About the Teachers
Los Angeles native, Joey Abarta got his start on the uilleann pipes studying with Dublin native, Pat D’Arcy, and has studied with many piping masters since that time. In 2009, Joey’s accomplished playing won him an all-Ireland championship, placing second worldwide at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann. Today, he lives in Boston, where he divides his time between performing, teaching and recording. In addition to his solo piping, he tours with Mick Moloney and the group The Green Fields of America; while at home, he teaches for Comhaltas Boston Irish music school and organizes meetings of the Boston Pipers Club. He has a new recording with Nathan Gourley, "Copley Street".
A former member of Chulrua, fiddler and guitarist Nathan Gourley started playing music at age five. He has collaborated with Paddy O’Brien, Daithi Sproule, Brian Miller, Máirtín de Cógáin, and Norah Rendell . He was a finalist in the Sean O Riada fiddle competition in 2014 and winner of Boston’s Fiddler of Dooney competition in 2013. Nathan can be seen playing at concerts, ceilis, sessions and festivals in Boston and throughout the United States and Ireland.
John Skelton was a member of the acclaimed House Band, and also toured with the Irish band Shegui and the Windbags (with Jerry O’Sullivan too). In addition to being an astoundingly good flute player, he is also known for his prowess on the bombarde and Breton pipes and is in great demand for his teaching skills. He and Kieran O’Hare recorded "Double Barrelled", a flute duet CD, which became an instant classic.
Dick Hensold is the leading Northumbrian smallpiper in North America, and for the past 20 years has performed and taught in England, Scotland, Japan, Canada, and across the Unite States. He has released numerous CDs as a member of the groups Piper’s Crow, Way Up North, and The New International Trio. His solo Northumbrian smallpipes CD "Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes" was released in 2007. He is much in demand as accompanist, studio musician and theater musician, and frequently composes new works based on the traditions of the Northumbrian pipes.
Iain Mac Harg, the son of one of the premier bagpipe builders in the world, has studied with many renowned pipers and has earned the title of EUSPBA 2001 Grade One Season Champion. He has founded two Highland Pipe Bands in Vermont, played with several folk groups, made two solo recordings and published a collection of original tunes for the bagpipes. After completing his Masters in Education, he went on to start the Vermont Institute of Piping where he has over 60 solo students.
Multi-instrumentalist, Hollis Easter plays Scottish and Irish music for contra dances, but has spent time in musical theater, opera, orchestral music, and choral performance. He lived in Glasgow, Scotland from 2003- 2004, working and teaching at the National Piping Centre on a Watson Fellowship, performing with the Lomond & Clyde Pipe Band, leading the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland on several international tours, and playing with Carlos Nuñez and the Chieftains. Hollis brings a quick wit, an easy grin, and a strong melodic line to the contra dance band, Frost and Fire and loves working to help musicians play with less pain, greater ease, and more joy
Nicholas Hudson is a professional musician and teacher, playing the border pipes, smallpipes, highland pipes and whistles. He is the Instructor of Piping at the College of Wooster and was on the 2015 faculty for both the Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming and the North American Academy of Piping & Drumming. Nick has a Bagpipe Performance degree from Carnegie- Mellon University and holds the Graduate Certificate from the Institute of Piping, the highest possible for bagpipe performance. He is a member of the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band and a regular guest player with Bagad Kevrenn Alre from Britanny, France.
Multi-instrumentalist, Brian McCandless plays a wide variety of music suitable for many kinds of pipes on the hurdy-gurdy. He is the author of a repertoire book of traditional and original hurdy gurdy compositions, and in 2000 released a CD of original hurdy gurdy and bagpipe music, "Dancing on Sunday".
Our host piper, Bob Mitchell is recognized as a successful solo competitor in the US and Canada, He’s worked for 20 years at the Maryland Renaissance Festival and has performed with a number of DC area bands including Iona and Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra. Although his greatest area of expertise is Highland piping, he also plays the Scottish smallpipes and border pipes.