Beluga whale at Conn. aquarium intrigued by bagpipe music

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by SUSAN WYATT / KING 5 News

KREM.com

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 8:27 AM

Updated Sunday, Mar 16 at 8:40 AM

A beluga whale at a Connecticut aquarium appeared to enjoy being serenaded by a bagpiper playing for the trio of whales at the Mystic Aquarium.

Piper Thomas Leigh told KING 5  that he and his wife have a Scottish/Irish music and dance program and they had just finished a gig and had some time to kill so they stopped in at the aquarium.

He said he just happened to be all dressed up in his kilt and had his pipes in the car because they'd been performing earlier.

They struck up a conversation with an aquarium employee.

"(He) said one particular beluga, Juno, really likes new sights and sounds and responds to music, and would I mind playing my pipes for him to see how he would react," said Leigh.

Leigh played the Scottish smallpipes, which are smaller than the traditional Great Highland bagpipes. 

"I confess I was quite entranced," said Leigh. "It was amazing to be so close and to make eye contact with Juno. You could see how intelligent and curious he was. Making a cross-species connection through music was a very moving experience for me."

In addition to being a bagpiper for hire, Leigh is a member of the Catamount Pipe Band, based out of Montpelier, VT, and teaches Gaelic language through his wife's school, the Callanish School of Celtic Arts.


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