Ashley McMichael

By March 21, 2012Featured Artists

A well known piper on the Northern Ireland scene, Ashley has established a successful solo career.

What kind of pipes do you play?

I play a set of Ivory Henderson’s in the solos and new Peter Henderson‘s in Field Marshal Montgomery.

Where do you hail from? Where do you live now?

I live in Antrim and have done since I was born 25 years ago.

Tell me about your piping career. When did you start? What bands have you played with?

I started piping at the age of 9 with Ballydonaghy pipe band in 1995 under pipe major Stephen Macauley and Played there until 2002, then I joined Ravara pipe band under pipe major Samuel Connelly and played there for 2 seasons before joining Field Marshal Montgomery in 2005 and am now in my 8th year with the band.

What has been your proudest moment in piping so far?

My proudest moments in piping so far have been winning the senior All Ireland solo title and winning the Grand Slam with FMM in 2012.

What has been your most stressful moment?

My most stressful moment has to be when I was a junior at the All Ireland solos. I had to qualify out of a heat for the final but between playing in the qualifying and the final I had to play for drummers so when it came the time to play in the final and the steward came to get me, I tried my pipes just before I left the room and all 3 drones stopped. So a panic was on trying to find 3 other drone reeds. It’s not nice going on not knowing what’s going to happen or if your pipes are going to last. Let’s just say I have learnt from that and play a spare set of pipes for drummers and have back up reeds for my pipes now.

Who were you taught by?

At the start of my piping career I was taught by Hugh Cooke for 4 years before being introduced to Bertie Todd at the age of 13. I am still being taught by Bertie today and If it wasn’t for his tuition and guidance over the years I would not have won half of my achievements in solo piping.

What do you do as a day job?

I am a Warehouse Supervisor for Maxwell Freight Services.

What other hobbies/pursuits/past times do you have?

My other hobbies are going to the gym, playing snooker and supporting Manchester United.

Where is the most interesting place your piping travels have taken you?

My piping has taken me to various places but one trip that sticks out is the trip to Italy and France with Ballydonaghy pipe band in 2001 where we played at various events.

What would your most perfect piping event be? Say if you could snap your fingers and make it happen. Describe.

My perfect piping event has to be the world championships in Glasgow. For me there is no other event that has that build up or buzz about it. The adrenaline and emotions you go through that day, words can not describe. And the feel of satisfaction you get when you come off IF everything goes well.

Here are some of Ashley’s solo prizes in 2012:

1st in MSR at the NI Piper of the Year, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
2nd in Piobaireachd at the NI Piper of the Year, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
3rd in the Hugh McMillan Trophy at London, England
3rd in Piobaireachd at the All-Ireland Solos, Ireland
1st in MSR at the NI Piper of the Year, Ballymena, Northern Ireland