UP Music Weekends
Spring Music

About the Teachers

Joey Abarta

Los Angeles native, Joey Abarta got his start on the uilleann pipes studying with Dublin native, Pat D’Arcy, and has studied with many piping masters since that time. In 2009, Jo-ey’s accomplished playing won him an all-Ireland championship, placing second world-wide at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. Today, he lives in Boston, where he divides his time be-tween performing, teaching and recording. In addition to his solo piping, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he teaches for Comhaltas Boston Irish music school and or-ganizes meetings of the Boston Pipers Club. He has a new record, "Copley Street".

Sean Gavin

Sean Gavin’s playing on the flute, whistle and uilleann pipes reflects his life-long immersion in and love for traditional Irish music. This was no doubt encouraged by his father, County Clare fiddler Mick Gavin. Currently residing in Chicago, he deeply values his many opportunities to spend time with Sligo flute legend Kevin Henry. Sean is a member of the critically ac-claimed groups NicGaviskey and Bua, as well as often performing with Sligo based band Téada. He is an active member of the Irish music community of Chicago where he performs and teaches regularly.

Ian Lawther

Ian Lawther plays the highland bagpipes, Northumbrian and Scottish smallpipes, uille-ann and border bagpipes, English concertina, whistles and flute. He began playing as a boy and has more than forty years playing experience, which includes film, TV and radio, as well as orchestral pieces. Ian regularly plays for weddings, christenings, funerals and teaches privately in the Seattle area and at festivals and workshops across the US and abroad.

EJ Jones

EJ Jones has a strong background in Scottish traditional piping; he has been a lifelong solo and pipe band competitor while at the same time he has always played for folk dancers and festivals. He co-founded the folk group Clandestine and now has his own group, The Piper Jones Band, which has released a recent CD "Revel Grove". In 2016 he produced a CD for his accom-panist Frances Cunningham. He has been a Scottish smallpipes maker since 2004 with a current focus on reeds and custom chanters in addition to a full time performing schedule.

Iain Mac Harg

Iain Mac Harg, the son of one of the premier bagpipe builders in the world, has studied with many renowned pipers and has earned the title of EUSPBA 2001 Grade One Season Champion. He has founded two Highland Pipe Bands in Vermont, played with several folk groups, made two solo recordings and published a collection of original tunes for the bagpipes. After completing his Masters in Education, he went on to start the Vermont Institute of Piping where he has over 60 solo students.

Frances Cunningham

Frances Cunningham lives in Nashville, where she is a studio musician and teaches classes on accompaniment on Irish Bouzouki, Tenor Banjo, and Mandolin. Frances can illustrate the difference in accompaniment between Scottish and Irish tunes and has a feeling for their connection with Old TIme music. She toured as an accompanist to Shetland fiddler, Linda Anderson, she has played at the Grand Ole Opry for the last four years as a member of the Mike Snider Band, and tours regularly with the Piper Jones Band.

Bob Mitchell

Our host piper, Bob Mitchell is recognized as a successful solo competitor in the US and Canada, He’s worked for 20 years at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and has performed with a number of DC area bands including Iona and Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra. Although his greatest area of expertise is Highland piping, he also plays the Scottish smallpipes and border pipes.

Brian McCandless

Multi-instrumentalist, Brian McCandless plays a wide variety of music suitable for many kinds of pipes on the hurdy-gurdy. He is the author of a repertoire book of traditional and original hurdy gurdy compositions, and in 2000 released a CD of original hurdy gurdy and bag-pipe music, "Dancing on Sunday".

Mike MacNintch

Mike MacNintch, from Beacon, New York, plays a variety of bag-pipes and concentrates on Scottish, Breton and French dance music. He is a long time member of the Manchester Pipe Band, and helped found the Breton pipe band Bagad New York, and the North American Association of Lowland and Border Pipers. He has been playing Scottish Smallpipes since 1988.