Gary Guth is an accomplished musician. He started his musical career playing the piano at age 11 and began his bagpipe career in the Helix High School Pipe Band in La Mesa, California more than 40 years ago. He became a choral singer and majored in piano and voice in college. During high school and college he competed in bagpipe competitions sponsored by The Pacific Coast Pipe Band Association, now known as the Western United States Pipe Band Association. He played his way up to the Grade 2 level before he retired from competing to marry and raise a family. Today, Gary is an accomplished full time bagpiper, pianist, and singer.
Gary started Symphony Studios, Inc 20 years ago as an outlet for teaching piano, voice and bagpipes. He has formed 3 pipe bands in the Philadelphia area and his experiences led him to publish his book “Bagpipes For Beginners’.
Gary believes that the goal of any teaching program is to become accomplished. That is Gary’s goal with each student. He has also published a book of Christmas Carols arranged for bagpipe called “A Piper’s Christmas” as well as “The Bagpipe Hymnal”. He accepts students of all ages and interest levels and is eager to create a new generation of bagpipers by instructing children and teens to play.
I play a lot of weddings. The big question that people have is “how do you use the bagpipe at a wedding?”. The majority of the weddings that I play are in the Catholic Church. Depending the the Church and the Priest, the bagpipe is not allowed inside the building as some Priests believe that it is still “the instrument of war”. You should ask your Priest about that if you are considering using the bagpipe in the Ceremony. Most of the time I will greet your guests as they arrive for your ceremony and play the receiving line immediately after.
If you wedding is in another type of venue, I have found that I am in most cases the only music for the Ceremony. Again I will greet your guests as they arrive to the Ceremony. Before the Ceremony begins, I will huddle with the Bridal Party so that they know exactly what we’ll be doing. In most cases, I will play the Moms in to the ceremony, followed by the Bride’s Maids and then the Bride herself. At the conclusion of the Ceremony, I will play the Bride and Groom up the aisle and continue playing a Postlude while the guests are leaving the Ceremonial Area. This could happen in a church, a catering hall or in a park.
I’ve been playing the bagpipes at weddings for the last 20 years. I’ll do everything possible to make sure that you get the best experience. I am not the cheapest bagpiper in the market. My students believe that as soon as they get their pipes and a kilt that they are ready to play your major event. I wouldn’t hire any bagpiper whom you haven’t seen perform either in person or on video. I have lots of video on the video page for you to watch.
Memorial or Funeral Services
Most of the funerals that I play are at a cemetery. I believe that it is important for the family to know exactly what I am going to do for them at this time, so that they know what to expect. In most cases, I will play as your Cortege arrives in the Cemetery. I will play until the casket is in place at the grave. After the religious ceremony, the military honors (if any) and the Funeral Director announcements, I usually play Amazing Grace followed by a postlude. I play until the last person has placed their flower on the casket, paid their final respects and walks away from the casket.
If you’d like music at the church, I will play as you are coming out of church until the casket is in the hearse and maybe a little longer. My goal is to give you as much music as I can before departing for the cemetery.
There are also situations where there is no cemetery service. In that case, I will play before and after the church ceremony. If you are doing a viewing and would like bagpipes there, I play a set of small pipes that are quieter in sound and are background music that can be played inside. You can see me playing the small pipes on the Video Page. Again, before you hire any bagpiper, you should verify that they can actually play. I have a lot of video footage on this website
There are a lot of other events that I play at besides weddings and funerals. In the picture above, I am playing at the National Association of Funeral Directors Meeting that was held in Philadelphia, this year. I felt very honored to be asked to perform for them.
I also do a 30 minute program called a “Bagpiper Gram”. In this program I will play a variety of tunes that most people don’t get to hear and tell stories about the Bagpipe and wearing the kilt. I have received a lot of great response for these performances.
I hope you will consider hiring me for your next event. I look forward to serving you. I will hold your date with a $50 deposit. The balance isn’t due until the day of the event.