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The hub of Australia's Celtic piping community

In this BUMPER EDITION of the newsletter you'll find the latest news and reports about all that's happening in the world of Celtic piping in Australia and further afield.

All I want for Christmas is...
a Celtic Piping Club membership!

Yes, you heard right. Memberships to the Celtic Piping Club are now available!
Membership Benefits
As a paid member of the Celtic Piping Club, you will receive the following benefits:
  • First and foremost you will be supporting the operation and activities of the Club.
  • Voting rights at the Celtic Piping Club AGM.
  • Discounted entry to Club events.
  • Public liability insurance cover up to $ 20m when involved in Club activities.
  • Special baggage allowance deal when flying with Virgin Australia for Club events.
  • Automatic subscription to our email newsletter.

Membership Fees

  • Full $50
  • Concession $25
  • Associate Member $25 (under 15 years)
"Tell me how I can join?", I hear you ask.
It's simple, just click the button below to be taken to the Membership page of our website.

Thank you for your support!


Boxwood Australia - Queenscliff

Report by Merran Moir

David & Chris in concert (photo S. Wade)

After attending the first Boxwood in Queenscliff last year, I was really looking forward to this year’s event, and it didn’t disappoint!

For those unfamiliar with Boxwood, the best description is directly from their website- ”a weekend of immersion in traditional music. Classes, sessions, an evening performance, a ceilidh…”

Boxwood’s director is flautist/smallpiper Chris Norman, working with his musical partner- Baroque fiddler David Greenberg, superbly assisted by fellow musician and chef extraordinaire, Shelley Phillips.

Chris (left) leading a workshop (photo S. Wade)

Whitehall Guesthouse proved the perfect venue for this wonderful weekend. We had comfortable accommodation, big spaces for classes and sessions, and really didn’t need to leave the delightful musical bubble we’d entered.

There were so many highlights from the weekend. Firstly, the rare opportunity to enjoy the expertise, and fellowship offered by Chris, David and Shelley, in both classes, sessions and around the dinner table. Participants could choose the class that best fitted their needs- whether it be flute/whistle; baroque music, Cape Breton tunes or smallpipes. We were spoilt for choice.

David (centre) teaching a Cape Breton-style 2/4 pipe march (photo A. Welsh)

Secondly, the eclectic mix of musicians- if I should use that description!? There were singers and players from the folk scene, uilleann pipers, small/highland pipers and classical/baroque backgrounds; and a variety of ages and levels. The evening concert and sessions were delightfully mixed, and after hanging on until quite late on the Saturday night, I remember lying in bed (directly above the session space) listening to brilliant tunes and wishing I’d stayed up just a few tunes longer! Our venue provided spaces for smaller groups to head off and enjoy a few tunes together between times. And of course, the Sunday afternoon concert was thoroughly enjoyed by those who attended.

Concert finale - Chris & David with guests (photo K. Yap)

No descriptor of the weekend should fail to mention the food, which was ample, healthy and delicious. Sincere thanks to Shelley and the team of helpers who made this happen.

On a personal level, I’m very thankful for the work of Sarah, Shane, and the team behind them. On a club level, I’m hoping we can keep playing the tunes we learnt and build on our shared repertoire.

Boxwood = brilliant!

The evening session

Shelley, Chris & Andy playing Andy's magical triple flute!

Celtic Festival of Queensland

6 Nov 2017

Meanwhile, our friends in the Brisbane Smallpipes Group performed again at the Celtic Festival of Queensland, held in the historic town of Helidon in the Lockyer Valley.

The group had been performing at this Festival for about 6 or 7 years, where it's always very hot, but the Jacaranda trees are out and look beautiful. The local Lockyer Valley Pipe Band also play, and there are dances and Celtic entertainment on two stages either end of the main street, which is closed off on the occasion.

Here's a clip of their performance to enjoy...



...and way back in October

International Uilleann Piping Day 2016

Here are some clips from our International Uilleann Piping Day concert in Melbourne...


Melbourne Celtic Piping Club sessions

Re-commencing 19 Feb 2017

The Melbourne Celtic Piping Club sessions will move to the 3rd Sunday of each month in 2017. Note that there will be no session in January, or when we'll be away at other events. See the Sessions section below for dates.


Blackie O'Connell - Master Class at National Folk Festival

Easter 2017 - Canberra

"Michael 'Blackie' O’Connell is a highly respected uilleann piper with his own very distinctive style and with Cyril O’Donohue (bouzouki and guitar) released the highly acclaimed album Friars Green. Blackie is a sought after teacher throughout Ireland.

A “musicians’ musician” Blackie’s class will focus on technique and applying it to some new tunes taught during the class. Whistle players will be welcome if space permits." - NFF website

Further details are on the National Folk Festival website folkfestival.org.au/master-classes.


Jarlath Henderson back for more

Easter 2017 - Canberra

Also in the line-up for the 2017 National Folk Festival is Jarlath Henderson. "The youngest ever winner of the BBC Young Folk Award in 2003, Tyrone-born multi-instrumentalist and singer Jarlath Henderson has created a sound that defies convention, juxtaposing the traditional with the modern to dazzling effect, joined by members of Treacherous Orchestra and the Kate Rusby band."
- NFF website

If you haven't heard it already, Jarlath's first solo album 'Hearts Broken, Heads Turned' is a great listen. Get it here www.jarlathhenderson.co.uk.

Details of other Jarlath gigs coming soon...


Blackwood is now protected under CITES

2 Jan 2017
"On January 2 the African blackwood tree will be added to the protected species list of CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. This means that all trade in the wood, from the tree dalbergia melanoxylon, will be controlled and certified at a cost to the grower and the importer.

CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. All import, export, re-export of species of flora and fauna covered by the Convention has to be authorised through a licensing system. Each country which is party to the Convention (the UK is one) must designate one or more authority to take charge of administering that licensing system and one or more scientific authority to advise them.

The good news for bagpipe makers is that their instruments should be exempted under a finished goods option. Therefore provided they can show that their raw material was sourced from a properly licenced importer they should have no fear of legislation or of surcharges every time they post out a wooden practice chanter. However they may have to alter packaging to show that the wood is African blackwood and also add the initials CAR, meaning carved, indicating that it is a finished product.

Pipers will have encountered CITES before when a few years ago they announced a ban on the trading of elephant ivory. Those wishing to travel with ivory pipes had the option of obtaining a whole sheath of paperwork to show they were of pre-ban manufacture and thus exempted, or risk having them impounded by customs officers at airports. Most opted to simply stop travelling with these pipes buying non-ivory sets instead." - Piping Press

Additional articles and more information

LBPS Annual Competition 2017

22 Apr 2017

"The 2017 annual competition will be held in the Royal Scottish Pipers' Society rooms in Rose Street, Edinburgh, with the usual range of classes. This is a unique occasion in the world of piping; it is welcoming, friendly and exists to encourage pipers, young, seasoned, novice and accomplished to hone their performance and present their music.

Details of how to enter the 'Overseas' class, and all other information, will be available on the website in the New Year." - Lowland & Border Pipers' Society


Hamish Moore - Barga School, Italy

2-9 Sep 2017

"Learn and share Scots and Gaelic traditional song, music and dance in a beautiful hill town in Tuscany. Join us for a week-long School with world class tutors from Scotland and Cape Breton. Next year’s School will be held in Barga, Italy, from 2-9th September 2017. Organised by Càirdeas nam Piobairean,  Hamish Moore’s fellowship of pipers." - Hamish Moore's website

Fin Moore & Gary West - 2016 tutors


In Case You Missed It!

Have a Wiggly Christmas

The Wiggles have a Scottish dancing challenge for YOU this Christmas.
If you prefer not to dance, then join along to Itchy Fingers on your pipes!


Boxwood music

Here's some of the music that was taught (by ear) at Boxwood Oz. Click to download a PDF version.

Scottish Smallpipe Chanter in C - Made by Seth Hamon

For sale - a Seth Hamon SSP chanter (reeded) in the key of 'C' (unused, as new) - African Blackwood, Cocuswood mount and brass ferrules. The chanter has a split stock, a brass key for high D and a bottom hand back thumb hole to obtain an Eb and comes with two spare reeds (also unused). Original cost was $750 AUD before postage costs, mainly due to the extras' (split stock etc.).

Price: $400 OBO (inc. standard postage within Oz)
Contact: David Wright
Ph: (03) 5236-6064
Email: gnarwright@gmail.com


Scottish Smallpipes in C - Made by Ian Kinnear

African Blackwood, Cocobolo mounts and brass ferrules, the chanter has a split stock and two brass keys - 'Eb' and high 'D' , the set has a drone switch and comes with a case, four spare chanter reeds (new/unused), spare set of Ezeedrone drone reeds (new/unused) and a spare Jackie Boyce bag also new/unused and extra bag cover. The set is three years old and very lightly used and is in excellent condition.

Price: $1,7400 + postage
Contact: David Wright
Ph: (03) 5236-6064
Email: gnarwright@gmail.com

Miniature Pipes - Made by Kintail

Made by Kintail (Scotland) circa 1970s, they are plain turned in blackwood with real ivory mounts. The drones have a beautiful strong sound (though one tenor drone reed is currently missing). The chanter sound is similar to the smallpipes (or practice chanter), as opposed to a Highland pipe sound. The leather bag requires dressing, but is otherwise in good condition. A wooden carrying case is also included.

Price: $1,150 ono
Contact: Dave Bail (Vic)
Ph: 0407 817 031
Email: davobail@gmail.com



Uilleann Pipes Full Set - Made by Adrian Jeffries

Blackwood, box mounts and chrome metal work. Set is totally airtight and reeds play fine. Located in Sydney.

Price: $6,000 ono
Contact: Andrew Mackay (NSW)
Ph: 0433 012 069
Email: andrew.n.mckay@gmail.com

Uilleann Pipes Practice Set - Made by Ian Mackenzie

Great condition, but will need some TLC as they've not been played for 20+ years. Includes some tutorial & music books.

Price: $1,200
Contact: Kieran Sharp - Paddington, NSW
Ph: 0438 950 403

Wanted - Bellow-blown Scottish Smallpipes
Contact the Club at email@celticpipingclub.com.

Please email your personal (not commercial) classified ad to us at email@celticpipingclub.com for your free listing.

Gig Guide

Solo pipers & bands/groups
27 Dec 2016 - 1 Jan 2017
Woodford Folk Festival (Qld)

7 - 8 Jan 2017
Duck Duck Goose

Cygnet Folk Festival, Tasmania

Sat 14 Jan 2014
Likely Celts

Moyneyana Festival, Port Fairy (Vic.)
Celtic Day on Fiddler's Green

26 - 29 Jan 2017

Newstead Live Festival

Sat 28 Jan 2017 6pm
Duck Duck Goose
Cloudhill Twilight Concert, Olinda (Vic.)

Sat 4 Feb 2017 2pm
Duck Duck Goose
Superstition, folklore & the origin of things, Northcote (Vic.)

Sat 11 Feb 2017
Old Castlemaine Gaol

Sat 11 Feb 2017
Likely Celts
Scots Day Out, Bendigo (Vic.)
Celtic Corner & evening concert

Sat 25 Feb 2017
Likely Celts
Tarerer Festival, Warrnambool (Vic.)

Please email us to let us know about your upcoming Celtic piping gigs...listings are free.


Pop-up Piping Sessions & Events

11 Feb 2017
Scots Day Out - Bendigo (Vic.)

10 Mar 2017
International Bagpipe Day

13-17 Apr 2017
National Folk Festival, Canberra (ACT)
- Blackie O'Connell
- Jarlath Henderson

19-21 May 2017
Robert Burns Scottish Festival, Camperdown (Vic.)

9-12 Jun 2017
National Celtic Festival, Portarlington (Vic.)

11-13 Aug 2017
Goldfields Piping Weekend (Vic.) - tbc

21 Oct 2017
International Uilleann Piping Day


Regular Piping Sessions

Adelaide - Pipers Gathering

When: 1st Monday of each month (usually)
Where: Contact Jack for details.
Contact: Jack Brennan via 

Brisbane - Irish Piping Sessions

When: 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email 

Brisbane - Smallpipe Sessions

When: First Tuesday of each month
Where: Milton (Brisbane)
Contact: Malcolm McLaren on (07) 3820-2902 or email 

Melbourne - Celtic Piping Club Sessions

When: 3rd Sunday of each most months in 2017 (see below) 2pm - 5pm.
Where: Upstairs at the Exford Hotel 
- 199 Russell Street (cnr Little Bourke), Melbourne.
Contact: us via
Future session dates:
  • Sun 15 Jan 2017 *NO SESSION*
  • Sun 19 Feb
  • Sun 19 Mar
  • Sun 16 Apr *NO SESSION* - Easter & National Folk Festival (Canberra)
  • Sun 21 May *NO SESSION* - Robert Burns Scottish Festival (Camperdown) instead
  • Sun 18 Jun *NO SESSION* - National Celtic Festival at Portarlington 9-12 Jun instead
  • Sun 16 Jul
  • Sun 20 Aug *NO SESSION*- Goldfields Piping Weekend instead tbc
  • Sun 17 Sep
  • Sun 15 Oct *NO SESSION* - IUPD on 21 Oct instead
  • Sun 19 Nov
  • Sun 17 Dec

NESSIE - North East Scottish Strings including Elbow Pipes

When: 2nd Sunday of each month
Where: North East Victoria
Contact: Kristen on (03) 5766 6282
That's all for this newsletter Like Celtic Piping Club newsletter #41 on Facebook

Until next time...happy piping!

Your friends in piping,

Celtic Piping Club Inc.

Committee for 2016/17
President - Geoff Jones
Vice President - Sarah Wade
Treasurer - Pat Lyons
Secretary - Alan Parker
Committee Member - Colin MacDougall
Committee Member - Matt Horsley
Committee Member - Merran Moir

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