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The Vol Piper brings delight to neighborhoods with bagpipping skills

Tyler Roy first started bagpipping to commemorate his uncle. Now, he is using the talent to spread joy in the time of COVID-19.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One man is bringing joy back to the streets of Knoxville through a unique talent - bagpipping. 

Tyler Roy and his bagpipes are breaking up the long days of quarantine, and have become a welcome fixture in many neighborhoods in recent weeks.

“My blood runs orange just like most of the people here. I just wanted to maybe cheer some people up In this time of darkness that we are facing right now," Roy said. 

Roy first started bagpipping as a way to spread joy to his Holston Hills neighborhood where he grew up. He also continued doing it in memory of his uncle, who died from AIDs. 

Seeing people smile is why he does what he does. 

"I think I kind of broke the monotony of the kids having to stay inside fighting with each other playing video games. You know I just want to break that up a little bit, Give some joy in peoples lives," he said.

The bagpipping also serves a purpose. He is raising money for the community he plays in.

"We’ve raised over $1400 for Second Harvest," Roy said. "It’s overwhelming generosity that people are showing right now. I mean, people themselves are struggling and they’re still finding themselves able to give."

The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted Roy's routine as well. Normally, he said, he would be far from Knoxville.

"Normally I'd either be in Kenya now, or Ethiopia, or one of those countries. Maybe somewhere in southeast Asia. But because of Covid, I'm here in Knoxville."

But while he's here, he's intent on making a different.

"You know, I just feel the need to continue to help," he said. 

You can follow the Vol Piper on Facebook to make donations directly to Second Harvest, and follow along to if he is coming to your neighborhood. 

The Vol Piper is on a mission to raise the spirits of brave, socially distanced Knoxvillians as COVID-19 continues to force everyone indoors. I'll be going to a Knoxville neighborhood each day of the pandemic - while I'm still allowed to at least. I might even bring along some special guest pipers (at a safe distance!)

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