Armagh Pipers' Club classes off to a rousing start
After three registration sessions, the Armagh Pipers' Club classes got off to a rousing start on Monday as it begins the countdown to its 50th anniversary next year.
With 50 classes covering all the instruments played in traditional music as well as several levels of singing classes, the tradition has never been stronger according to the club's patriarch Brian Vallely.
While the club promotes the highest levels of excellence in traditional music and song, the classes start at the beginner level with singing classes for under sevens and tin whistle for over-sevens.
And this it is expanding its capacity for beginners of all ages with children's classes on Monday nights in St Patrick's Grammar School and adult beginner classes in tin whistle and fiddle on Wednesday nights in the Pipers Club in Scotch Street at 7pm.
"At the moment we are actively encouraging beginners of all ages to take up the challenge of learning to play music – so if you're any age from seven to 70 there's a class for you," Brian said.
"All you have to do is lift the phone and call the Armagh Pipers Club on 02837511248 or e-mail email@example.com."
With the 50th anniversary looming, plans are already well advanced for a full 12-month programme of activities both at home and abroad.
The BBC has already started filming for a major three-part documentary series based on a ‘Year in the life of Armagh Pipers Club'. This will include historical commentary, interviews, visits to the Monday and Wednesday night classes, filming at the William Kennedy Piping Festival, the annual concert, the planned 50th anniversary gala concert and dinner as well a focus on musical families in the club.
The anniversary has sparked off a whole series of projects including one for children to research and document the musical history of their family, a project to bring the songs of the area to life with a DVD featuring the song and landscape of Armagh, high profile appearances at major international festivals by groups led by successful former pupils like Jarlath and Alana Henderson, Brian Finnegan, the Vallely brothers and others.
The club's history will be featured in an online website building on the 45th anniversary book ‘45 Years of Armagh Pipers Club' brought up to date with the inclusion of the last five years.
Meanwhile classes continue next Monday from 6.30pm onwards in St Patrick's Grammar School on Cathedral Road, when between 7pm and 8.30pm there will be another opportunity to sign up and register.