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Happy 15 Years Off Kilter!

July 1st marks 15 years that the band Off Kilter has entertained countless visitors with their trademark high kicks and hijinks on their home stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot.

While the band has grown in popularity, (in fact, many would argue it is the best entertainment in Epcot), it has not outgrown its original concept. Did you know that founder Jamie Holton began playing bagpipes when he was just 11 years old?!

AllEars Senior Editor Deb Koma interviewed founder Jamie Holton back in 2001!

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"My parents come from a Scottish background and loved bagpipes, so I started studying how to play them when I was young," he explains. After winning the first competition he ever entered, he "continued up the competition ladder," searching for the best teachers and playing in a pipe band in Daytona Beach.

In 1990, Jamie, by then an accomplished piper, was able to convert his unusual skill into a full-time position at Walt Disney World, when he became a member of the Caledonian Bagpipe Trio, which performed in World Showcase. The following year he traveled to Tokyo Disneyland, where he originated the Fantasyland Bagpiper, a solo act that combined piping with comedy.

Caledonian Bagpipe Band
Jamie Holton on the left

By 1996, Jamie started to develop an idea he'd had: to blend his love of bagpipes and traditional Celtic music with rock-and-roll to create a band with a "world music" sound. He met Irishman Mark Weldon, a musician (and former All-Ireland motocross champion) with a wealth of Celtic musical knowledge, and the two began talking about the concept. They shared their growing excitement with keyboardist Tony Escapa, recruited lead guitarist Randy Holbrook and drummer Scott Zymowski, who had been working in a band at Disney's Pleasure Island.


Here's a look back at some of the coverage and photos of Off Kilter that we've shared on AllEars.

Blogger Jack Spence highlighted them when discussing the Canada Pavilion:

In 1997, the Celtic-rock band Off Kilter was formed and became a permanent fixture at Epcot. Besides drums, fiddles, and guitars, bagpipes are a part of the instrumental makeup. The group became so popular that a permanent stage (The Mill Stage) and seating was erected shortly after their arrival. Although they perform a wide range of songs, they generally try to present pieces from Canadian artist and composers.

The Mill Stage

Off Kilter



And our photobloggers have made Off Kilter their focus on several occasions:

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Tony Escapa is the band's keyboardist.

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Randy Holbrook, lead guitarist

Off Kilter at Epcot
Copyright © 2007 Barrie Brewer, Nikon D50, 18-200VR, 1/160s shutter, f6.3
Founder Jamie Holton

Photo Blogger Scott Thomas created this "postcard" of the band!


Lead by singer and bagpipe player, Jamie Holton (upper right below), Off Kilter's unmistakable sound pulls people in and their fun on stage presence keeps them there. Along with Jamie, (from top left) bass guitarist Mark Weldon, master guitarist Randy Holbrook and keyboardist Tony Escapa. Not pictured is drummer Scott Zymowski. Click the Photo for a Larger Version.

Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase, Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida
Off Kilter on stage in the Canada pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase.


Jamie recalls, "When we approached Disney with the idea, they were very supportive -- they told us they trusted us to do a good job with it." When they finally auditioned, Holton says they were enthusiastically welcomed. "As far as I know, we're the first band here that was ever listened to and hired on the same day," he adds.

Check the Epcot Times Guide to see when Off Kilter is playing!

Off Kilter's website: http://www1.offkilter.net/index.html

Their CDs are sold at the Kiosks in the Canadian Pavilion in Epcot.

Amazon also has some of the music for sale.

Everyone at AllEars® wishes Off Kilter continued success!!!


The previous post in this blog was BRAVE - A Review of the Movie.

The next post in this blog is July 4th Celebrations in Epcot.

Comments (23)

JR:

Back in the day when I was a CP, I used to go over to Epcot on my days off to do my homework. It beat sitting in the apartment, and how many people can say that they went to Epcot just to do their homework? Anyway, I'd always take my backpack and sit on Randy's side of the stage and work until they started. Then, I'd enjoy the show. It got to the point that I think Randy recognized my backpack--I always got a weird look of "possibly-maybe-could it be?!" recognition from him. When they finished, I'd take my bag over to Germany to get a pretzel and then take my bag and my pretzel to Italy and sit in the piazza to finish my homework. And...let's face it...Once, I called my parents just to rub in the fact that I was just chilling, working on my homework--in Italy. :)

Roger Schultz:

We met Off Kilter in 2010 at IrishFest in Indianapolis, IN.
They were playing 2 hour sets both Friday & Saturday nights.
We ran into them at Hotel Lobby/Lounge where we were staying.
They happened to be staying there too. they were really nice & funny.
We found out that this one of the few times they had played outside of Epcot.
We always enjoy seeing them at Epcot.

John Casalinuovo:

I am from Ohio and have been following Off Kilter from day one. Being a Annual Passholder my family and I travel to Disney World quite often. Being a working musician myself I appreciate great performances and that is exactly what this band provides everytime. Randy is also my favorite guitarist of all time and I have grown up listening to the likes of Beck, Clapton, Eric Johnson, ect. A MUST SEE AT EPCOT!

John Casalinuovo
45rpm

karen preacher:

My daughter and I always catch at least one show when we are there. She thinks they are crazy and fun and I love the music. We rarely sit down for the show - we are normally on the side feet tapping and ready to dance.

Doug Berryman:

We always try to catch an Off Kilter set when at Epcot. Nothing better than grabbing a pint at Rose and Crown and getting a seat to listen to Off Kilter.

Mad Capn Bob:

Off Kilter has brought their high energy performance here to Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio a few times...

Anne Heriot:

My teens and I love Off Kilter. I was a Champion Highland Dancer for 12 years and whenever I hear bagpipes it draws a smile from me. Last visit to WDW I bought two of their CD's and now in the car I rock along to their music. As we live in Australia our visits to WDW are a long way apart so Off Kilter's music keeps the magic going for me in between. Happy anniversary Off Kilter and may there be many more years to enjoy.

The other bagpiper pictured is Donald McCallum who performed as Pipes of Scotland and Pipes of Nova Scotia in the UK and Canada showcases respectively.

He's currently a merchandise host in the Magic Kingdom's Emporium on Main Street.

CArol:

Happy 15 -- a must see when in EPCOT..... Can't get enough of this group. They are the best.

Michael MacDonald:

Canada is one of our favorite places to visit at Epcot. Off Kilter just adds to the reasons why this beautiful area is at the top of our list. Excellent music that is enjoyed by everyone of any age.

Peppermint Patty:

You know, every time I see these guys I wave at them and they always act like they remember me! I find that quite endearing. Love their music and their humor. They never disappoint!

Ronald stalsberg Jr:

We make it a point to see Off Kilter several times on every trip. When not at WDW we have all of there CDs to keep us entertained. There's nothing better than a cold Guiness and Off Kilter when visiting Epcot.

Joni:

Off Kilter is a must. If you have never seen them Make it a Must Do on your next visit.
If you have then you are a fan you can't listen to them and not be. Please do not ever take away Off Kilter. EPCOT would never be the same.

deberah davis:

Congrats on 15 years. My daughter and I visit
Disney World every 2 years and we always see Off Kilter numerous times while we are there. You guys are great, hope to see you in 2013.

Paul in CT:

We ALWAYS make a point of watching Off Kilter perform many times during our visits to WDW. They ARE the best live entertainment at Epcot!

Mike:

Off kilter is always a must for my wife and I. Usually it is first England for fish and chips, then pick up a Guinness and sit and listen to a set of Off Kilter. We both have several of their songs on our iPods to listen to while exercising. A visit to Disneyworld is not complete without hearing Off kilter.

Tony:

I make it a point to catch a show every time I visit my favorite park. They have become a staple on every trip to EPCOT. They're awesome!!

Marlene:

Although we have visited Disney World about a dozen times dating back more than 20 years, we had never seen Off Kilter until September of 2010. We returned in 2011 and made a point of catching their entertaining performance once again. They represent the total package of talent, humour and stage presence all rolled into one.

thomas mangano:

happy anniversary! well done! every time at EP always take in at least one show, One time after an allears meet at soarin I was able to get a picture of all 4 of them standing up front on stage

Jacqueline Howley:

Our family loves Off Kilter and always make it a point of catching a show when we can! Our first time was our first trip to WDW and their first year at Epcot. I agree with those who say they are the best entertainment at EPCOT, their music, stage performance and handsome faces make it a must see show! Happy Anniversary OK!

We love Off Kilter! Epcot is our favorite park at WDW and hearing the music drift across the lake is always a siren song for us. Have several of their CDs...and methinks its time to return for a new one!

:)

Beth:

Congratulations Off Kilter - and Happy Canada Day on your anniversary!

They are on Epcot staple for us, awesome band!

We always look for Off Kilter and enjoy a set or two!

They are the best at EPCOT!

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 1, 2012 7:30 AM.

The previous post in this blog was BRAVE - A Review of the Movie.

The next post in this blog is July 4th Celebrations in Epcot.

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