Music is on the lunch menu

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By Special to the Monitor

The Los Alamos Arts Council Brown Bag free concert series not only will open with a bang, but the skirl of bagpipes will also be heard.

The Albuquerque & Four Corners Pipes and Drums will perform the first Brown Bag concert of the season at 12:15 p.m. Sept. 5 at Fuller Lodge.

In addition to the traditional and mystic music of the great Highland bagpipe and drum ensemble, highland dancers will also be taking the stage. Piper Don Machen of Los Alamos currently leads the band.

The group first played in 1984 with pipers and drummers from two area bands; today the members are from Los Alamos and Santa Fe with two university students back for the summer.

Band pipers are Machen, Anthony and Leslie Puckett, Tristan Goodwin, who is 12 and the youngest member, Scott Archer, who returned from the University of Cork in Ireland for the summer, Josh Spencer, who spent the summer at LANL from the University of Illinois, and Rebecca Dempsey of Santa Fe.

Highland dancers are Leslie, Anthony and Jillian Puckett and Alana Goodwin.

Snare drummers are Caroline Spaeth, and Scott Beguin. Margaret Guthrie is the tenor drummer and Christine Rand is the base drummer. Los Alamos Arts Council Executive Director Marlane Hamilton, said, “I think this will be the band’s fourth appearanceeewe have had tremendous response from the community.”

In previous local performances at both Fuller Lodge and UNM LA, the band has “packed the house—come early to get a seat,” she said.

Also, “many people love bagpipes and don’t get a chance to hear them that often, so this is an opportunity to hear a whole hour-long performance,” Hamilton said. “It’s colorful, excitingeethere’s a lot going on.”

It is not just the audience who enjoys the music; the group also has fun.

“We do enjoy just playing pipe music. We are all enthusiasts of pipe music,” Machen said.

It seems the music attracts many people’s attention. The mesmerizing music of the clans, which celebrates victory, loss and heroes, seems to hold a special interest around the world, he said.

Machen added that he is well acquainted with the different music of the pipes and the effect this music has on many people; he has been a top amateur-grade solo competitor as well as the teacher to many members of the group, including Archer and Goodwin.

The group practices weekly at Bethlehem Lutheran Church. New members are welcome. For more information, go to members.aol.com/nmpipers/bandhome.htm.