Frequently Asked Questions
Where/How can I stay up to date on PPS news and events?
Do you have to play highland bagpipes to attend?
No, everybody is welcome to come and listen and enjoy the piping, regardless if you can play or not.
Can I play on a different instrument at the session (If it’s Scottish music)
Yes, we welcome everybody to come along and have a tune and join in the fun. Any acoustic instrument is welcomed.
Do you have to wear a kilt?
Our gatherings are very casual and are a relaxed environment. If you wish to wear a kilt, we won’t stop you.
Do you have to be Scottish?
Not at all. Several of our members don’t have any Scottish ancestry whatsoever. So long as you enjoy piping and music, you are most welcome to attend.
What is a featured piper?
We usually end each evening with a featured piper who will play a bit longer than the others. We typically end with a piobaireachd.
What is a Piobaireachd?
It simply translates from Scottish Gaelic as “pipe playing.” A very old form of music “theme and variations” that is unique to the Great Highland Bagpipe. It developed in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Piobaireachd start with a simple melody known as the urlar (Gaelic for “floor) and each piece then gets more technically complex as it progresses.
Can I play at a gathering if I’m just a beginner?
Yes, we welcome all to perform. So long as you can play a tune, you can perform at Pittsburgh Piping Society.
Where are the PPS gatherings held?
Our current venue is at Squirrel Hill Sports Bar – where our events take place is in an adjacent live music venue (a converted old movie theater).
When do PPS gatherings take place?
Typically on Friday evenings, every other month. Check our website and Facebook page for updates.
Are PPS gatherings virtual or in person?
We have held both and plan to continue to hold both in-person and virtual events. Thankfully we are now able to hold in-person events again after a two year hiatus during the pandemic.
How/Why is PPS connected to the Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Scholarship?
The great Jimmy McIntosh MBE (2025-2021) was a great ambassador for piping in Pittsburgh for several decades. Many of his students are now passing on his vast knowledge of all things piping. As a 501(c)(3) charity, we chose to honor Jimmy’s legacy by awarding scholarships to deserving pipers to enable their piping education.
How can I donate to PPS or the Piobaireachd Scholarship?
Yes. All donations are welcomed and are tax deductible. Donations can be made to both the Pittsburgh Piping Society to further our mission and enable us to hold more events and bring to Pittsburgh more top pipers to perform; and also to the Jimmy McIntosh Piobaireachd Scholarship to help support deserving piping students to continue their education.
Can PPS play in my parade/gig etc? I need to hire a bagpiper, can you help?
Many of the best pipers and drummers in the Greater Pittsburgh Area attend the Pittsburgh Piping Society gatherings. We will be happy to put you in contact with pipers or pipe bands to perform at your event.