Published: May 31, 2011

Smallpipe events coming to July Skagit games

The popularity of “other” bagpipes over the last 20 years is being realized at a games that would typically cater only to the Highland piping competitions, with the 17th annual Skagit Valley Highland Games in Mount Vernon, Washington, adding “critiqued events” for Scottish smallpipes and Reelpipes.

Acclaimed folk musicians Fred Morrison and Deirdre Morrison of Bishopton, Scotland, will provide written evaluations of performances, which organizers stress are not competitions.

According to Skye Richendrfer, executive director of the Celtic Arts Foundation, the group that puts on the Skagit games: “We’re really trying to elevate the understanding and appreciation of Smallpipes and Reelpipes by the public. These instruments offer such great potential connections with other traditional musicians for playing sessions – we’re very excited to be featuring them at our event. To have Fred and Deirdre providing feedback will be an incredibly memorable experience for participants.”

The other bagpipe events will include a solo performance of up to five minutes and a duet that features at least one smallpipe or Reelpipe player along with another instrument or voice, if the performers wish. No prizes will be awarded.

The two-time Highland Society of London Gold Medallist and recording artist Fred Morrison and Scottish fiddler Deirdre Morrison will also perform throughout the weekend-long festival, which is scheduled for July 8-10 at Edgewater Park in Mount Vernon. The two will also conduct workshops.

The move to include additional piping events comes at a time when many Highland games in North America are exploring new ways to attract interest in piping and drumming from the general public.

Fred Morrison works with McCallum Bagpipes to manufacture Reelpipes.

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