You’ve seen him around the community, performing at some of the most memorable events in Flagler County, among his many hats. But do you know how Paddy Piper started? This week’s The Big Five guest Patrick Juliano gives us peek behind the curtain.
Tell readers a bit about yourself and your day job.
My name is Patrick Juliano, I am a Lieutenant-Paramedic with the Palm Coast Fire Department. I was born and raised in New York and made Palm Coast my home in 2005. One of my greatest hobbies and undoubtedly a passion is playing the bagpipes.
How did you get into bagpiping?
I’ve always been inspired by the pipes and drums. Growing up in NY, I got to see amazing bands like the NYPD Emerald Society and the FDNY Pipes & Drums. It was something I’ve always wanted to do.
In 2009, I noticed there was not a “Piper” for the Sheriff or Fire Departments in Flagler, Volusia or St. Johns counties. I was told by a friend, Chief Mike Nugent of the Broward County Black Pearl to buy myself a practice chanter and get on YouTube so I took on the painstaking task of trying to teach myself.
Through the guidance and mentoring of some great pipers at the Ancient City Pipes & Drums, I learned how to read sheet music and learned how to properly play the music scale. It made me wish I took playing the recorder in 3rd grade much more serious. As the instrument has only 9 notes and very closely mimics the recorder.
When was Paddy Piper officially born and how much fun is it to slip into character?
For almost 13 years I have been playing. I’ve belonged to a local band for many years. In 2020 at the start of the pandemic, I created Paddy Piper. At the start of the pandemic, musicians across the country would share their musical talent at sunset to inspire courage and resolve. We called it #SunsetSolidarity. It took me back to when I first started playing and my neighbors would come outside to listen as I would play. I created Paddy Piper on social media as a way to better share music. The pipes have a centuries-long tradition of inspiring courage and resolve to people in times of distress.
Paddy Piper sounded pretty cool as a name; it’s no Rolling Stones – but it’s a fun way to share my musical talent. It is really exciting to see people share their excitement when the Piper comes marching into an event. Especially being able to celebrate on joyous occasions like Saint Patrick’s Day.
Where are some of the most memorable places or events you’ve played?
Over the past decade I’ve played the pipes to commemorate the blessings of a wedding, playing a hero into Heaven by performing at funeral services and times of joyous occasions like St. Patrick’s Day. I consider it an honor to be invited to play at such special occasions to help celebrate one’s life and legacy.
I’ve been honored to play at many community events. The most memorable is playing alongside the Coastal Florida Police & Fire Pipes & Drums in the 58th Presidential Inauguration Parade. We received a crisp and commanding salute from President Trump.
The most distinguished memory was created most recently. I was honored with being able to play at the Speaker Designation Ceremony of Representative Paul Renner in front of the Florida House of Representatives at the Florida State Capitol. What made it so special was being able to represent my community, the fire service and honoring a good friend.
Do you have a dream gig, and if so, what is it or where is it?
One of my bucket list gigs is being able to play in a New York City Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Growing up those were really special celebrations; I’d love to join one of the bands that day for such an esteemed event.
Check out more of The Paddy Piper’s adventures here.