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2024 Instructors


Joey Abarta has spent the last ten years touring North America, Europe, and Asia, teaching and performing music on the uilleann pipes. A Los Angeles native, he first received instruction on the pipes from Dubliner Pat D’Arcy, a founding member of the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club.

His musical skills have been further honed by several visits to Ireland, a year-long stint working in Japan, and continuing relationships with master pipers. In August of 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an All-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. This year Joey became the first American uilleann piper to win first prize at the An tOireachtas.

Currently based in Boston, Joey divides his attention between performance, teaching, and recording. In addition to performing solo, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The GreenFields of America; while at home, he organizes the meetings of the Boston Pipers Club, teaches for Comhaltas’ Boston Music School, and organizes various traditional music concerts and events.


Piper, teacher, workshop leader and composer, Dick Hensold is the leading Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, and for the past 20 years has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, and across the United States.

Based in St Paul, MN, he is a full-time musician, passionately presenting the traditional music of Scotland, Cape Breton Island, and Northumberland, as well as Nordic folk music, early music, and traditional Cambodian music. He is also an active composer, studio musician and theater musician, and his solo Northumbrian smallpipes CD Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes was released in 2007. 

Dick Hensold is a bagpipe specialist that came to the pipes after a solid early music training at Oberlin Conservatory, so he combines a love for traditional music and a rigorous emphasis on musicianship and expression—his interpretations of both early music and traditional folk are therefore not always what you would expect, but are generally universally satisfying. For the past 25 years he has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, and across the United States. 

2022 sees the resumption of Dick’s touring, and the release of The Welcome Companion, the new duo album with Patsy O’Brien, and the re-release of his 2007 CD, Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes. (See this website's "Recordings" page for more details.) He continues to teach Northumbrian smallpipes at workshops around the country and online.

Laura MacKenzie  plays an array of wind instruments that includes wooden flutes, many whistles, concertina, Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes, French Cornemuse, Spanish Gaita, Medieval English Greatpipes, Leicester smallpipes, gemshorn and voice. She has learned from many tradition bearers on both sides of the Atlantic, and has herself been recognized as a Master Folk Artist (Minnesota State Arts Board). She has been lauded as a "Celtic music wizard" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and a "High priestess of Celtic music" by Minnesota Public Radio.

Of Scottish heritage, Laura's people (MacKenzies and Rankins) came to America by way of Nova Scotia and Northern Ireland.

    From production work (and appearance) on A Prairie Home Companion to fieldwork in ethnomusicology, from rockin' out in Boiled in Lead to national touring with Lorie Line and her Pop Chamber Orchestra, MacKenzie has enjoyed vast and varied experience in the worlds of music while developing as a performing artist.

    Laura has received an abundance of honors and awards over the years, including being selected for the original Cherish the Ladies series, featuring noted women in Irish music in America, plus multiple performing arts awards and fellowships. In recent years, Laura was awarded a coveted Bush Foundation Artists Fellowship in Traditional and Ethnic Performing Arts as well as a McKnight Foundation Performing Artists Fellowship.

~ Among other notables, Laura has performed in extended productions with Frank McCourt (Pulitzer prize winning author of Angela's Ashes), T.R. Knight (of Grey's Anatomy, on stage at the Guthrie Theater) and Katie McMahon (of Riverdance). She also performs and records with Dáithí Sproule (of Altan), and with Billy McLaughlin.

Michael Roddy is a musician specializing in Scottish Highland bagpipes, smallpipes, border pipes, and Irish uilleann pipes. Michael also works as a choral conductor, singer, and composer/arranger. 

For nearly 30 years, Michael has been developing a unique blend of Scottish and Irish piping styles.  His ability to comfortably move between competitive Scottish piping and bellows piping, pipe bands and folk bands, uilleann pipes and whistles has led him to be a highly sought after performer and teacher.

Michael grew up playing in the Mohawk Valley Frasers Pipe Band under the direction of Pipe Major Jim Clough.  For over 20 years Michael has competed and performed with the Frasers across the Northeastern United States.

Michael performs a wide range of music in a number of diverse settings.  His trio Arise & Go tours extensively throughout the US and Canada and the band released their first full length album in 2019.

Michael has years of experience teaching individuals, group lessons, and band workshops.  As a piper Michael regularly gives private and group instruction as well as band workshops and clinics.  He is a regular instructor at The Pipers Gathering, The Upper Potomac Pipers Weekend, and Càirdeas,  teaching classes for bagpipes, smallpipes, border pipes, uilleann pipes, whistles, and singing.  

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