April 27th - 29th, 2012. Geoff Jones reports on the smallpipe workshop he ran at this event

This weekend is hosted by the Warrnambool & District Pipes & Drums Inc. (WADPADI). Since 2009 they have also included workshops for the Scottish smallpipes.
The smallpipe workshop was led by Geoff Jones. The small number of keen players attending this workshop enjoyed working on rhythmic expression, particularly for strathspeys and reels, as well as learning various ornamentation to give different effects to a tune. Another main topic of the smallpipe workshop was that of adapting tunes. This included altering Highland pipe tunes to become more appropriate for playing on the smallpipes, utilising different ornamentation as well as converting tunes to a different style or time signature. One particularly enjoyable adaptation of a common pipe tune, Sandy’s New Chanter was rewritten as a waltz by Sarah Wade.
After dinner on Saturday evening we were treated to a blackboard concert of performances from various groups and individuals attending the workshops, from beginners to more advanced players, both serious and having fun with tunes. The smallpipe players performed Mo Ghile Mear with harmonies written by Sarah, as well as The Bluebells of Scotland in three-part harmony. Following this, Andrew Teusner sang The Mermaid, accompanying himself on the smallpipes. Andrew finished his tune set with a hornpipe accompanied by a Highland dancer. For his entertaining and inspiring performance, Andrew was presented with a copy of A New Way to Melrose and Judy Barker’s CD Chanters Weave. For the harmony writing and tune adaptation, Sarah was presented with a copy of The Day it Daws and membership to the LBPS. These items were kindly donated by the LBPS.
Sunday morning began with more workshops. However, since these had more of a Highland pipe focus, the smallpipe group socialised over brunch. The weekend finished with a BBQ lunch and the presentation of more awards.
For those interested in next year’s SWCPD workshops and information about other smallpipe workshops and events in the region see my website www.geoffjones.info.

Sarah Wade’s waltz adaptation of Tom MacAllister’s tune
‘Sandy’s New Chanter’ [thanks to Ewen MacAllister for permission to print the tune]