(Reuters) – Every evening, as the sun is setting over the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, California, the mournful notes of a bagpipe playing “Amazing Grace” ring out across the beach.
Andrew McGregor, dressed in a kilt and sporran, with a tartan face mask when he is not playing, says he wants to honor the victims of the coronavirus with his rendition of the traditional hymn.
“This is kind of a sacred ritual,” said McGregor, who is of Scottish ancestry. “I never know if my performance will be the memorial service performance someone needed, so I try to honor the instrument, the tradition and then that moment of sunset.”
McGregor said he started the evening performance about a week before the lockdown started in March. Now, as California begins easing restrictions, a small crowd gathers to listen.
“It was just heartwarming and heart-wrenching at the same time,” said Lisa Lipman, who lives nearby and was on her evening walk when she heard the sound of bagpipes and stopped to listen. “To hear live music, it’s been a while.”
Reporting by Lucy Nicholson and Jane Ross; Writing by Rosalba O’Brien; Editing by Cynthia Osterman