Gority was born in Altoona and graduated in 1978 from Altoona Area High School, where he played in the stage band, orchestra, and marching band.
"I played saxophone, clarinet, and flute, whatever woodwind they threw in my hands. They were fascinating instruments. You could put a woodwind in my hands, and I could figure it out," Gority said.
While studying at Pennsylvania State University, where he received bachelor's and master's degrees in political science, he met a meteorology professor, Alistair Fraser, who played the bagpipes.
"He got me going," Gority said.
Since 1985, Gority has performed with or been a piper with the Jaffa Highlanders Pipes and Drums of Altoona, where today he is the group's pipe major.
"I am in charge of the music. I make the decision what we will play and how the songs will be grouped together and who will get to play," Gority said.
He also has performed with the Nittany Highland Pipes and Drums of State College and the Catamount Pipe Band of White River Junction, Vt.
About five years ago, Gority and his brother went to State College to see a concert by the six-time Grammy Award winning Irish group the Chieftains. He recognized one of the players - an old friend, Mike MacNintch.
"After the show, I talked to him. He said they were playing in Philadelphia and asked me if I wanted to play," Gority said. "From then on, it was a regular thing with them."
Gority has gone on to play as a featured performer and soloist with the group.
He said there was nothing like playing at Carnegie Hall.
"It was extraordinary. It was spectacular. . . . It is acoustically perfect," Gority said. "Carnegie Hall is as good as it gets. If you get to play at Carnegie Hall, you are in good shape."
He called his turn as a solo-featured performer at the Kimmel Center "the best moment of my life."
"You come onstage, and the applause hits you in the face," Gority said. "It was an extraordinary moment."
Bruce Kelley of Altoona, a drummer with the Jaffa Highlanders, has been friends with Gority since their days in the high school band.
"You couldn't have a better person to be your friend," Kelley said. "He is one of the brightest guys I have ever met and a very accomplished musician. He is known throughout the Northeast."
Gority owns 27 sets of bagpipes in 17 different varieties. They cost between $500 and $8,000 a set.
"If I see a new set of bagpipes, I have to try them and buy them," Gority said.
Gority acknowledges that not everyone likes bagpipes.
"If you hear a set of bagpipes, half of the people will run for the door and the other half will run for the stage," Gority said. "For me, it was absolute love."