Steve Reece has no Scottish blood but eight years ago he began playing the Great Highland Bagpipes.

“I really love the sound,” says Reece, who plays marches, reels, and jigs. “People always ask, ‘Are you Scottish?’ But I just play for the music.”

A grad student studying for a Ph.D. in chemistry, Reece often is invited to weddings and funerals where he plays Amazing Grace or the 79th Farewell to Gibraltar.

Aside from his teacher, Reece knows no one who plays the bagpipes, but he says, interest in the instrument has begun to spring up in the U.S. thanks to the Internet, which now makes teachers, advice, and instruction more available.

Reece recently blared MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart as passers-by watched amazed. “I’m always surprised,” he says, “how little people know about the bagpipes.”