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Karen Fiol McKerihan picked up the bagpipes in the mid-2000s as an adult. She was already an accomplished musician (piano and flute), but was getting bored. In her search for a new hobby, she met two pipers from the Charleston Police Pipes and Drums at Tommy Condon's. When she decided that she would give piping a try and informed her family, her children were mortified and the decision was made. After all, who doesn't enjoy embarrassing their children from time to time? After attending her first band practice she was hooked — the camaraderie, the fun we have together and the absolute thrill of playing an instrument that can invoke such emotion is powerful stuff.
A nurse (and now nurse practitioner) by training, Karen has been involved in the band through thick and thin. "The pipe band is my tribe and I enjoy the many parades, pub gigs and competitions we participate in Band members come from many walks of life — we have the young learners who soar and soon are better than I am and we have adult learners who have a full life. We encourage each other, have fun together and have a leadership that supports us to strive to be better," she said.
Karen enjoys playing in wherever and whenever, and has been known to take her pipes on road trips to play at rest stops (much to her family's chagrin) or even during lunch hour out in the parking lot. Once, this resulted in an interview on local radio! Her favorite gigs are on St. Patrick's day, "because you are a rock star for a day."
Karen loves sharing the music of the pipes and offers special thanks for her patient family and neighbors (with no complaints to police ... yet). If you think you might also be interested in embarrassing your kids, come observe a practice but be warned — you may just catch the piping bug, too!