This was actually more fun than I thought it would be when I first saw this clip floating around earlier today. Attorney General Barr was on stage for the US Attorneys’ National Conference. To start the proceedings the NYPD’s Emerald Society Pipe Band marched out and played a song, followed by a presentation of the flag and the national anthem.

After the Anthem the pipe band began to play another song. When it ended, AG Barr walked off stage behind a curtain and returned with his own set of pipes. He played along with the band for an entire song until the band marched out.

After putting away his instrument, Barr came to the podium and said he wanted to explain how this had come about. Pointing to the other people on the stage he said, “Jessie and Rob and Zach thought they were going to surprise me by having the Emerald Society Pipe Band come down from New York.” Then he added, “But as you know I’m very proficient at, dare I say the word, spying.” This brought a laugh from the crowd.

CBS News reports that Barr was a serious piper before his first stint as Attorney General:

According to Pipes and Drums Magazine, Barr takes the bagpipe very seriously — he’s been playing since before his legal career began. Barr was a member of the now defunct U.S.-based Grade 2 Denny & Dunipace Pipe Band – which later evolved into the Scottish & Irish Imports and City of Washington – from the early-1980s until the early-1990s. Barr played with the band in a number of competitions, including the World Championships.

After all the fun, Barr gave a wide-ranging speech about the DOJ’s focus on everything from violent crime to theft of intellectual property by foreign governments. Here’s the clip already queued up to the moment Barr went backstage to grab his pipes.