We were gathering at the spectacular Arcadia Bluffs to celebrate a friend’s birthday. It was a chilly late spring evening and the fireplace was crackling. The conversation soon shifted from the “catching up” chats and many compliments about the delicious food to wondering if the bagpiper was going to make an appearance. Sure enough, as the sun began to angle downward, out on the cliffs strolled Stephen MacNeil, dressed to the hilt and carrying his bagpipes. He began to play and diners abandoned their dinners to go out on the porch to listen. The evening was absolutely still with only the haunting sound of the bagpipes to break the silence. Breathtaking.
Stephen MacNeil, marking 34 years in a long and distinguished career, has piping in his DNA. His grandfather and great-grandfather were also pipers and his son is accomplished as well. He has played with The MacNish Distillery, St. Thomas Police, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Peel Regional Police and Windsor Police Pipe Bands. He is also founder of the Northern Michigan School of Piping. As Pipe Sergeant with the Windsor Police Band, he participated in four of their top five finishes at the World’s Competition. Currently, he is a member of the Celtic group, “Glengarry Road” and the Irish folk/rock band, “Wild Sullys.” He is an incredibly accomplished musician living right here in our county.
On this evening, we are just grateful that he makes the Bluffs part of his tradition. His music is magical and it fills the air with an otherworldly sense of peace. We don’t want the concert to end. It might be time to grab a cup of coffee and go sit out on the adirondack chairs and just let him play. Thank you Mr. MacNeil.