Southdown School Celebrates
Charles Armstrong is a busy man, but never too busy to set aside time for a St. Patrick's Day visit to Southdown Primary School. That's important because Mr. Armstrong is one of the best bagpipe players on Long Island and the sounds of his craft are quite popular with students.
On a day when everyone claims a little piece of Irish heritage, Mr. Armstrong came dressed in traditional clothing, including a kilt and appropriate socks. Along with his beard, the musician looked like he just stepped out of County Waterford in Ireland.
Teachers brought students out into Southdown's hallways as Mr. Armstrong walked through playing the instrument that makes some of the most unique sounds in the field of music. The youngsters were fascinated by the melodies and the strong sounds created by the instrument.
Mr. Armstrong takes delight in the positive and powerful reaction his appearance and performance elicits each year. "He consistently thrills and amazes our students and staff with his handsome appearance in full kilt, as well as his ability to make music using that most unusual instrument," Southdown Principal Michelle Marino said.
The students in fourth grade teacher Patrice Monks' class were especially happy to greet Mr. Armstrong since he is the uncle of their classmate, Cameron Fehrs, who welcomed her Uncle Charlie to the building.
The special day and the appearance of an authentic bagpiper provide teachers with an opportunity to present lessons in the all things Irish, including Ireland's culture, traditions, foods and people.
Bagpipes are not an instrument easily played, but Mr. Armstrong manages to make his performance appear effortless and he expertly hits all the right notes.
"It just wouldn't be St. Patrick's Day without him," Mrs. Marino said