Summer 2016

Pipe Dreams

A guy with a Texas twang wears the tartan of County Limerick

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Photo: Dana Smith

From his Glengarry bonnet to his ghillie brogues, Brian “Andy” Collins, D18, is the very picture of a Scottish Highland bagpiper. Then he greets you, and his warm Texan twang gives him away. Collins learned the pipes in Highland Park, a suburb of Dallas, where the high school mascot was the Scotsman, and the marching band appropriately included a pipe corps.

“Turns out I had a knack for it,” he says. Soon, he was playing with the North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums, a powerhouse on the competitive pipe and drum circuit.

He wears the tartan of County Limerick, where the Collins family is from—“I’m Irish, with a little Scottish thrown in there,” he says—and plays a set of McCallum pipes, made in Kilmarnock, Scotland.

Collins returned to his undergraduate alma mater, Middlebury College, for the annual St. Patrick’s Day concert this year, but he hasn’t performed much since starting dental school at Tufts. He did play at last year’s memorial service to honor donors to the gross anatomy program. “There are some very good pipe bands around Boston, but dental school has taken a front seat for now,” he says.

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