Valley News -

By Diane Sieker

Musicians of Anza: Daniel Butchart delivers the goods on bagpipes


Last updated 4/27/2018 at 9:17am

Jamie Bergandi

Daniel Butchart, 18, is a professional bagpipe player.

Editor's note: Musicians of Anza is a feature highlighting talent in the Anza and Aguanga communities. To be featured, send an email to [email protected]

There are very few things as inspiring and heartfelt as a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" on his instrument. Anza high school senior Daniel Butchart can do that and much more. He is a master of the bagpipes and true to his creative calling, but he was almost thwarted in his musical career before he even got much of a chance to learn.

Two and a half years ago, Butchart was in a serious all-terrain vehicle accident that resulted in his neck and jaw being broken. As a result, he suffered numbness in his mouth and face, making it very hard for him to play the pipes. He said he had been piping since age 12 and was already a player in the Palm Springs Air Museum Pipe Band, and the accident was devastating to his musical plans.

A fellow band member loaned him a smaller set of pipes, which were much easier to play, and he started performing at church and wherever he could but was limited on what he could do with the band. His dad Harold crafted a special mouthpiece that made it possible for him to play on the full bagpipe set again. 

"He just took off." his mother Tara Burchart said. "For a long time, we really didn't think he'd be able to play the full set again and now we can't stop him. He does get stiff in the jaw and sore after playing long periods, but he doesn't let it slow him down. I have to say, I admire his determination in overcoming these challenges."

Butchart's musical inspiration was his father Harold, a longtime bagpipe player. Harold gave him lessons at home and together they joined a band where they both continue to learn and improve. 

"Daniel picked up an interest somewhere in the pipes," Tara Buchart said. "And when he told me he wanted to learn, I told him his dad played, and that's when his dad started teaching him at home and sought out a band. Now Harold is very active in playing again as well."

Harold Butchart's love of the pipes began at age eight, when his grandfather arranged for lessons. He later played in the high-school band and continued on and off for some years after he graduated.

Together, Daniel and Harold are in the Palm Springs Air Museum Pipe Band and play parades and special events. They also do solo gigs locally in the Anza area and in the desert. Each can have several solo performances a week, plus band events, keeping them very busy with their chosen instrument.

Daniel Butchart is homeschooled and earns academic credit for his music training. He's enrolled in Seton, an accredited Catholic homeschool program that allows the parents to create an independent study course for music. His band teacher fills out the paperwork, keeping track of his progress. 

Butchart said he'd like to be a full-time bagpiper and start competing as well.

One of the most interesting things about bagpipers are the outfits they wear. One of Harold's favorite kilts was bought for him by his grandmother and grandfather in Scotland where they are from. Both Harold and Daniel have kilts that were purchased online and at Highland games, as well as custom made kilts that are part of their band uniform.

Jamie Bergandi

Daniel Butchart stands dressed in full traditional bagpipe costume.

Daniel has two brothers that encourage and support him as much as his parents do.

"They think he's pretty cool," Tara Buchart said. "His older brother is very musically inclined as well and plays the guitar, violin, piano and ocarina. But, seeing some of the fun things Daniel is getting to do with the band, like a recent all-expense paid trip to Cabo San Lucas, he has taken an interest in learning the pipes as well. We are hoping to make it a family affair and are starting the youngest brother in drum lessons with the band this week."

To learn more about Daniel Butchart and for booking information, visit him on Facebook at

Diane Sieker can be reached by email at [email protected]


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