Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

“On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…eleven pipers piping…”


Here in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, we have been blessed with a special group of pipers—bagpipers—for 45 years! I am talking about the North Carolina State University Pipes and Drums! What a group! I have seen and heard them perform many times over the years, in fact, they performed at my daughter’s wedding reception due to her husband’s Scottish ancestry which means so much to him. My daughter Ali is friends with some members of the group, and one of my friends, and my husband’s, a friend of thirty years has played with this group for many, many years! So on this eleventh day of Christmas, as we think about the amazing talent and joy shared with us by these pipers, I wanted to tell you more about them and our friend Pete Currie.

 Pete Currie

Pete and his wife Pam, and Max and I met as we strolled our children, age 2, through the same neighborhood in Raleigh! I kid you not, that’s how we met…strolling our babies…both named Annie by the way! As our children grew, we became close friends, going to the same church as well. Pete had this special talent which we were always thrilled to have the chance to witness! He played the bagpipes! I had never known a piper personally—and a nicer man, better person,  you could never meet! I learned that Pete was actually born in Scotland, near Edinburgh! Even though he is an engineer by profession, I believe he was born to pipe!  NCSU Pipes and Drums


To this day, I remember the very first time I heard Pete play—it was at a Sunday morning worship service at our church’s family camp, in 1984! Max and I were actually in charge of the programs for the weekend long camp that year, and we had asked Pete to play, not realizing just what an extraordinary experience we had in store for our family and our whole congregation! We worshiped beside a large lake, early on a foggy, cool August Sunday morning (cool in NC August, a gift itself!) As soon as the quiet fell, Pete started to play…from far behind us….up on a rolling green hill! It inspired me then as the memory does now! He played “Amazing Grace” , and I clearly remember how the sound of the pipes rolled down that hill , surrounded and wound right through the group of us, then drifted out onto the water….it was a magical moment! It was one of those shared experiences that brings a group closer, inspires worship, and makes friendships stronger for the memory! This was Peter Currie the piper, the friend, the husband, the father, the professional engineer, and good person.  We count his friendship a blessing.  

NCSU PIpes and Drums, 3 performing at the Highland Games

Pete plays with the NCSU Pipes and Drums as an alumnus . They perform at the Highland Games on Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina every summer. Just this week they led the parade for the “First Night” celebration in Raleigh, NC. If you’d like to know more about this incredible group, support them or attend their performances you can find out more on their fan page on facebook or on their webpage at http://pipesanddrums.ncsu.edu/  

 Eleven pipers piping…will always bring our friend Pete to mind, and this incredible group of pipers and drummers with the North Carolina State University Pipes and Drums!

 We only have one more of the twelve days of Christmas to share this season, 2013-2014, but Epiphany, Twelfth Night , Kings Day…celebrating our beliefs and our friendships is always important! Thank you for strolling through these special days and memories with me, Helen

Author: Helen Holshouser

Old enough to enjoy life, I am a Red Hatter, grandmother, gardener, and amateur genealogist. I am a retired clinical psychologist, master's level, who is disabled with heart disease, but having fun with family and friends. Married over 40 years, I have two grown daughters and three grandchildren. I have learned that grandchildren provide a joy one never knew existed---writing feeds my soul, gardening is therapy, and genealogy research makes me feel like a detective!

5 thoughts on ““On the Eleventh Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…eleven pipers piping…”

  1. Thanks for sharing.


  2. What ntionalities are represented in your family’s line Sam? I was trying to remember your Mom’s maiden name? I just love all this stuff, but do love the pipers!


  3. I love the bagpipes, as well! I feel such a stirring in my soul when I hear the haunting melody. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story!


  4. Beverly, yes! stirring in the soul! that’s it exactly! love you! Helen


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