Inspired by the success of Edinburgh’s Eagle Pipers Society, a keen group of players in Northern Ireland has started the Blackthorn Pipers’ Society, whose inaugural meeting will be on November 23rd in Dromore, County Down.
Described as a “non-profit organization dedicated to promoting bagpipe music throughout Ireland,” the Blackthorn Pipers’ Society was created by “solo pipers, RSPBA judges, band players and dedicated bagpipe enthusiasts,” according to information from the group.
Highland piping in Northern Ireland is currently almost entirely associated with pipe bands, with only a handful of solo competitions on offer in the country annually.
“After several meetings the forming members identified the need for a piping society in Ireland as most musicians who enjoy bagpipe music are normally affiliated with bands,” said Blackthorn Pipers’ Society Secretary Andy Wilson. “The group believes that by having a society this will give those musicians as individuals the opportunity to come and enjoy the Blackthorn Pipers’ Society giving them the chance to perform as a soloist, learn from other performers, share information on the instrument, share music and to mix in a like-minded environment.”
Anyone with an interest in pipe music is invited to attend meetings to perform, listen or just enjoy the company, with “all types and styles of bagpipe music encouraged.” Each evening will be closed with a member performing a piobaireachd.
“Blackthorn Gatherings” will be held at the Thyme Square Bistro, Dromore, County Down, at 7:30 pm, so far scheduled for November 23rd, December 14th and January 18th.
After a hiatus of more than 20 years, the Eagle Pipers’ Society was resurrected in late-2009 and has since enjoyed large turnouts at its monthly meetings in Edinburgh, with many members travelling considerable distances to attend.