‘Peter Piper’ pays tribute to frontline workers during pandemic, strikes sour note with some neighbours
A bagpiper in Fergus is facing criticism from some of his neighbours for his instrumental tributes to frontline workers.
Peter Hummel, better known as ‘Peter Piper,’ has been playing the bagpipes outside his home several times each week since the start of the pandemic.
“Almost every night at 7:30 I’m on,” Hummel said.
His performances are streamed online for local healthcare workers and beyond to see.
Many neighbors say they enjoy the daily performances and support Hummel’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to frontline workers.
“I think what [he is] doing is a great thing,” says Debbie Smeltzer, Hummel’s neighbour. “He’s brought us all together.”
Other residents have not been impressed with the noisy tributes. Rob Splinter lives nearby and filed a formal noise complaint to try and put an end to the piping.
“I think they sound like something running over a cat,” Splinter said. “I don’t think it’s respectful for him to be playing, disturbing his neighbours on a nice day like this. He was just playing and I had to close my windows because I couldn’t hear my TV.”
During the pandemic, Ontario Provincial Police and Centre Wellington by-law officials have also shown up to Hummel’s home because of the complaints.
Centre Wellington councillor Kirk McElwain is in support of Hummel’s tributes, saying he has every right to play.
“There was really no part of the noise by-law that pertains to what [Hummel] is doing,” McElwain said. “He wasn’t breaking any law there.”
Hummel has created ‘Piping Isn’t a Crime’ lawn signs for neighbours who support his piping.
"It was supposed to be a visual demonstration [of what] the community is all about and this is what we’re going to support," Hummel said.
Residents can buy the signs, with proceeds going to a local charity that helps rural women in crisis.
Hummel says he is playing for a purpose, not to be a pain.
He adds, he’s willing to put up with the neighbourhood feud in the meantime, and says he won’t stop until the pandemic is over.