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Student plays bagpipes for former instructor - from the parking lot of his retirement complex

Stay-at-home orders didn't stop Joonas Martin, an eighth grader at Lakeridge Middle School, from bringing some cheer to his former bagpipe instructor.

Colin Mackenzie was Joonas' first instructor when he started playing the bagpipes at eight years old.

Mackenzie's daughter called Joonas' mom, Inkeri, asking if Joonas would be able to play the bagpipes outside MacKenzie's window to cheer him up.

They jumped at the opportunity and coordinated a time they knew would work for Mackenzie. COURESY PHOTO: INKERI MARTIN - Joonas Martin plays the bagpipes outside former instructor's window.

Joonas said it wasn't too strange to be piping in a parking lot.

"You tend to pipe in the middle of parking lots more than you think," he said. "The only thing that was hard about it was that we haven't actually band practice since quarantine started … It has been about almost a month."

Inkeri Martin drove Joonas to The Springs in Lake Oswego, where Mackenzie and his wife have lived since early March.

"We drove over, parked outside their window, played a few tunes," Joonas said. "They seemed happy that I was coming to play."

Now that MacKenzie is getting older, playing the bagpipes is harder for him to do himself.

Inkeri Martin said other music students might consider similar gestures as the COVID-19 crisis continues.

"It's a nice way to social distance," she said.

Joonas is a member of the Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band. He said playing the bagpipes is uniquely challenging because unlike other instruments, you don't have sheet music with you during performances. He said it's a lot of memorization and physical effort.

Mackenzie and his wife are friends with Joonas' grandparents. The two families remain close friends to this day.

"It was a really nice surprise for them," Inkeri Martin said.

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