Bagpipe Society AGM 2015 Minutes


Rod Cannon, Pete Stewart, Don Ward, Judy Rockliff, Dave Faulkner

Minutes of previous meeting were read and accepted

Matters Arising

Survey monkey - the results of the survey were published in the Autumn 2014 edition of Chanter. We are now working through the suggestions and hope to have the “find a piper” service up and running very soon. Look out announcements in Chanter

Officers’ Reports

Chairman (I.Clabburn)

“Membership continues to increase and the profile of both the Society and piping in general is rising, as evidenced by increased media interest and the success of events such as International Bagpipe Day and The International Bagpipe conference. There is much to look forward to”

Chanter editor (J. Moulder)

“I am now in the swing of things and have managed to get a full 44 pages each edition. I have received lots of positive feedback, which is very reassuring, especially about the Swedish Special. Chuffed that I managed to get all the articles, other than Blowout, about Swedish pipes and related, including dance! I hope to repeat the themed editions every 2 years. Big thanks go to the contributors especially as many of them who are not writing in their first language. Estonian, French, Swedish! It wouldn’t happen without them and it is gratifying that such a broad range of material is coming in. But more please! We are always looking for ideas and contributions; they do not have to be completely finished, I can help complete. Also, if there’s anything you’d like to see in there, I want inspiration - point me in the right direction. I have had feedback that articles on making and tooling is especially of interest to some members, so if you are a maker, happy to share plans and ideas, then let me know. I would love to start some debate and discussion - but it needs you to write in! How about Q&A sessions but different from what can be achieved on Facebook”

Treasurer and Membership Secretary (M. Ross)

“Firstly I would like to publically thank member George Swallow for his work in putting together the accounts for 2014. George has done the accounts for several years now and having his accounting skills has helped immensely. Another thank you and a congratulations to Ian for running another successful (and profit making) Blowout last year (again!).

I have emailed out asking for suggestions for funding. We are still on a stable footing as far as money goes – we have money in the bank and are still able to support bagpipe based projects and small festivals with donations or grants. If you have a suitable event – it doesn’t need to be on the scale of the Bagpipe Conference, a workshop or gathering is equally viable, and need financial assistance or partial financial support, the committee is welcome to applications. Beyond a core of events such as The International Bagpipe Conference, the uptake has been disappointing and we will be looking to raise awareness over the coming year.”

Membership Secretary Report

“Membership has continued to be steady in 2014, with almost 20 new members joining. We have had several overseas members sign up in the past few months which great news. Several are taking advantage of the digital only which was launched over the last year and is proving popular.

Just a reminder that there is just a standard £20 membership for UK members. This entitles you to not only paper copies of Chanter but also historic electronic copies of all Chanters via the website.

This leads me on to Webcollect. Having an electronic online membership system has proved to be extremely effective in gaining new members – we have 30 outside of the UK which is fantastic news. Whilst Webcollect has been useful in establishing our online member presence, some elements of it have proved limited. We have therefore decided to migrate to a new system – Membermojo.

Users will notice a much easier ‘front end’ and renewing your membership should now be smoother and simpler. From the back end, it means some new features – you will automatically be emailed when your membership is coming up for renewal. This does mean however that email addresses must be up to date. If anybody is unsure, they can see me afterwards and I can check.

For those still paying by standing order, your details are also on Membermojo - I update the payment manually - but PLEASE - check your standing orders are updated to reflect the membership rate of £20. I have had to contact several members to amend their standing orders to the new amount. Thank you to all those members who have done so already and also paid the difference for last year and this year.

Society details sent out by makers when they sell their pipes are a good source of new members, as are events such as International Bagpipe Day and the Chester event next month: please continue to spread the word”

Publicity (A Letcher)


Our Facebook page is doing well with 1001 likes (May 2015) and rising.

  • 77% men – how can we attract more women pipers?
  • mostly aged 35-65
  • bulk from UK and US, the rest from Europe
  • regular activity from members and ‘likers’
  • therefore, an excellent, international platform, from which to promote the Society

“Twitter is underused. I’d suggest that committee members take the login details and tweet more frequently. Twitter is a fantastic way of building up large followings quickly.

International Bagpipe Day

Despite the lack of a flagship event, was a great success, helped by the BBC2 in Scotland documentary, Phil Cunningham’s Pipe Dream. As I write in the current Chanter, there’s a risk that IBD becomes associated solely with the Great Highland Bagpipe. With the International Bagpipe Conference being held in Glasgow next year, I’d encourage lots of ‘other’ pipers to attend lest it become all about the GHB.

The website is starting to look in need of some pruning. With money in the bank, perhaps it’s time to pay for a professional reboot – unless there’s a member who would be up for doing it?


as last year, I’d encourage members to organise more events: festival stalls; sessions; workshops; dances. The more we do as a Society, the more people are likely to join. The Minstrels’ Court in Chester is an excellent example.

Important future date: December 2016 will mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Society”

Blowout Organiser (I. Clabburn)

“This year’s Blowout has gone very well and attendance is up, most noticably at the Friday evening. We filled the local - extensive - car park and I am discussing alternative/additional parking and camper van provision with a supportive Parish Council. As ever, I make my request: send me your suggestions for future performers and workshops and I will see what I can do. Many thanks in particular to Ruth Bramley and Vanessa Ryall for all their work and support”

Webmaster (J Wass)

“I am looking at a major overhaul of the website over the coming year, with a new design and increased functionality”.

Education Liason (T Hughes)

“It has been a successful year with workshops in schools and at several festivals, most notably Shrewsbury Folk Festival where several Society members ran two full-house workshops showcasing bagpipes, 500 people in total, and we got several new members this way. We’ve got more events coming up in the next 12 months, but are still looking for other members who might be willing to run a basic introduction to bagpipes workshop at their local festival, or indeed suggestions of other places we could try to sow some bagpiping seeds. There is funding available to help.

I’ve continued to take bagpipes out to schools for workshops. This is very popular when schools want to show that there’s more to music than just guitar, clarinet and keyboard. I think it would greatly help the future of our instrument if we can get volunteers to introduce it to younger people. Do consider whether you can offer a workshop to a school near you; even a 10 minute presentation can make a huge difference. I wrote an article with some advice on this in the Autumn 2013 chanter, or you can email me for advice

Don’t forget that the Society has 9 sets of bellows blown D smallpipes and now 3 sets of student G borderpipes available for members to use in workshops. Do get in touch if you’d like to use some or all of these for a while, but give plenty of notice as we try to pass them on via members meeting up from time to time and thereby avoid transport cost, so the more notice the better to get them across the country”.

Digital Archivist (A Carter)

“We have established YouTube and Soundcloud channels. There are a large number of videos from past Blowouts on YouTube, but nothing as yet on Soundcloud. Please contact us if you have either videos or soundclips - anything that may be of bagpiping interest. Don’t be shy”.

Election of Officers (I. Clabburn):

All members of the committee were willing to stand again and were duly reappointed. There was one significant change: Michael Ross is to stand down as Treasurer and Membership Secretary, his place to be taken by George Swallow, who was elected unopposed.

There was a vote of thanks to Michael for his work and invaluable contributions to our success. Michael will remain on the committee and there will be a transition period as he hands over to George.

AOB (I. Clabburn):

Video resources - a new project.

In response to the survey, it was proposed that we build up a library of videos covering technique, ranging from the absolute basics, such as posture and bag pressure, up to more advanced technique. Jeremy Cooper has volunteered to do the filming and there has been a preliminary meeting to discuss practicalities.

There followed a discussion about funding and availability of the fininshed product and it was decided that:

  1. The purchase of a dedicated video camera was not necessary;
  2. All videos open access via our website and Facebook page - probably with a link to our YouTube channel;
  3. Basic technique videos to be recorded by Ian and Jeremy;
  4. Later videos to be opened out to other players and also makers demonstrating aspects of their craft (reed making, bag seasoning etc);
  5. Budget to be carefully monitored and agreed in advance. IC responded that this was likely to be small, most likely to be covering limited travel expenses only. Jeremy will use his own camera and no participant will be charging for their time.

Meeting closed 5.30

We are settling into our new website, including making available articles from our thirty year history. If you spot something inaccurate, garbled or missing, or if you want to volunteer to help us improve our site, please mail info@bagpipesociety.

Website by Joe Wass, managed by Ian Clabburn.

Website content by Andy Letcher.

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