Thomson resident Mark Cheek is one of few bagpipers in the CSRA
By Brian Bowden

The 13th generation Cheek doesn't have hard evidence to prove his Scottish descent, but between breaking down family names and his expertise on the bagpipes it seems pretty evident. "I never was aware as a child of any particular Scottish connection," said 26-year McDuffie County resident Mark Cheek. "It appears that these English-descended Cheeks married Scottish women. I don't have any of that confirmed, I'm just going by family names."
The 63-year-old didn't start his bagpiping career until he was 43. "I started out by teaching myself," said Cheek. Shortly after finishing his doctorate at the University of Georgia, Cheek had free time to dabble with his leisurely activities. "I've always enjoyed various hobbies," said Cheek who also has a love for astronomy. "92 or 93 was when I was really getting the interest up, but I started playing in 94."
The interest sparked from an Irish step-dancing performance, which featured a bagpiper, that Cheek attended. "He was playing the most beautiful music," said Cheek. "I didn't know anything about Scottish pipes or Irish pipes or anything at that point. I just went and researched bagpipes."
Cheek also came across a group of guys that were beginners like himself. "I came to find out that there were a group of guys in Augusta that were trying to learn to play pipes," said Cheek. "I just showed up and said can I come be a part and they said sure."

To read more on this story, pick up the Thursday, June 5, edition of The McDuffie Progress.





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