Saturday, July 1, 2017

July 2017 President's Letter - Summer Events

Due to travel and competitions for local bagpipers, the Bloomington Pipers' Society does not run many events during the summer. However, that does not mean bagpipers are not out and about performing!

In the month of July, there will be several opportunities to see bagpipers play in public.

The first, and most major, is the Bloomington Fourth of July Parade. The Scottish Society of Greater Bloomington marches in the parade, and it is a tradition that they also have the Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums play in the parade. Several BPS pipers will be performing with the band in this parade.

There will also be several times in the next few months where pipers take to the farmer's market to perform in and around the market itself. These pipers will be piping for the Bloomington Pipers' Society. If you are at the market, come out to say hello and listen to some of our pipers!

In September, the Columbus Scottish Festival takes place at the Bartholomew County 4H Fairgrounds. This event is run in part by BPS members, and features pipe bands and soloists from across the Midwest, as well as other  performers, athletes, and vendors. This is a great event and you should definitely attend it! BPS members will be performing in both the Southern Indiana Pipes & Drums and the Fountain Trust Pipe Band at the festival. Fountain Trust will be competing at the festival on Saturday, September 9.

Don't forget to mark your calendars with our main season gatherings! Below are the dates for those events - all of them occur from 4:00PM to 6:00PM.

BPS 2017-2018 Gatherings

October 8, 2017
November 5, 2017
December 3, 2017
January 7, 2018
February 4, 2018
March 4, 2018
April 8, 2018
May 6, 2018

If you are a BPS member, and have not received a copy of the set tunes, please contact us at bloomingtonpipers@gmail.com, and we will confirm your membership and send you the set tunes. These common tunes are meant to allow ensemble performances by the membership at our meetings, so get your copy! If you are not a member and would like a copy, please visit our Membership Page to sign up.

Finally, keep an eye out on our YouTube Channel for videos of piping events over the summer. We've just posted the Grade 3 band contests from the Ohio Scottish Games this weekend, and will post videos from other events over the summer months.

Happy piping,

Angus Martin, BPS President

Friday, June 23, 2017

Band videos from Chicago 2017

Audio on the left and audio/video on the right
The Society recorded video of most of the bands competing at the 2017 Chicago Scottish Festival & Highland Games. We apologize that we were not able to record the Grade 5 bands.


We hope you enjoy the recordings.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017-2018 Season

The board of directors have set the dates and times for our new season for 2017-2018! Some changes are coming, the biggest of which is the addition of an extra month to our main season. We will now be holding gatherings from October through May, rather than October through April.

October 8, 2017
November 5, 2017
December 3, 2017
January 7, 2018
February 4, 2018
March 4, 2018
April 8, 2018
May 6, 2018


All gatherings are from 4:00PM to 6:00PM

We will once again be meeting at St. Thomas Lutheran Church at 3800 E 3rd Street in Bloomington. Details of the monthly programs will be coming shortly.

Interested in joining the Bloomington Pipers' Society as a member? Visit our Membership Page for details! If you are interested in volunteering to help run our gatherings, please email us at bloomingtonpipers@gmail.com. 

Thursday, March 30, 2017

April Gathering - April 23rd, 2017

Our final main series gathering of the season for the Bloomington Pipers' Society! Details of our April gathering are forthcoming. For Society paid members, there will be an Annual General Meeting for 2016-2017 from 4:00PM to 4:30PM.

We will have group performances of Great Highland Bagpipes, soloists, our closing piobaireachd, and others!

  • St. Thomas Lutheran Church
  • 3800 E. 3rd Street (corner of 3rd and Smith Road)
  • Enter through the west end doors
  • Sunday, April 23rd
  • 4:00 - 4:30 will be our Annual General Meeting for members (non-members are welcome)
  • 4:30 - 6:00 will be the Gathering proper

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

March Gathering - March 26th, 2017

Come out to the March gathering of the Bloomington Pipers' Society! This month we will be showcasing Bloomington's own Great Highland Bagpipers, both individuals and in groups!

This is also a great time to socialize with bagpipers, ask questions, and make contacts in the bagpiping scene here in Bloomington.

  • St. Thomas Lutheran Church
  • 3800 E. 3rd Street (corner of 3rd and Smith Road)
  • Enter through the west end doors
  • Sunday, March 26th
  • 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

February Gathering - February 26th, 2017

The February Gathering of the Bloomington Pipers' Society will feature Arle Lommel, performing on various Hungarian bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy.

We are lining up several smaller performances for the meeting's first 75 minutes. A schedule of events will be updated to this page.

About the Performer: Arle Lommel obtained his doctorate in folklore for Indiana University in 2010. His dissertation focused on the revival of bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies in Hungary in the late twentieth century. He will demonstrate two types of Hungarian bagpipes: a northern type with a double-bored chanter and a southern, bellows-blown type, with a triple-bored chanter. He will also demonstrate the Hungarian hurdy-gurdy and talk about the connection between it and bagpipes in Hungary.

  • St. Thomas Lutheran Church
  • 3800 E. 3rd Street (corner of 3rd and Smith Road)
  • Enter through the west end doors
  • Sunday, February 26th
  • 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

January 2017 Gathering Notes

Performers of the January 2017 Gathering, Left to Right:
Chris Figland, Angus Martin, Siddharth Bhaskar, Chris Eller, Mary Jean Holwager

The Bloomington Pipers' Society kicked off the new year with a new space at St. Thomas Lutheran Church, and with a bit of Irish piping and whistle! Our featured performer was Siddharth Bhaskar, uilleann piper and tin whistle player, filled out by some smallpipes by Angus Martin, highland pipes by Chris Eller, and a practice chanter demonstration by Chris Figland, Chris Eller, Angus Martin, and Mary Jean Holwager.

Our local piper Angus Martin began the evening's music with several sets on his set of Nate Banton smallpipes. He played first a medley of tunes modeled on the classic pipe band medley format; hornpipe, strathspeys, reels, slow air, and jig. From there he played a favorite waltz and jigs set of his featuring the tunes Sailing Solo on the Minnow, The Kitchenmaid, and Geese in the Bog. After taking some questions about the instrument, he performer by request the Cabar Feidh march followed by the strathspey version of the same tune.

Siddharth Bhaskar on the Uilleann pipes
Angus was followed by piper Chris Eller who performed on the highland pipes a set made up of a 3/4 March and Slow Air. The tunes were I See Mull and The Skye Boat Song. Chris took questions about the instrument, as we had a large number of newcomers at our gathering! He received questions ranging from the instrument's history to its construction.

The evening's featured performer followed Chris. Siddharth alternated sets between the Uilleann pipes and the Irish tin whistle. Siddharth performed sets from different regional styles in Ireland, from the west coast to the northern coasts near Scotland. To the delight of experienced pipers and newcoming audience members, he detailed the features of the instrument, and discussed with members of the audience the differences between the other two types of bagpipes seen throughout the evening. He performed hornpipes, airs, slip jigs, hop jigs, highlands, and reels. After the main portion of the evening, he showed piper Angus Martin the instrument, and had him try out jumping up to the second octave, which Angus' native instrument is unable to do.

The evening concluded with a performance by four of the Society's highland pipers demonstrating on practice chanter the tune Green Hills of Tyrol together.

The Society meets again at St. Thomas Lutheran Church on February 26, 2017.

Chris Eller on the Great Highland Bagpipe

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January Gathering - January 22nd, 2017

Welcome to the first gathering of 2017! This gathering is host to several firsts for the Bloomington Pipers' Society:
  • We're now gathering on the 4th Sunday of the month
  • We're now gathering at St. Thomas Lutheran Church
  • We're now an official entity (Bloomington Pipers' Society, Inc.)
  • We're hosting our first Uilleann piper at a gathering
  • We also hope that you'll join us for your first time at a Pipers' Society gathering!

Featured Guest

Our guest on the Uilleann pipes this month is Siddharth Bhaskar. Siddharth is a visiting professor of Mathematics at IU and Irish musician. He started on the tin whistle at the age of 13 then started learning the Uilleann pipes in Los Angeles at the age of 22. His training began with the Southern California Uilleann Pipers Club. We're glad that he will be introducing the Uilleann pipes to us here in Bloomington.

Please plan to join us:
  • Sunday, January 22nd
  • 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
  • St. Thomas Lutheran Church
  • 3800 E. 3rd Street (3rd and Smith Road)