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David Hannay and Neil Paterson report on the LBPS Summer School at Craigie College in July

THE NINTH LBPS summer school took place during the first week in August at Craigie College, which is now the University Campus Ayr. As in the previous two years, the summer school was held in conjunction with the Common Ground Traditional Music and Arts Summer School, which two years ago was at Auchencruive then moved to Craigie College last year. These moves had caused administrative problems regarding accommoda- tion and costs, but this year such difficulties were largely resolved, with everyone on one site and more space for the piping classes.


The move to Ayr has proved a success, with opportunities to hear and play with other folk musicians, as well as there being workshops for children, so that it becomes a family affair. There were also excellent concerts in the evening with virtuoso performances from musicians like Eddie Walker on blues guitar and Fraser Speirs on “moothie”. These were followed by informal sessions into the small hours. This year there were 13 on the course with two more joining from Common Ground. Eight of the participants had attended before, two came from Canada, and one from Germany.



In previous courses, Richard and Anita Evans have given invaluable help with bagpipe maintenance and reeds, although Anita was unable to come this year. The new tutors were Neil Paterson, an experienced bellows piper, who had also taught the whistle at Common Ground, and Chris Gibb from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

This year we also had two afternoon master classes from Hamish Moore on “Rhythm in Piping” and Matt Seattle on “Border Pipe Music”. These were well attended, with 18 to 20 at each class, although only one additional person came from outside. At the final concert the bellows pipers played a three part slow air by Neil Paterson called Tribute and a reel composed the night before in the campsite by Caroline Francis called The Common Ground Polka.

It is hoped that the summer school will continue in conjunction with Common Ground as it provides an excellent opportunity to hear and play traditional music with other musicians. It is also suitable for families and hopefully in future it will be possible to attract some younger people to attend the summer school, perhaps with sponsorship from the LBPS. - David Hannay


IT WAS heartening to see such a high turnout at the summer school this year. Chris Gibb and I each took a group of eight pipers in the early morning sessions, with the groups swap- ping over after the morning interval each day. Most of the participants were capable readers of music and had a great appetite for tunes (fortunately we came prepared).

As well as tuition, master classes were conducted by Richard and Anita Evans (maintenance/repairs), Matt Seattle (traditional tunes), and Hamish Moore (changes in Scot- tish music style). Both Matt and Hamish provided some food for thought which provoked further discussion amongst those who attended.

It was surprising to discover that, among one group of eight pipers, the small pipes of nine different makers were represented (one set was a “hybrid”), an indication of the amazing growth in the popularity of the instrument. The chanters were all pretty well in tune too!

The summer school runs alongside the Common Ground festival and this provides great opportunities for pipers to join in sessions with other instrumentalists attending the festival. I’m sure that many of the other pipers who took part in the sessions thoroughly enjoyed them. I certainly enjoyed the whole week. - NP