Where are you from and how did you get into piping?
I grew up in Maryland and West Virginia. I currently live in western Pennsylvania. Two men from Garrett County, Maryland named Fred Thayer and Reverend John Alexander Grant introduced me to the pipes.
What’s your most memorable performance you’ve taken part in, either band or solo?
The most amazing and memorable event that has ever happened to me was Carnegie Mellon University’s Virtual Solo Bagpiping Competition organised by Andrew Carlisle. It was held in May 2020. James MacIntosh and his wife, Joyce were the judges and they awarded me first place in Piobaireachd.
What’s your most memorable performance you’ve heard – band or soloist?
I really love the 78th Fraser’s Pipe Band’s medley performance from the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships.
Who has been the biggest influence on your piping?
Oh so many! Robbie Beaton, the late Fred Thayer, the late Reverend John Alexander Grant, Betsy Bethel-McFarland, Bud Brizuela, Nick Hudson plus the many teachers at the National Piping Centre – online and at the Virginia School.
How do you relax and do you have other interests or hobbies?
I have an interest in the fiddle. I also dabble with genealogy. Spending time with my husband.
Did you take part in any show, concerts or recitals this year?
Yes, I was a guest piper with my piping friend, Gary Faulkner’s band, Feadán Òr Pipe Band from Rochester, NY. They played at a very nice venue at The Celtic Faire, Mumford, NY on June 12.
Which pipers did you aspire to, if any?
Robbie Beaton, Willie McCallum, Roddy MacLeod, Matt MacIsaac, Ian Speirs, Brian Donaldson, James MacIntosh, Jack Lee, Nick Hudson, Dan Lyden, Andrew Donlon, Ross Ainslie, Finlay Johnston. There are so many more!
Do you recall the very first competition you competed in?
Yes, it was in 2017, just the one event. I couldn’t play anything else but a 2/4 march.
What’s your favourite destination, either for a holiday or on a piping trip?
I like upstate Pennsylvania/New York and the Great Lakes. I also like the ocean. Basically, anywhere there’s water!
Was piping something you wanted to do from an early age?
Unfortunately, we weren’t exposed to the pipes over here when I was a kid. My dad, brother and eventually myself picked up flat top style of acoustic guitar picking.
• Thank you, Mo!