BAGPIPE MUSIC: Newton Firefighters Learning

Bagpipes are often played during solemn occasions. The wailing sound can tend to captivate people.

“After 35, 36 years of playing it I’m still taken by that…I don’t know…it just touches people right to the core,” said Newton Bagpiper, Ron Hustad.

Hustad has played bagpipes all over Iowa, for parades, weddings, and funerals. Since 2010 he has been the official bagpiper for the Newton Fire Department.

Now after some interest by some young firefighters, a bagpipe and drum corps is being started. Hustad is training more bagpipers like Steve Ashing. They first train with a practice “chanter” a smaller version of the bagpipe.

The Newton Bagpipe and Drum Core will debut a year from now at a firefighter convention.

“I was able to talk with him ask if he d take interest in giving someone lessons and what was involved in it. He’s been nothing but the greatest support you’d ever think of,” said firefighter Steve Ashing.

Newton’s Fire Chief Jarrod Wellik is supportive of the effort.

“They do all this on their own…it’s a great display of the pride they have in what they do,” said Wellik.

The bagpipe and drum unit is being started with no tax dollars. The Fire Department can take donations on behalf of the non-profit pipe and drum unit.

Ron Hustad will play bagpipes at the 9/11 observance Wednesday night at 5:30 at the Newton Fire Department.

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