ISAS Spotlight: Musician Parker Guinn

Amy Liu and Mia Fares

The St. John’s theater and visual arts groups encountered all kinds of talent at the ISAS Arts Festival, held April 6-8 at Casady School in Oklahoma. Parker Guinn, a 15-year-old freshman from Casady, was one of those standouts. As he played the bagpipes in broad daylight, spectators crowded him with phones in hand, eager to capture the “bagpipe boy” on social media.

Guinn’s passion dates back to his early childhood, when he watched a kid play the bagpipes during a vacation in Vancouver, Canada. Although he immediately felt compelled to take bagpipes lessons, his mom suggested that he stick with a more conventional instrument.

“I saw that kid playing the bagpipes when I was four years old. I thought it was pretty cool, and that I should do that. I kept bugging my mom, but she told me it was probably never going to happen,” Guinn said. “She started me with the piano first.”

Guinn could not forget about the bagpipes. His mom noticed his persistence and finally allowed him to play the bagpipes when he was eight.

Although he has worked with one teacher, Guinn mainly taught himself by practicing finger placement and scales on a chanter.

“There really aren’t many teachers in Oklahoma,” Guinn said. “For the first two years of your bagpiping life, you’ll basically need to use the chanter.”

Besides playing the bagpipes, Guinn performed in Casady’s ISAS musical. He rushed to sing in Casady’s choir right after his bagpipe performance.