SANTA MONICA—Every night since L.A.’s stay-at-home order was issued March 19, Santa Monica resident Andrew McGreggor has walked to the Palisades to play a rendition of “Amazing Grace.” He dresses in a traditional red-and-green tartan and a protective facemask, takes his bagpipe, and heads to the park. It has been nearly two months since the start of his initiative. His sunset concerts are intended to honor the memory of coronavirus victims, as well as to bring comfort to the community around him.
Many in the neighborhood have shown their appreciation, with residents assisting from their balconies routinely. The Santa Monica Fire Department reportedly stopped by to listen as well, flashing their lights with a round of applause for McGreggor’s efforts.
Neighbor Lisa Lipman spoke with CBS to say: “It is just so special and heartwarming. Feels like there’s life again.”
The 40 year-old McGreggor spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the pandemic’s effects on his morale. “This is the first time in my life that I’ve known despair,” McGregor said. “Despair — to use a Southern California surfing analogy — you can ride the wave of it, or it can crush you. Sometimes, it’ll do both in the same day.”
He indicated that he will keep playing and spreading his message of hope and community until the stay-at-home order is lifted. The Los Angeles order was first put in place in March. It was recently extended until May 15, and will soon expire. McGreggor can be heard every sunset at Palisades Park and all along Ocean Avenue.