Q&A with Chuck, a Waco campus administrator



Chuck Russell, administrator at the Waco campus, has brought much enjoyment to staff, residents and the surrounding neighborhood by playing his bagpipes at the Harrell Memorial Chapel. He has practiced during lunch time almost every day for the past 10 years. We caught up with Chuck to learn more about his hobby.


Q: Why did you want to learn to play the bagpipes?
A: I find the sound of the bagpipe to be a haunting sound that stirs my soul, especially the Piobaireachd, which is the classical music for the bagpipe. I have always wanted to learn how to play. In 1999 I vacationed in England and bought a practice set while in Scotland. It sounded like a hurt cat when I played them. Then in 2000, I took a class at McLennan Community College and have been playing ever since.

Q: What is the most difficult part about playing the bagpipes?
A: I have played several musical instruments including the piano and trumpet and the bagpipe is by far the hardest. What makes it so difficult is that there so many things going on at the same time. You have to keep the bag blown up and your arm squeezing the air out at the same pressure at all times. You have to play the chanter correctly with the proper and correct embellishments. Also, you have make sure you cover the holes on the chanter correctly. Plus you have to memorize all the tunes which can get confusing, and you have to remember that when you get to the end of a song to stop blowing into the bag soon enough so that you can have a clean cut off.

Q: Have you played anywhere?
A: I have played Memorial Day services, Walk for the Cure, at churches and funerals.

Q: Do you get a lot of feedback from the MCH community about playing?
A: Yes, fellow staff members tell me they enjoy hearing me play. I get comments from surrounding neighbors as well. I mostly play at the chapel but occasionally I play at the back of the campus at the pavilion. The neighbors on Baker Lane can really hear the pipes from there.

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