Sgt. John JT Taylor

By November 4, 2011Featured Artists

A Senior Military Instructor with a Passion for the Great Highland Bagpipes.

What kind of pipes and chanter do you play?

Peter Henderson PH1 Bagpipes with Zoomorphic Half Nickel Engraving. The Chanter is the standard stock Henderson Blackwood Chanter, and I use MacPhee Chanter reeds with Ezeedrone Reeds.

Where do you hail from?

I am originally from Hamilton, Texas, joined the US Army at the age of 17 and have been all over the world.

Where do you live now?

I currently live in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Tell me about your piping career. When did you start?

Having Scottish genealogy in my blood, Clan Campbell, I have always admired the bagpipes. I was deployed in 2006 to Iraq and met a very good friend of mine, SFC Michael Wright, who was playing the practice chanter on one of the outlying FOBS (Forward Operating Bases). I asked him about it and told him I wanted to learn, he told me to order a chanter and come back. I can teach you the basics and we’ll go from there, so I did. Upon my redeployment at the end of 2007, I moved my Shriner/Masonic Membership to the Isis Shrine Temple in Salina, Kansas, and joined the newly formed Isis Pipe and Drum Band they had. Then in Jan 2008, I attended my first Winter Storm in Kansas City, Missouri and got to meet a lot of world class pipers, including Jori Chisholm. I pursed my bagpipe learning with the pipe band until the following year and in Spring of 2009 asked Jori Chisholm if I could have him instruct me. He accepted. So I have been learning from him ever since.

What bands have you played with?

Isis Shrine Pipe and Drum Band, and have just joined the Oklahoma Scottish Pipe and Drums in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

What has been your proudest moment in piping so far?

The night at Winter Storm 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri, I was called on stage during the after Steam Party in front of a massive crowd of hundreds of people. The previous year I was deployed and could not attend, so my friends passed a long sleeve shirt around and everyone that was present had signed it, I was wearing that shirt this night, and they told the crowd of my redeployment and recent return and the crowd all stood and exploded and cheered for me. I was in tears. Then someone said “it’s not over yet”, and Jori Chisholm walked thru the crowd playing a set of bagpipes and when he arrived at the stage, he and Mr. Alastair Dunn presented me with a new set of Henderson PHO1 Bagpipes! I still get goosebumps when I think of this. Having my wife, Tressie present, along with all my close friends, along with Jori Chisholm, Mr. Alastair Dunn, and the Captain Ken Eller, and knowing this was all done without me knowing anything about it, it really cap stoned my life that night.

What has been your most stressful moment?

When I deployed in December of 2009, I took my bagpipes to Iraq and played several memorial ceremonies for fallen US Soldiers, and other functions while on COB Basra, Iraq. I was asked to play the British Armistice Day Memorial for the KBR-UK and British Consulate there in Basra, Iraq in front of hundreds of individuals, and being the lone piper playing “Amazing Grace”. I was also able to play that with Mr. Alistair Campbell, a well known retired British Military Colonel, and well known bagpipe player, another great honor.

Who were you taught by?

Several individuals, fellow Shrine Pipers Fred Corn and Dr. Doug Kempton taught me the basics initially as well as my first few songs, but my greatest Instructor thus far, Jori Chisholm.

What do you do as a day job?

I am a Career Enlisted Senior Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Army of 25 years now. Currently I am the Senior Military Instructor for the ROTC Military Science Program at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Oklahoma.

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

I am a very active Mason involved in Masonic Lodge, York rite, Scottish rite, and the Shrine. I play the banjo as well, and my family is very active in our local Christian Church. But my main hobby/passion is improving and learning the bagpipes.

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

So far, Southern Basra, Iraq and Kuwait.

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

To be able to stand on stage at Winter Storm and play my bagpipes. I would walk onto stage in a spotlight in my Army Dress Blue Uniform with all my medals, dedicate it to ALL the fallen warriors in ALL branches of the services globally, that have paid the ultimate sacrifices over the past 10+ years in this global war on terrorism, then I would strike in and play “Going Home” then go into “Amazing Grace”.  THIS is the true reason I love to play, to honor them.