CORONAVIRUS

Santa Monica Bagpiper Gets People Through Rough Waters With 'Amazing Grace'

Andrew McGregor is "doing his best to give the people anything they can grab onto," said a neighbor.

Bagpiper Andrew McGregor gets kitted out every evening in his red-and-green tartan, his sporran and flashes to play a soulful version of “Amazing Grace” for his Santa Monica neighbors. 

McGregor, 40, who describes himself as a magician, artist and robotics developer, seems a tad quirky for his serious sunset missions. But he has surprising depths only “Amazing Grace” can plumb.

“This is the first time in my life that I’ve known despair,” McGregor told a Los Angeles Times reporter in an interview Monday. “Despair — to use a Southern California surfing analogy — you can ride the wave of it, or it can crush you. Sometimes, it’ll do both in the same day.”

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, McGregor has become a hit with his neighbors, who go outside each evening to hear him play or to cheer for him from apartment balconies across the street. McGregor chose “Amazing Grace” because it’s a song that “resonates in such a sacred manner with so many people.”

The reception his music received was “really unexpected and kind of awe-inspiring,” McGregor said.

Check out the video above.


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