The Northumbrian Pipers' Society
April 1st 2012 (no it's not an April Fool's) marks a landmark in the history of our Society as we become a fully registered charity.
Our Chairman Andrew Davison said "My personal thanks to everyone who has put so much effort and thought into this over a very long period of time – long before I became Chairman.
I am sure that we will find things we did not expect – both good and challenging – but the benefits that have been set out in various documents in the past have now been secured.
From today, the NPS enters a new chapter and I very much look forward to exploring with you what can be achieved in the further promotion of our objectives."
The Society produces a quarterly Newsletter and an annual Journal (which is despatched around the beginning of December).
Newsletter Editor Maureen Davison email - email@example.com
Journal Editor Barry Say
The Society has a significant range of music books which are available to members at discount. See the Music section of this site
The Society produced an LP in 1987 and this is still available. It has also recently been released on Compact Disc.
The Society has some bursaries available. The policy is currently under review.
Andrew Davison, Chairman
"I have lived all my life in Northumberland. I started to play the pipes at the age of 15 in the 1970s, taught by Roland Lofthouse on a set made by David Burleigh. I made my first set of small pipes when still at school. Since then, I have made, played and judged both small pipes and Half Longs, been a tutor on a number of courses, established the Hexham Pipers' Gathering and made a CD. I have had the great privilege of knowing and sharing tunes with many who, like me, simply enjoy our wonderful instrument and its music. I am married to Nicola (an excellent piper in her own right) and we have two teenage children, Lucy and Thomas (who play electric guitar and drums!). I am a solicitor by profession and am Chairman of three regional charities."
Contact: email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy May, Vice Chairman:
I started to learn the pipes in the late eighties, having been introduced to the instrument by my father Stan. I have learned to play from Roland Lofthouse and Adrian Schofield, and from studying the recordings of Billy Pigg and Tom Clough. Through the 90s I entered many piping competitions and studied music at the University of York with the pipes as my chosen instrument. In 2002 I decided to become a full-time musician. Nowadays I tour with North-East band Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies, UK/Finnish/Danish ensemble Baltic Crossing, my own Andy May Quartet, and various other projects. When not gigging I have become a pipemaker, again learning much from my father, and also Colin Ross. I’ve made around 30 chanters/sets of pipes so far. I have a particular interest in the study of old instruments as I believe there is still much we can learn from them. My current ongoing research project is into the pipemkaing of Tom Clough and Fred Picknell.
I joined the NPS committee in 2011 and in January 2012 was made Vice-Chairman.
Contact: email - email@example.com
Julia Say, Honorary Secretary:
I’ve been in involved in folk and other music since I was 4. My parents were Morris and Playford dancers, and my youth included dancing, piano, classical flute, singing and folk guitar. It also included a precocious interest in natural history. I helped to run the university folk club, where I first heard the pipes, and gained a degree specializing in ecology. I tried a succession of instruments whilst my family were young, settling with double bass and autoharp.
I’ve lived longer in the NE than anywhere else, considering it my adoptive home. I was familiar with Northumbrian music (Joe Hutton, Billy Pigg, High Level Ranters) long before starting to play it myself, first off in a ceilidh band which was an offshoot of a Durham Morris side. I joined the NPS in 1991, thinking pipes were to become a polite little hobby. In the event the record shows things have worked out differently: I have gained a piping competence in competition, discovered an ability to make things, and have tried to be otherwise useful to the Society.
I have two grown up offspring (one a piper, the other a Morris dancer) both with dancing and musical spouses, and 3 grandchildren. Other interests today include house and furniture restoration, family and local history, gardening, large hairy dogs, and natural history.
Contact: email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nigel Barlow, Honourary Treasurer:
Contact: email - email@example.com
"I have been a member of the NPS and playing the Northumbrian pipes since about 1987. I have previously been Hon Secretary and Vice-Chairman (many years ago) and felt honoured to be made a Vice President. I am keen to support the continued development of the instrument and its music, particularly within the traditional style."
Maureen Davison, Newsletter Editor:
Born and raised in Gateshead, I am now resident in Morpeth, where I am a volunteer at the Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum. I took up the pipes in 1998 and now play solo for events. I am an active member of both the NPS and APS. My other interests include playing concertina, photography, local history, cookery and travel. I am also enjoying bringing former print industry experience to the Newsletter Editor’s role and am particularly passionate about participation in the NPS schools’ initiative, as I believe that children from all backgrounds should have the opportunity for access to our unique bagpipe.
Contact: email - firstname.lastname@example.org
I joined the committee in 2011. I have known and listened to Northumbrian pipes since childhood but have only been learning to play since 2005 I play with Pipers’ Fancy and with Alnwick Pipers’ Society band. I recognize that the NPS has been an important factor in developing whatever capacity I have to make music, and I hope to give something in return. Relevant interests include: history of piping; general history of Northumberland; music and musical instruments. Current areas of activity on committee: indexing support for archive; publicity; work for the ‘Encouraging Young Players’ group. I am also currently (2011) a member of Alnwick Pipers’ Society committee.
Pam Horne, Membership Secretary:
Contact: email email@example.com
Started playing in 1982, living near Cambridge. After 1 year, met Mike Nelson, who taught me a lot: tunes, playing, fettling, and introduced me to other pipers, particularly Joe Hutton and the Robbs. In 1993, Joe asked me to help teach on the Rothbury course, and I have taught there and on other courses, when invited, since. Moved back to Northumberland in 2003, joined Robson's Choice, went to Strakonice with Neil Smith and Robson's Choice in 2004, 6, 8 and 10
Has appeared on 12 albums including the two Cut & Dry Band recordings (for Topic) in the 70s. Now regarded as seminal albums they have re-released on CD. He began teaching the pipes in the UK in1972 and has also tutored pipers in The United States, Germany and New Zealand. His proudest moments and fondest memories are of living amongst and playing alongside the legendary traditional Northumbrian musicians of the 80s and 90s, notably Will Atkinson, Willie Taylor and Joe Hutton. He currently plays in the Castle Band (Northumbrian dance band) and Windy Gyle Band (Northumbrian pipes-based concert band).
I have lived in the North East since 1977, but only came across Northumbrian music in 2004, and started playing in 2007. I am lucky enough to have the Chantry NPS meetings and several good pub sessions within a small radius of my home so have been exposed to a wide selection of tunes, instruments and styles in a very short period.
I make no claim to being a musician of quality, indeed six is the minimum number I need to hide in. However I was once told confidence is more important than competence, and I believed it.
I have been on the NPS committee since 2008 and bring to it the memory of what it’s like to be a beginner at piping which most members have long forgotten. I work behind the scenes on the website, and most importantly, organise the teas,coffees and biscuits at NPS meetings.