News 8 Eye Piece: Pipes and Drums

Learning about bagpipes from La Crosse & District Pipes & Drums

The 10th annual Irishfest La Crosse kicked off Friday afternoon.

The La Crosse & District Pipes and Drums performed as part of the Fest’s opening ceremonies and will join Gaelic Storm for a song Friday night and will perform on the Main Stage at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday.

In this week’s Eye Piece, News 8’s Chief Photographer Chuck Oedsma met up with the La Crosse & District Pipe & Drums to learn more about playing bagpipes.

“There’s only two options for bagpipes – either you like them, or you don’t. And that’s basically true,” said Pipe Major Doug Weidenbach. “Unfortunately a lot of people don’t like the pipes because, frankly, a lot of people play them poorly. And that’s their impression of them, I think. But if you could hear a really good player I think you might change your mind.

The La Crosse Pipes and Drums play Great Highland bagpipes, which are Scottish. Different versions of bagpipes can be found in Ireland, England, France and Spain. Pipes can cost from $800 to $1,000 and more than $10,000.

Weidenbach said bagpipes are not hard to play…they’re hard to play well.

“Anybody can pick ’em up and squawk and squawk, and squawk, but it takes years of practice to be able to really have proficiency where you sound like you’re a bagpiper that knows what they’re doing,” Weidenbach said.

For more information on the La Crosse & District Pipes & Drums visit their website, For more information on Irishfest La Crosse, visit