|Welcome to my website. My name is Aaron Todd and I am a piper. My family belongs to the House of Gordon (our Scottish Clan). My mother's family is Clan Donnachaidh, which is the Robertson family. I have two brothers, Stephen who is 22, and Daniel who is 19. I am 14. Everyone in our family plays an instrument. My dad used to play piano; my mom plays flute and piccolo; Stephen plays violin, viola, and bass guitar; and Daniel plays Melophone and French Horn. My dad decided to learn to play the tenor drum and join the pipe band so he could spend more time with me, he is now a flourishing tenor competitor.I have a tuxedo cat named Kieran (that is Celtic for little dark one) and a red tricolor Border Collie named Ester. This past year (2005) was a very eventful year. I grew almost 8 inches, went through two new, longer blowpipes, a new larger bag and uniform to keep up with the growth. Stephen joined the Marine Corps in March and graduated from Parris Island in June. He went through two evacuations from Pensacola for hurricanes, went to his next duty station and was greeted by a third hurricane and a swamp for a barracks with mold on the ceiling and frogs in the refrigerator. But he has survived and is now an aviation mechanic working on the big Sea Stallion Helicopters. Daniel graduated from high school and joined the Marine Corps in June, left for Basic in September, graduated from Parris Island in December. In June 2006 he graduated from DINFOS and is now a combat correspondent serving in Okinawa. The same day that Daniel shipped out to Parris Island, a brick wall fell on my Grandpa Todd. After three weeks in intensive care, he died. I never got the chance to meet my grandfather, but I did get to talk to him on the phone many times. He was an award winning educator, and a scout leader for several decades. I was made Pipe Sergeant of the Greater Richmond Pipes & Drums and as Acting Pipe Major, led the band at four of the seven competitions we attended this year. I led the band to one 2nd place, and three 1st place wins with 3 AGLs. The GRPD have been upgraded to Grade 4 band competition, and I began instructing the grade 5 pipers. I am now piping with the Grade 3 MacMillan Pipe Band. I had a successful year in Grade 3 Amateur Solo competition, and am looking forward to competing in Grade 2 this year.
I began lessons on the practice chanter in October 2002 while I had my right arm in a cast above the elbow. I had broken both bones just above the wrist. So for the first several weeks I was in a cast, and then a splint. I started on the bagpipes in April and had my first public performances with the Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums on June 8th 2003. That day we played first for the University of Virginia Alumni Gathering, and later in the day we played a memorial for the Firefighters at the State Capitol in Richmond. At the end of the month my mom took me to the first ever off campus summer school of The Piping Centre of Glasgow, Scotland. It was held in Winchester, Virginia. I have since attended the Piping Centre's USA Summer School twice more. It was really thrilling to be taught by Roddy MacLeod, Gavin Stoddart, Chris Armstrong, and Chris Hamilton, and Bruce Gandy. I earned a Certificate of Distinction each year for my participation, and have sat for and earned my Level 1 & 2 Certificates. I did not sit the exam this past year since there was a mix up and my name was left off the exam schedule.
In October 2003 I was named as the Official Piper to the House of Gordon, Virginia Division. As the piper for the House I have performed at many of the events the Gordons have attended and also performed for the National Gathering at Grandfather Mountain. The support of my clan and also of my mother's clan, Clan Donnachaidh, has been very important to me. The Gordon's, especially our convener, Morris Gordon, have given me incredible support and encouragement throughout the year. I have had many opportunities during the past two years to gain performance experience with both the Greater Richmond Pipes and Drums and my two clans. I have been part of the opening act for Seven Nations twice in 2004, and had the opportunity to also meet Pindy Diaz of Brenga Astur and informally pipe with him. I have benefited from my lessons with Chris Hamilton and Mary Wallace. At the end of the 2004 competition year I was #1 in the EUSPBA 2004 Grade IV Jr. overall and piobaireachd standings. At the end of the 2005 competition year I was 4th overall in EUSPBA Grade 3 standings. I feel that with my experiences leading the GRPD in four competitions I have become a more well rounded piper and leader this year. I feel blessed to have been able to honor my Clan and my teachers, and my band so well with my piping. I hope to continue to learn and grow during the next year. I will be playing with the MacMillan Grade 3 pipe band as well as continuing my leadership with the Greater Richmond Pipes & Drums. I look forward to working with the MacMillan band which I feel will be extremely competitive next year. I had the pleasure of meeting the Gordon Clan Chieftain, Granville Charles Gordon, 13th Marquis of Huntly at the Williamsburg games in September 2002. He was very kind and told my dad to make sure that I got lessons. One of my goals is to pipe him in to Cock o' the North next time he comes to the US. The Gordon Chief has been known by the nickname Cock of the North since the 16th Century.