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Bagpiper likes diversity, interaction of job
Faces and Places
Bagpipe player Chap. Paul Ormond poses with his instrument before the start of a ceremony to honor fallen soldiers on Fort Stewart. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones

Name: Chap. Paul Ormond

Age: 33

Occupation: Chaplain for Fort Stewart Soldier and Family Assistance Center. He is a captain in the U.S. Army

How long in Army: Nine years, chaplain for 4 years

Family: Married to Leslie, one son, Chapel

Hobby: Playing bagpipes. He’s been doing it four years, currently plays with two groups, The Wake and District Public Safety Pipes and Drums, which travel the Southeast.

What do you like most about your job?
“I like that I get to work with anybody in the military. There is no demographic I don’t get to work with. There is a lot of diversity and interaction and I really enjoy that quite a bit.”

How did you learn to play the bagpipes? “I learned from a good friend of mine and have been playing in bands and ceremonies ever since.
“I have always like the instrument. There is a long history of Scottish ancestry in my family. Both my great-grandfathers played and some of their parents played as well. They played in the Highland Regiment in the Scottish military.”

What do people say when they learn a chaplain plays the bagpipes? “Usually everybody thinks it is pretty cool and most of the time people want to know how they can learn to play.”

What are the best places you’ve ever performed?
“The places I’ll always cherish the most are the times I’ve played for fallen soldiers, fallen firefighters or fallen police officers. Playing at those types of events are what stick out in my mind the most.’

Where will you be St. Patrick’s Day?
He said he’ll be with friends and family at home. His band is playing in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite song: “‘The Minstrel Boy.’ It’s an old Irish war tune.”

What’s the most difficult thing about playing the pipes?
“Getting the time to practice. If you do not practice with them every day you will never ever be proficient at them.”

Are they hard to learn? “It’s not hard to learn. There are only nine notes you can hit on the bagpipe. Musically it’s a very simple musical instrument to play, but when it gets to the mechanics of playing it, that’s when it gets tough. You have to keep you mouth sealed tight around the blow stick. After a while your mouth just gets really tired. It takes pipers a while to get strong in that area.”

Do you have some advice for people who want to learn?
“Take it slow. Be patient with yourself and practice, practice, practice.”

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