NI piper plays for Obama at White House

Grahame Harris had to fund his own trip to Washington
Grahame Harris had to fund his own trip to Washington

A local piper has helped kick off the St Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US by playing at a special event hosted by President Barack Obama.

Grahame Harris was among a small group of musicians from the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland invited to play at Tuesday’s lunch in the White House.

The 23-year-old is director of music with the Ballyclare-based Major Sinclair Memorial Pipe Band.

Speaking to the Newtownabbey Times from Washington DC, Mr Harris – who had to self-fund the trip – said: “I was asked if I’d be interested in going and I jumped at the chance.”

Twelve youth orchestra musicians – Grahame on Highland pipes, a Uilleann piper and 10 violinists – performed 18 pieces of music in the White House library in front of around 600 guests.