10 Country: Keith's Bag of Music - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Keith's Bag of Music

Naylor-- Rarely do we hear live bag pipe music, unless we go to a parade or a special event, and when we hear the music it can make you wonder: Where would someone learn to play them?

People often lead different lives. The job related one. "I'm trying to figure out why he has low water pressure in his house," says Keith Stone, a water pump and filter technician at a customer's well in the Naylor community in Lanier County.

He switches to a secret life that few people know about after work. When Keith works on water pumps and filter systems, he often hears bag pipe music everywhere he goes.

Keith saved his money for two years and bought his bag pipes, committed himself to playing one of the hardest instruments ever made, and devoted many Saturday afternoons with trips to Valdosta to learn how. Two other bag pipe novices join Keith. "That's what we're trying to do now, get the timing," says teacher Brian Doak, who has played bag pipes for 23 years, and spent five years teaching others how to play them.

Bag pipes have just nine notes, and they look deceptively easy to play. The challenge, and because not many people know how to play them, attracted Keith's interest. "Good. Everything we're working on is good," says Brian, as they practice behind a Valdosta fire station.

Did they play well enough to perform in public? The teacher thinks so. No Carnegie Hall, No Radio City Music Hall, but 31 people took time to listen to their first concert at an open air spring festival.

The outside venue worked to the instruments' advantage. "Brings out the best sound in them," says Keith a few minutes before playing in their first public performance and where Keith played his first solo. "You don't think. You just play," says Keith.

He invested $2,500 of his hard earned money for the pipes and outfit, and practiced hundreds of hours for his first public performance. "I think everyone in the park got to listen," says Keith, after the performance, as people came by and expressed their appreciation for their music and to ask about the instrument.

For about an hour, the wind bags, Keith, his teacher, and his fellow pipers became music machines.

Keith plays with the Valdosta Fire Department's Pipes and Drum Corps. For additional information about the Corps, call the fire department at: 229-333-1836.

posted by dave.miller@walb.com