again.

Patricia

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...Your bagpiping (at our wedding) was magnificent and it set the tone for the whole night....

Bill & Katie

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...Thank you so much,Steven, for being not only a wonderful piper at the wedding and reception, but also a good friend that made our celebration an unbelievable memory....
Margaret and Stokes

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...The gloss you put on the event made it and people are still talking about it. In a way I find it strange talking like this to you for despite the short time we have met you feel a friend!......We have heard nothing but glowing reports of you ...
Cam and Liz

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Hi Steve:......Again, I would like to thank you so much for participating in my wedding and After Rehearsal Party at Brennan's.....Your beautiful sound was so festive and brought great happiness to my heart......ever since I was a young girl, I always dreamed of hearing the bag pipes on my wedding day..... your music was very moving and you made my wedding day everything I dreamed it would be......YOU ARE THE BEST!!....I hope our paths cross again on my 50th wedding anniversary!!!......
--Charlotte Connick Mabry:

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The bagpipes added something very special to our ceremony.
--Elizabeth & Clint

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I had to write you and let you know that you made our wedding day. That was the most special experience. Everyone thought you did an amazing job. You even made Curt cry, which in turn brought everyone there to tears. When you stepped out and started playing, both my father and I were stunned at the powerful effect the bagpipes have on a person. Even the workers at Ashley Manor said that our wedding would definitely be unforgettable and we thank you for that.

...You definitely made a lasting impression. Again, thank you for everything!
--Dawn & Curt Pruitt

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Thank you for making our day memorable.
--Kathy & Jim

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My family have listened to the pipes for hundreds of years so when we decided to get married in New Orleans it was almost a dream that we could obtain a piper fit to meet that dream. We found Steven's website and something spoke to me. I contacted him and spoke to him. Not only did it seem like I was speaking to an old friend it was patently apparent, if he was telling the truth, that he could play the airs I asked for and wasn't limited to a narrow repertoire. On the day of the wedding I made a number of discoveries about Steven: He was telling the truth! He was very flexible and fit in with any request or last-minute change with a simple comment "That'll work!" He felt (and I hope will be) like an old friend! His company afterwards was a delight matched only by the quality of his piping. A final summary: Steven is not only a piobaireachd but someone who will meld into your wedding - his one desire is to make your day memorable for you! Thank you Steven!
-- Cameron Welch

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Commentary on a wedding held at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival:

You all did so beautifully...

...the ferryman floating a beautiful bride across a calm lake to her waiting groom...Piper Steve piping her from the ferry landing to the altar..."King James" performing the ceremony...Queen Elizabeth and entourage honoring the newlyweds with their presence...an honor guard creating a sword path...

The couple got so much more of a "production" than they had counted on and really appreciated it. You all made their day (somehow) even
better.

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Funerals:

 

Steve: ... Thanks again for an incredible job yesterday (at my uncles funeral). I know that my uncle was proud along with the rest of the family. You really helped in making the day very special.

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... we were able to have pipers Steve and Gillian play at the funeral today. And they were fantastic! Their music was so moving and touching and
they were so professional. They played with their hearts.

Mike was overwhelmed, as were many of the attendees. So many, many attendees complimented us on what a nice service we had and how they loved the bagpipers.And, when we asked Mike's Mom how she liked the pipers, she said, right away without a moment's hesitation, that when she dies, she wants those pipers playing at her grave.... I feel that your music is theraputic in that it is so emotional, and Mike & I couldn't hold back our tears, which is so important to grieving, you know? And, I saw others there, who weren't that close to Mike's Dad, who had tears in their eyes while you were playing. Whoa. Mike & I were so honored to have you play. He will never forget it.
Mike & Elise
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Steve: ... Your music ministry is indeed valued. ... Our family certainly appreciates being the recipient of your ministry for Jimmy's funeral.

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http://www.wwltv.com/news/northshore/Heroic-Covington-officer-remembered-121123419.html

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Dear Steve,
Bagpipes are perfect for funerals. I can't tell you how many people told me how moved they were with the bagpipe at the funeral home. For each one of us, sisters, brothers-in-law, aunts, me - it was the moment that we allowed ourselves to shed tears - a much needed releif. I know my mother would have felt so honered by, yes, the music, but also your presence and mature spirituality associated with your role. Thank you ... so very much.
Carolyn

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Hey Steve, just wanted to thank you again for taking time off from your job to do my mom’s funeral. She was very much honored by your playing of the bagpipes and just as at dad’s funeral it made me very proud. I received several comments on how much more my mom’s funeral service meant to them because of you. Thanks again, Jerry Burns.

One more thing, I hope you don’t mind me calling on you in the future if the occasion arises because I surely will.
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Steve...words fail me. I cannot convey to you the wonder of what you brought to my fathers funeral. My friend....you were the center piece. You brought it all together. If ever there was the grandest farewell to a loved one....you did it. I type these words with tears streaming from my eyes remembering the grand farewell you gave him. If ever there was a more grand farewell in the history of funerals.......well......there wasn't one that I can think of.
We talked about the ceremony at the lunch the church provided for us. All of my relatives and friends kept saying great things about the funeral service. But what they kept going on and on about........even over and above the military salute........was the pipes.
The preacher was blown away...he said as much. My sisters were brought to tears of joy when we got back to dads house and talked about it. They said it was the grandest funeral they had ever attended. My brothers-in-law....both of them....had nothing but the highest praise for the service.
Sitting at dads house with relatives and friends....after the funeral and after things got calmed down...we talked. We reminisced about things past but during the conversations the pipes were brought up over and over.
Thank you Steve...you have blessed my family.
Bill

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On behalf of all my family, I just wanted to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the excellent job you did in playing for my parents' funeral last Saturday. It was truly moving to hear "Amazing Grace" at the cemetery, and I know that my parents were smiling and loving it. They had visited me in the 90's when I lived in Scotland and they loved to hear the Pipers there, so I wanted you to know how special this was for me. This was the perfect ending to a beautiful service.
Once again, a heartfelt thank you from the Lannan family.

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...Wonderful Job! Your talents are supurb and show through your abilities and your daughter.Thank you for your assistance and I will be in touch in the future.

General Manager
Funeral Home

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...Thank you so very much for your support, friendship & love during Katherine's funeral. Your music with the bagpipe was beautiful and so very soulful....
Linda & Bill

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.... I wanted to thank you very much for playing the bagpipes at my father’s(Gerald W. Burns Sr.) funeral. If there can be a highlight to a funeral your playing was surely it. It was very emotionally stirring and everyone in attendance was affected by it. I know my father would have appreciated it very much. My brother and I are both very proud of our father and we wanted to give him a funeral that expressed that. When you played those bagpipes I felt a pride like never before for my father and his life. I left Dad’s funeral with an uplifted spirit. Thanks again,
-- Jerry Burns

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...we were able to have pipers Steve and Gillian play at the funeral today. And they were fantastic! Their music was so moving and touching and they were so professional. They played with their hearts. Mike was overwhelmed, as were many of the attendees. So many, many attendees complimented us on what a nice service we had and how they loved the bagpipers.
And, when we asked Mike's Mom how she liked the pipers, she said, right away without a moment's hesitation, that when she dies, she wants those pipers playing at her grave.
-- Mike and Elise Biggs

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Words cannot adequately express my gratitude for the contribution you made to my father's funeral. My mother, my three sisters and I will never forget the emotions instilled in us as you entered the church playing "Amazing Grace," faced the casket, then us, with a verse, then led the procession out. You are truly gifted. My father would have been so proud! He so loved the bagpipes! Thank you for sharing your talent, your gift and your compassion with my family. Our spirits did soar in ways I cannot even express!
--Jane Sanchez

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Words are inadequate to express my gratitude to you for piping at Jim's funeral. It was truly a memorable service.
--Elaine Stewart

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I want to thank you so very much for playing your bagpipes at Chuck's memorial celebration -- and for the kilt and dressing the part -- you added so much. Everyone loved it and Chuck would have too.
--Fran Fowlkes

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The family joins me in expressing our gratitude and appreciation for the blessing you provided us in playing the pipes for our Papaw's memorial service. We thank you, and we thank God for your ministry of caring.
--Bettye Lord

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This is to thank you and praise you for the honor shown to Chief Steve Billingsley. You made this memorial an honor to a fireman.
--The Fighting 10th
Daniel L. Potts, Chief

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I want to thank you for playing for my husband's memorial service. You paid Steve a great honor. Myself and his family appreciate you being there at the time of our loss.
--Dot Billingsley and family

Special Events:

Thank you again for everything! You make the Shaq (Shaquile O'Neil Charity Golf) tournament very special for all that attend.
--Missy

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for your contribution to our Grand Opening. We appreciate the time you shared with us on our special day. You certainly made the Grand Opening a spectacular event by contributing your talents. David Toms expressed to me what an impression you made on him and his fellow golfers from start to finish...... Thank you so much for helping us make our day more special!...especially on such short notice!
-- Cheryl Bindewald, Carter Plantation

Police:

The playing of the bagpipe at a police officer memorial service is a meaningful tradition and was deeply appreciated by all. Your music and dress were outstanding.
--Jerome J. DiFranco
Chief of Police, Covington, La.

Veterans:

On behalf of the St. Tammany Parish Veterans Foundation, we want to thank you wholeheartedly for participating in our dedication day program.
Your participation helped make the day a truly memorable one.
--Lane Carson

Churches:

Thanks again for the fabulous pipes! Everyone loved the added touch of class that you provided.
--Brian Connor

Schools:

I want to thank you so very much for coming to our school for Family Night. It was a wonderful event and the school director and I agreed that the live music added so much to the event. I appreciate you coming and sharing your talent with our families.
--Cindy Braud, Cedarwood School

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Thank you for sharing your musical talents with our students on Cultural Arts Day. The children truly enjoyed it, as well as the adults. Your time is greatly appreciated.
--Maria Tusa. Pontchartrain Elementary

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Thanks so much for coming and playing at Pine View Middle's World Travel Day. The kids loved it, and are still talking about it. Thank you for sharing your talents!
--Mary Skarda

Wedding with Bagpipes

2004 Wedding at The Castle,
Franklinton, La.

Bagpipes at Flag Day

2003 Flag Day, Louisiana Heart Hospital,
LaCombe, La.

Bagpipes at a wedding

2004 Wedding at The Castle,
Franklinton, La.

Bagpipes at Memorioal Day Celebration

2002 Memorial Day, Oak Harbor,
Slidell, La.

Bagpipes at school

1999 Mandeville Middle School,
Mandeville, La.

Bagpipes at a Renfaire

1999 Louisiana Renaissance Festival,
Hammond, La.

Bagpipe Conehead
2006 LRF Conehead

Bagpipe Competition

1999 Highland Games of Mississippi,
Jackson, Ms.

Bagpipe performance
2009 LRF after playing a set