What started as a prank has evolved into a daily tradition in which the sound of bagpipes has brought a neighborhood in the northern part of Delaware together during the ongoing stay-at-home order.
For the past two weeks, Delaware resident Shawn Dysert has been playing bagpipes in his front yard every night at 7 p.m. Though the music only lasts a few minutes, neighbors stand on their porches or sidewalks listening to the music and cheering for him when he finishes for the evening.
“I’m like the Pied Piper” Dysert joked Thursday.
Dysert said the tradition started as a joke and explained that his 11-year-old daughter, Raegan, was trying to record a video for TikTok when he started playing the bagpipes outside near her to ruin her video.
“All I wanted to do was mess with her, so I ran down to the front of the house and started playing while she wanted to record,” Dysert said. “The neighbor across the street said, ‘Play another one,’ and another neighbor asked me to play something. I ended up playing a few songs, and they asked if I could do it again tomorrow.”
Dysert, a patrol sergeant with the City of Worthington Police Department, said he’s been playing bagpipes off and on for 25 years. He has performed for the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and at funerals.
As for his nightly performances in his front year, Dysert said he never expected the reaction he has received.
“Normally, bagpipes keep people away, but now they’re bringing people together,” he said. “It’s kind of overwhelming. We had one couple that was having their 51st wedding anniversary and they couldn’t go out to eat, so they pulled their car up and that was their date.”
Dysert’s wife, Stacey, has been posting videos of the performances to the neighborhood’s social media pages. She said the response to the videos has been very positive.
“It’s fun and exciting,” Stacey Dysert said. “So many people have come out. It’s nice to come together like this. We’ve actually gotten to know some of our neighbors we didn’t know.”
Raegan Dysert said she was enjoying the nightly tradition, even at the cost of her video.
“I was actually kind of mad because I had to re-record,” she joked.
Shawn Dysert said his favorite part is bringing the community together.
“(I like) that it’s for them, it’s not about me,” Dysert said. “People thank me because it’s something to look forward to. Outside of my job it’s nice to do stuff for people.”
Dysert said he plans to keep playing every night at 7 p.m. “rain or shine … until this is all over.”
“It’s not about me,” Dysert said. “It’s about people finding a glimmer of something to look forward to.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.