Atlanta boy to play with iconic Irish folk group 'The Chieftains'

Well, what's happening to 15-year-old Westminster student Harrison Parker on Saturday evening (Feb. 28) isn't exactly that.

He has classic oil paintings by a family friend hanging in his room in Buckhead, not posters.

And he and about 10 other members of the Stone Mountain Atholl Highlanders Pipes and Drums will be playing Celtic music, not rock.

Still, the ninth grader thinks it's "huge, absolutely huge" to join iconic Irish folk act The Chieftains Saturday at the Fox Theatre. (Where Parker has seen "lots of professional grade stuff.")

"Lovely," The Chieftains' Paddy Moloney, says by phone earlier this week.

For years now the group, which as been around for nearly five decades, has asked promoters in to invite local musicians to play with them on their tour.

"I remember one time we played Atlanta it was pandemonium," Moloney recalls. "Thirty-six musicians turned out. It was tremendous for us — because it's just good camaraderie. We want to keep this great tradition alive... but with 36 more people up there, the promoters went berserk."

On the other hand, Parker, who's been a pipe player for almost three year, appears rather calm about the opportunity.

That might be in part because he lost his maternal grandmother a few day ago. (He played "Amazing Grace" at her funeral.)

"This is huge, not because I'm attempting to achieve fame," says Parker, "but because I get to spread some music to people in a time of mourning for some, like me. Or hopefully in a time of celebration for many others... including me, too."

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