During the last couple of weeks, rumors of a bagpipe player on the corner of Phelan Road and Route 395 began springing up on social media. On April 30th, this paper was able to confirm those rumors. As the sun retreated in the distance behind the San Gabriel Mountains, the silhouette of a man stood on the southwest side of the intersection and serenaded the 395 traffic with the churning of his bagpipe.
Upon first hearing of the man and seeing a short clip of him online, the feeling of joy swept over me. A sensation that has become somewhat alien as the world navigates these difficult and unprecedented times. That someone in the nearby community could be so kindhearted as to bring their talent and commit this act of selfless service, well, that’s the kind of story that is truly newsworthy. In the earliest online posting that mentioned the mysterious figure, it said that he was at the intersection somewhere between the hours of five and six pm. So diligently, I tried to catch him in the act. Unfortunately, on that first try, no bagpipe player appeared between that posted time-frame.
It wasn’t until several days later that by coincidence, I found myself at the crossing as his performance was already in motion. Thrilled at my luck, I pulled over on the southeast side of the junction to listen to his music. The time was approximately 7:30 in the evening. As vehicles passed the dark figure playing atop the dirt mound, they honked their horns in approval of this act that has yet to be explained. While the first couple of songs played did not ring familiar to my ear, his last one certainly did, and that song was Amazing Grace. Hearing the song played by that instrument, instantaneously puts the mind in a mournful place. Appropriate considering how many lives have already been lost to this pandemic. As the silhouette repeated the tune, he abruptly turned and left; and just like that, the performance ended. We were unable to obtain a statement. But whatever his reason or cause for playing, thank you, kind sir, for making the world a better place with your music.