Pipe dream

Published 11:28 am Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dr. Chris Karmilovich dons a kilt and plays a traditional set of Scottish bagpipes outside his office in Franklin. -- Don Bridgers | Tidewater News


FRANKLIN—Dr. Chris Karmilovich’s hobby has taken him to more than 70 churches in Virginia and North Carolina.

The Franklin chiropractor also has played the bagpipes at weddings and funerals as far away as Georgia and New Jersey.

“It spread by word-of-mouth over the years,” Karmilovich said.

The 44-year-old took lessons with Tidewater Pipes and Drums beginning in 1997, and plays about three times a week.

“I like the sound they make,” Karmilovich said. “It requires a lot of wind to play them, and as an ex-runner I thought it would help with my lungs.”

He has also performed competitively.

Karmilovich owns three sets of Scottish bagpipes and a set of Irish bagpipes. The Scottish version of bagpipes is more common and requires the player to blow into a reed to play. Irish bagpipes require the player to sit and use a bellow bag to play. The Irish bagpipes go to two octaves, where the Scottish version goes to one.

“They have more range,” Karmilovich said of the Irish pipes.

He owns a knee-high Scottish kilt for performances.

Karmilovich’s children are Brianna, 14; Erin, 12; and Conner, 7.