Listening to pipe bands across social media playing Amazing Grace during the COVID crisis should cause us all to stop, listen and look around to reflect on how special we as pipers and drummers are.
John Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up without any particular religious conviction, but his life’s path was formed by a variety of twists and coincidences which were often put into motion by his recalcitrant insubordination.
Author Gilbert Chase writes “Amazing Grace” is “without a doubt the most famous of all the folk hymns,” and Jonathan Aitken, a Newton biographer, estimates the tune is performed about 10 million times annually.
As bagpipers and drummers we tend to take this tune for granted because the gawking onlookers expect to hear it from us; our own form of recalcitrant insubordination. Twists and coincidences, life and death – we know this tune does the fighting for us.
We do amazing things through music – and the plethora of social media posts are indicative of just how sweet the sound of the bagpipers playing Amazing Grace can be.
Amazed by Grace – not triumphant (not yet), merely grateful…