Following on from the enthusiastic reception for the presentations on the nature of pibroch at this year's Collogue, the Society hosted a two-day teaching event to explore the subject further. Here two participants send their reports.

Anne Duncan writes:
The setting was amazing, well worth the trip. The tuition was fabulous with Allan, Barnaby and Christopher all contributing their expertise to unpick what Pibroch is, was and could be. It was also a great chance to get together with people who share a common interest in piping at whatever level and from whatever background. The kind encouragement of experienced/expert pipers has helped me to keep trying with this fascinating instrument. Thank you to all who made this weekend happen, and particularly very loud and heartfelt thanks to Christopher and Anne for their hospitality in running the weekend. Best wishes to those who participated and have a lot to work on to improve their Pibroch playing, keep practising!
I look forward to the next event where like-minded pipers can continue to improve their skills.

Participants and tutors at the LBPS Pibroch Weekend, Wooley High Hall, Allendale,

Rona Dawson adds:
Piobaireachd is all about theme and suibhalaichean (or wanderings / variations) and it could well be said that the theme of my piobaireachd weekend involved wanderings - with a full set of variations including entering Edinburgh's diabolical one way system and a number of other directional confusions. 
All that apart, when we got to Northumberland, it did its very best to impress, with glorious spring sunshine shining over rolling green hills, and the view from Wooley High House where the weekend was being held,  across the whole of Allendale was magnificent.
We were guests of Chris and Anne Bacon for a weekend of piobaireachd on smallpipes taught by Barnaby Brown and Allan MacDonald.
It began as all the best weekends do, with curry - and what a beautiful spread of spicy, tasty dishes - washed down with a few beers and a few tunes gathered together in the Bacons' lovely home.
On Saturday morning the real business began and Barnaby kicked off with a short resume of the points he had covered in his talk at the collogue regarding the importance of contrast (between tunes/parts/phrases); harmony - tension and resolution; innovation and maintaining interest in playing and composing tunes.  We warmed up by singing Thogail nam Bo (MacFarlanes' Gathering) getting at least the gist of the Gaelic words.
After coffee the group split in half with Chris giving an introduction to the idiosyncrasies of written piob scores to the beginners group, allowing them to understand the shorthand staff notation in the PS series of books,  however much of the teaching which followed was actually based on canntaireachd or vocables and we learned the melodies by singing - Barnaby had his classes walking around and using visualisation techniques to commit the tunes to memory.  All the tunes were from the Campbell Canntaireachd which Barnaby is studying just now,  and there was no shying away from the big music such as Lament for Patrick Og and Hio tro tro, plus a new one for everyone, Brian O'Duff's Lament.
Interpreted in the way the tune must surely have been passed down through the oral/aural tradition allows a melody to break out (against the odds) and new life to be breathed into tunes that have somehow got separated from the very tradition they belong to.  This was no slow, insipid music reserved only for elite pipers with years of training and technical virtuosity - this was real music with drive and conviction and purpose.  Using the canntaireachd to re-interpret rhythm is fundamental to a new way of hearing the tunes and it seemed very obvious to a group coming new to the topic without the usual pipers' preconceptions, especially when presented so clearly by two masters.  As Barnaby said, "Thogail nam Bo is not meant to sound like we're picking primroses."
Accommodation for the weekend was in the nearby Deneholm House which provided an excellent dinner and session venue.  The highlight of the session was hearing Iain MacKay's accordians played together by himself and Allan - what a treat.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with good music, good food and good company.  Thanks to the Tutors for introducing and bringing this majestic music to life for a whole new audience and especially to the Bacons for initiating the idea and being such good natured and tolerant hosts.Looking forward to another one already!