About the 2021 Pipers Weekend Teachers

 

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, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an all-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.  Today, he lives in Boston, where he divides his time between 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 organizes meetings of the Boston Pipers Club.  He has a new recording with Nathan Gourley, Copley Street.

 

Brian Bigley comes from musical family and began his study of the Uilleann Pipes at the age of eight with Achill Island piper Michael Kilbane and the countless musicians that have crossed his path since that time. He developed an interest the art of pipe making and studied the craft with pipe maker Seth Gallagher in New York and the master flute maker Patrick Olwell in Virginia. He is currently making pipes in the style of the late Dave Williams and has a waiting list of over a year.Brian is also a world-class Irish step dancer. He has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe as a piper, flute player, whistle player, and dancer with various music and dance shows.  Brian now lives near Cleveland, OH with his fiddler wife Kristen and dancing children James and Kathleen.

Sean Gavin’s playing on the flute, whistle and uilleann pipes reflects his lifelong immersion in and love for traditional Irish music. This was no doubt encouraged by his father, Co. 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 acclaimed 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.

Alice Robinson (née Burn) began the Northumbrian Smallpipes at the age of 8 and was the youngest to win a Northumbrian Piping Open Competition, and at the age of 11, she travelled across New Zealand, performing with Northumbrian Smallpipers from around the world.  In 2009 Alice was BBC Radio 2’s Young Folk Musician of the Year finalist with harpist, Emily Hoile. In the summer of 2014, Alice represented British Music with the Windy Gyle Band at the International Bagpipe Festival in the Czech Republic.  Alice graduated from the University of York in 2014 with a first class BA honours degree in academic music. She is currently studying Musicology at Durham University with a focus on British art music of the 20th Century. Alongside her academic studies, Alice is Piper to the Mayor of Berwick and she privately tutors piano, Northumbrian Smallpipes and clarinet. Alice is employed by the Sage Gateshead to lead beginner and advanced Folkworks Tuesdays 'Adult Leaning' classes.

Fin Moore is a piper, born & bred. He plays the Highland pipes, Border pipes and Scottish Small Pipes. For five years, he played in the Vale of Atholl Juvenile Band and is now working with his father, Hamish, as very successful pipe makers. They have made nearly 1000 sets of pipes. Their pipes are played all over the world and appear on dozens of recordings.

Fin is currently playing with Dannsa, and Sarah Hoy as part of a fiddle and pipes duo. He is also member of the pipe quartet Seudan who have just released their debut album on Greentrax records. Seudan play reproductions of 18th-century Highland pipes and mostly play traditional Scottish tunes. Although he hasn’t recorded a solo album yet, he appears on several compilations. Fin has also been practising his step dancing, which means he can sometimes be seen giving a step or two!

Barry Shears is a native of Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. He has been playing the bagpipe for 50 years, and at an early age began collecting and composing music for the Highland bagpipe. He is an acknowledged expert on the history of traditional piping in Nova Scotia and its intrinsic connection to the Gaelic language, music and culture of the province. Barry is an award-winning musician and has performed at festivals and concerts throughout North America and Europe. He has published several books of bagpipe music and history, performed and appeared in two movies, and appeared on several recordings of traditional music.  Currently retired from competition, Barry spends much of his spare time researching Nova Scotia’s extensive piping history, collecting traditional pipe music and piping related paraphernalia, composing and arranging, performing at concerts and dances, adjudicating piping competitions, and teaching and lecturing on Cape Breton dance music both at home and abroad.​

Timothy Cummings, a native of East Tennessee, began piping at the age of 8. With advanced studies in composition, music theory and education, and piping, he has a rare grasp of arranging and composing music for the pipes.  He has competed with and arranged music for the New Zealand-based Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band, has been Artist-in-Residence at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada (PEI), and now resides in Vermont where he works as a teacher, arranger, composer, and performer of piping music. He publishes much of his work through Birchen Music & Publishing.

For nearly 25 years, Michael Roddy 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 and Canada. 

Michael performs a wide range of music in a number of diverse settings.  He has been a featured piper with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra, Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, the Mohawk Valley Choral Society, and the Cayuga Vocal Ensemble. Michael holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in vocal performance and has also been a vocal soloist with Mercury Opera Rochester, Opera Ithaca, Ithaca College Opera, Triphammer Arts, Nazareth College Opera, and the Mohawk Valley Choral Society.  His comfort in musical styles ranging from classical to folk has led him to bridge the gap with several of his own compositions for bagpipes and orchestra.

 

Nicholas Gerardin  Meeting Jean Blanchard & Éric Montbel in 1998 in Lyon was the first step that he made in the world of bagpipes. After Jean lent him a set of central France student pipes, he never stopped playing them, from the high pitched A pipes to the low C sets. His travels in France allowed him to attend the festival of Saint Chartier and to meet several pipes players and makers, and of course allowed him to order bagpipes from reputable manufacturers. Passionate about the work on the sound, he is interested in ancient bore French bagpipes and on the cabrette and his unique temperament.

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.

 

Upper Potomac Music Weekends

PO Box 1474, Shepherdstown, WV  25443

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