Mon May 24, 2010
By A Treasure Coast essay by Paul Janensch
Fort Pierce, FL – It's hard to ignore Michael Hyde at a wedding, funeral or public ceremony. He's the one wearing a kilt and knee socks and - oh, yes - playing the bagpipes. He's one of the few professional bagpipers on the Treasure Coast. He even has an occupational license from the State of Florida. His wife Christine works at Indian River Medical Center. They have two daughters. Hyde, age 49 and of Irish descent, graduated from Vero Beach High School and served as an engineer on research vessels for the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in Fort Pierce. As a young boy in New Jersey, he became captivated by the bagpipes when hearing them played at events in which his father participated as a volunteer fire fighter. He took lessons, and 15 years ago he started playing in public. Five years ago, he turned pro. He charges a fee for playing at weddings and funerals. But he plays for free at patriotic and charitable events. You can see and hear him on Monday, May 31, at the Memorial Day ceremonies on Veterans Memorial Island in Vero Beach. At 10 a.m. he will play "Amazing Grace" when a wreath is placed at the marker of a service member killed in action. Michael Hyde told me that "Amazing Grace" is one of the tunes people request most frequently. It's a favorite of mine, as well. For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.
Treasure Coast essayist Paul Janensch was a newspaper editor and taught journalism at Quinnipiac University in Connecti