Max Gillespie has been playing bagpipes since he was 14 years old. His first performance was a short 6 months into his piping career when the choir instructor of John Adams Junior High School asked him to play the famous rendition of Amazing Grace during the Madrigal spring concert. Max’s first instructor Tom Allan, a Scottish ex-pat residing in Southern California, not only established his foundation for musicality but an understanding for professionalism for any performing situation.
It didn’t take long for Max to start competing in solo competitions throughout the Western United States. After taking private instruction for two years, Max joined the Misty Isle Pipe Band, at the time reigning champions in Grades 3 and 4.
After a successful couple of years with Misty Isle, Max graduated from High School and attended the College of Wooster in central Ohio. For the four years he was a student at the College, Max was a member of the grade 3 College of Wooster Pipe Band, serving as Pipe Sergeant his senior year.
Max was also a member of the Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, a premier grade 1 band based out of Southern California. With the LA Scots Max has had the opportunity to perform alongside Eric Idle at the Hollywood Bowl, the New Year’s party at the newly completed Encore Hotel in Las Vegas, compete in local Highland Gatherings in the Southern California region, and traveled to Northern Ireland and Scotland as the band went to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships.
Some highlights from Max’s time playing the Pipes
- In the Fall of 2008, Joe Biden spoke at the College of Wooster during his Vice-Presidential Campaign. With over 4,000 people in attendance, the College of Wooster Pipe Band, accompanied by the college’s Highland Dancers, welcomed him to the campus. After the official ceremonies a few of the bagpipers and drummers were asked to meet Senator Biden. This was certainly an honor and humbling experience, and just one of the lucky perks of being a bagpiper!
- In the winter of 2008 members of the College of Wooster Pipe Band were asked to perform for the National Renal Administrators Association at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.
- In the Summer of 2008 the LA Scots Pipe Band was invited to perform with Eric Idle of Monty Python fame to perform the oratorio “Not the Messiah” at the Hollywood Bowl. Playing two shows in two nights, members of the LA Scots played “You’re the One” and the finale number “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
- Max traveled with the LA Scots in the summer of 2009 to the United Kingdom as they went to compete at the Ulster Pipe Band Championships in Northern Ireland and the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.