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Fergus man plays bagpipes but his neighbours don't like it

He's known as Peter Piper
(stock photo)

Fergus resident, Peter Hummel, said his interest in bagpipes started when he was a kid.

While on the Mike Farwell Show on CityNews 570 Monday, Hummel said, "I've always loved the sound and I was always intrigued at how it worked."

He was fascinated by the imagery of the Scottish Highlander at the top of the hill with the mist rolling in.

After attempting to teach himself the instrument through watching YouTube videos, his wife decided she'd get him bagpipes lessons when he turned 35.

He called the instrument one of the most difficult to learn.

He used to practice in the backyard of his Fergus home at 5 p.m.

Hummel said air horns would go off, people shouted at him, and there were vulgarities.

He added that he even received visits from Ontario Provincial Police officers because of noise complaints.

"I don't think I'm breaking the law here so I just would play and the most I'd play is 20 to 30 minutes at a time when I would practice outside," said Hummel.

Hummel explained that he tried practicing at his local park, but received the same negative responses.

He decided if it didn't matter where he played, he'd just play at his home.

That's gotten him his nickname, Peter Piper.

Hummel said he understands that bagpipes aren't for everybody and he's tried to be considerate.

He said, "I think it's such a waste of resources in our community to call the OPP or the bylaw enforcement to take time out of their day--because they're busy, they're doing stuff--to tell me something that I already know that somebody doesn't like me playing bagpipes."

Bylaws in Centre Wellington don't restrict noise levels until after 9 p.m. 

But, Hummel says he's found a compromise.

He now plays in front of his house at 7:30 p.m., in the evening most nights in support of frontline workers and it seems to have calmed tension with his neighbours.

"I feel like vulgarities and air horns have stopped since I play at the front," said Hummel.

He's also received positive responses. 

Hummel says neighbours that live on his street have come out to watch him and they've become super close friends.

"We're almost like family now," he added.

Hummel also plays in the Guelph Pipe Band and is now able to get his practice time in with the ensemble, instead of in his backyard.

In the meantime, Hummel has started a sign campaign and signs have started appearing around Fergus reading: 'Piping is not a crime.'

Hummel said money from the campaign will be donated to a local charity supporting rural women in crisis.

Anyone who wants to take part in Hummel's sign campaign can search him by name on Facebook and send him a message.

He also invites anyone who has a problem with his bagpipe playing to knock on his door and have a chat with him.

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