Evans Palmer.

Evans Palmer: The pipes are blowing

The bagpipes have always had a strong connection with battle, war and the military. During World War I, 20-year-old Piper James Richardson, who was the son of David and Mary Prosser Richardson of Chilliwack, played his bagpipes during battle as a means of inspiring his company to successfully rush and capture their position. The instrument has the ability to stir one’s soul – evoking strong, powerful emotions. Evans Palmer was moved by such emotion and is proud to have the ability to convey it to others. Evans was born in Fredericton, New Brunswick but headed west at an early age. The family first settled in Saskatchewan before moving even farther west, setting in Chilliwack. “My family wanted to leave the east. My maternal grandmother lived in Vancouver so we had that connection,” he said.Music was part of the fabric of his family life. His father played the fiddle while his mother followed along on the guitar. He quickly developed a keen interest in guitars and by the age of 12 had learned how to play them proficiently. “I also come from a long line of singers. My maternal grandmother was actually quite musical. It’s in my genes,” he chuckled. Evans was painfully shy as a youngster and while he enjoyed school for the most part, he wasn’t into the social scene. “Back in those days I was rather shy,” he smiled. He began working in sawmills but was doing it to get by. He had no particular career aspirations. The one thing that he was passionate about was music. He started playing guitar and singing in the church choir and eventually took an interest in Scottish country dancing. “It was during this time that I took up the bagpipes. I was taking lessons with these people who played the pipes and this led me to become interested in playing them,” he said. This was the beginning of the rest of his life for Evans determined that he wanted to entertain within the framework of the tourism industry. He now had a goal, the passion and determination to follow his dream and it came true. Shortly after his new found realization, Evans began entertaining at Minter Gardens and performances at Hell’s Gate followed shortly. “I was working six and sometimes seven days a week during the summer season out at Hell’s Gate. I loved the opportunity of meeting so many people,” he enthused. In the off season, Evans would either pick up his 12-string guitar or his bagpipes, wearing his kilt, to perform at a wide variety of functions in Chilliwack and throughout the Lower Mainland.  During his busy performing schedule, Evans found time to release two CDs, both of which received positive reviews. “Hell’s Gate is a unique venue and when I was performing there on a consistent basis, I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful people. Really, they are an international audience and they appreciated the music. I have CDs all over Canada, the US, Scotland, England and Australia,” he explained.  He was featured on CBC Radio and admits that he even has correspondence from the Tommy Hunter Show. “I never did get on but we did correspond,” he chuckled. Evans classifies his music as Celtic/Folk and in the not so distant future hopes to put out another album. “This one will feature music from Tyson and Lightfoot and others like them and I’ll even throw in some of my own stuff. What can I say, music is a way of life for me,” he ended.

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