Bagpiper Kent Kaiser of St. Paul discovered the pipes as an adult. Growing up in a musical family in Silver Bay, Kent played organ and euphonium as a young person and as a college student. As an adult, he drifted away from music as he pursued his educational goals in history, liberal studies, mass communication and kinesiology.
Having completed an extensive educational journey culminating in a doctorate, Kent was ready for a break from formal schooling but still interested in continuing to learn something new. Kent decided to start taking bagpipe lessons – thinking the instrument better suited to solo performance than the euphonium and more portable than the organ. With a nod to his Irish and Scottish family ancestry, Kent joined the Macalester Pipe Band about five years ago. He has competed with the band for several years and most recently as a soloist. Although friends had warned him that learning the bagpipes would be difficult, Kent found a great teacher in Mike Breidenbach, Macalester Director of Piping and 2017 IMDA Educational Grant recipient. With Mike’s tutelage and his own hard work, Kent moved from practice chanter to the pipes in about six months.
Kent especially enjoys playing the bagpipes – telling us “I love playing the bagpipes because it is more than just music – it is a whole cultural experience.” His recommender tells us that Kent is a valuable member of the band who actively participates in both competition and performance and helps recruit bandmates for competitions.
As with any challenging pursuit, practice is incredibly important. While Kent memorizes music quickly and has become a dependable member of the band, Kent’s devotion to piping and to the pipe band is often interrupted since he travels extensively and is often away from home. Kent will use his IMDA Educational Grant for the purchase of an electronic chanter, allowing him to continue to learn more tunes and improve his technique. The electronic chanter will allow him to practice when he is out and about, even it places where a traditional chanter would be too loud.
The Irish Music and Dance Association is delighted to help this dedicated musician continue to improve his skills and enjoyment of music and continue to contribute to our community.