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Family shares heritage with public through musical instrument and festivals

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PAYSON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Members of a Utah family are carrying out their heritage by playing an instrument that’s been around since the 1500s.

John Andrew Barclay and his grandsons, Brennan and Peyton Barclay – who are cousins – are just a few of the Barclay boys who are performing with bagpipes in the Payson Scottish Festival.

John’s grandfather and Brennan and Peyton’s great-great-grandfather is the reason they’re all playing today.

John says his grandfather, Robert Barclay, immigrated to the United States after World War I. In 1937, Robert and other Scottish immigrants created The Utah Pipe Band – which is what the Barclay men continue to participate in today.

“When I was young,” John Barclay says, “I asked my father, ‘Why do we do this every holiday and on the weekends and that?’ And he goes, ‘It’s who we are. It’s what we do. It’s our heritage.’”

Playing the bagpipe his entire life, John says he taught his sons and is now teaching his grandsons. He says his granddaughters participate in Scottish dancing.

Coming from a Scottish heritage, John Barclay’s granddaughters perform Scottish dances and his grandsons play the bagpipes.
Courtesy: John Barclay

While Brennan and Peyton Barclay are the only ones in their schools that play the bagpipes, they say the reason they do it is because it’s a part of who they are.

“I do it for my family cause it’s tradition,” Peyton Barclay says.

“I guess they did a lot for me to get here today,” Brennan Barclay says.

Brennan Barclay also says he likes participating in the band because “the Scottish people did a lot of fun things like playing the bagpipes and wearing these fun uniforms.”

Brennan and Peyton Barclay are seventh-generation bagpipers in their family.

Playing the bagpipes takes a lot of practice and breath, but the Barclays say it’s also a chance to share their traditions with others wherever they go.

“Performing is an extension of our heritage,” John Barclay says.

The annual Payson Scottish Festival was held Friday-Saturday, July 12-13, and festival president Cody Hoagland says the amount of people attending this year doubled last year’s numbers.

As a descendant of Scottish heritage, Hoagland says it’s exciting to have more people coming to celebrate a part of him he tries to embrace.

“I want to live my heritage,” Hoagland says. “I live and breathe Scotland.”

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