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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Bagpipe Society AGM 2014 Minutes

1. Officers’ Reports

Chairman (I. Clabburn)

Thanks were offered to retiring committee members Don Ward and Judith Rockliff for all their hard work over many years. Major developments this year have been:

  • the online library – thanks to Joe Wass in particular – which makes our archives available to all, with the exception of the last 2 year’s worth which are limited to paid up members only;
  • the appointment of Jane Moulder as our new Chanter editor; the option to receive Chanter as an electronic download, as an alternative to a paper copy for overseas members and as an additional resource to UK membership.

Chanter editor (J. Moulder)

Firstly, thanks must be given to John Tose who was editor of Chanter for 10 years. During his tenure the journal developed considerably and encompassed a wide range of articles and features and he introduced regular feature spots such as End Drone and Droning On. Not only did he act as editor, he was a major contributor to the journal and he submitted a large number of articles on bagpipe related topics. The handover to me, as new editor, went very smoothly thanks to John’s help and guidance.

I have been able to source an online print service for Chanter delivering significant cost savings per edition. I had hoped to use a local printer but sadly their costs were prohibitive. The service and end result of the new printers is excellent and offers the facility of a full colour cover at £100.00 saving over previous costs. It is now also easy to produce a full colour pdf of each issue to be made available for use online library and for online subscribers.

As I have only recently taken over the role, it is too early for me to comment on any specific issue but I think it goes without saying that I am always looking for feedback and ideas for the magazine. I believe that Chanter should cover a broad spectrum of topics and varieties of bagpipes in order to try to appeal to the wide range of interests of the members. My aim is to have occasional “special editions” which will typically cover one type of bagpipe and include a wide range of articles such as history, makers, players, repertoire, recordings, videos, etc. etc. These will need to be planned ahead and articles commissioned.

Treasurer and Membership Secretary (M. Ross)

Treasurer’s Report 2013

Firstly I would like to publically thank member George Swallow for his sterling work in putting together the accounts for 2013. George has done the accounts for several years now and this has helped immensely.

Another thank you and a congratulations to Ian for running another successful (and profit making) Blowout last year.

We are still on a stable footing as far as money goes – we have money in the bank and are still able to support projects and small festivals with donations or grants: we have again supported the International Bagpipe Conference in London for example. 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 a partial financial guarantee, the committee is welcome to applications for support.

Membership Secretary Report

Membership has continued to be steady in 2013, with 16 new members joining. We have had several overseas members sign up in the past few months which great news.

The main change to membership this year has been the abolition of the unwaged option. There is now just a standard £20 membership for UK members. This entitles you to paper copies of Chanter and also electronic copies of all Chanters via the website.

Having an electronic only option for overseas members has proved worthwhile as this is an easy way of handling membership for those overseas who are happy reading Chanter online.

This leads me on to Webcollect. This is the new online method of collecting and storing member’s information and collecting membership. We have had a few teething issues, but all in all things have gone relatively smoothly. Thanks to Joe for his assistance in integrating it into the website.

I would encourage anyone who has not accessed the site to do so – full details were in a recent edition of Chanter. From here you can update your personal details - mailing address, email and other contact details and also see when your membership expires - and renew online. I would ask people to check their email address is valid on the system (if you don’t mind being contacted by the society) as we may be sending out infrequent but useful emails using this method.

For those still paying by standing order, your details are also onWebcollect - I update the payment manually - but PLEASE - check your standing orders are updated to reflect the membership rate of £20.

Remember - the unwaged option has now been removed.

Society details sent out by makers when they sell their pipes are agood source of new members, as are events such as InternationalBagpipe Day and the Chester event in June: please continue to spread the word! I do feel that we need to persist with publicity that members carry with them – postcards are available to keep in your pipe case to hand out.

We have had some new stickers produced which will look fantastic on your case, and also member only badges. Wear yours with pride!

Publicity (A Letcher)

It’s been another successful year for the Society in terms of publicity and profile. That we are now the ‘go to’ organisation on matters to do with the bagpipes was evidenced by the BBC Scotland film crew documenting the Blowout for two hour-long documentaries coming out in 2015. Much of that success is due to the growing momentum behind International Bagpipe Day, most notably the events in Cheshire organised by Tom Hughes and the Second International Bagpipe Conference at SOAS in London organised by Cassandre Balosso-Bardin.

In the absence of any flagship event in 2015, I’d like to encourage members to organise small IBD events in their locality and try and generate publicity via te local press.

Our facebook page continues to be a valuable outlet for the Society, as evidenced by the increasing amounts of ’likes’. I would encourage members to visit the page but also to post photos and videos if they have them. Twitter remains an underused resource.

Blowout Organiser (I. Clabburn)

The Blowout has been another success. Attendance is fairly consistent year on year and we are set to make another healthy profit. The reputation of the festival continues to spread nd we are now being approached by leading performers from both the UK and overseas. We introduced online ticketing this year, which has been broadly successful and we will be looking to introduce graded pricing in the future. Thanks again to all who help, especially Ruth and Robert Bramley who manage the ticketing so efficiently. Future dates have been fixed up to 2020 and these will be posted on the Events page on the website I still need feedback and more importantly, suggestions for performers and workshops at future Blowouts. Please get in touch and complete the online survey (now closed).

Webmaster (J Wass)

The website has developed significantly over the last year, with the inclusion of the online library. All past editions of Chanter and virtually all newsletters have now been scanned, indexed and uploaded, many thanks to Ian. The number of hits on the website continue to increase We are continuing to develop the integration of payment and communication systems via PayPal and WebCollect.

Education Liason (T Hughes)


A how-to guide for delivering bagpipe themed workshops in schools was produced and published in Chanter Autumn 2013. Any members wanting further support can contact Tom, or 07981 212296.

Bagpipes have been introduced in schools history workshops in museums across Cheshire, and Tom is looking for opportunities to sow the seeds of these in other areas, perhaps through special event weeks. Again contact Tom if you think he could help set one up in your area.

Regular “Introduction to the Bagpipes” events have been held around Cheshire, using the society’s smallpipes. We’d like to get them out and about more in the next twelve months, and with a wider geographical spread, some festivals have already been arranged, but there’s plenty still out there that we haven’t reached.

Larger events for the wider public that helped introduce people and inform them about the bagpipes included the Minstrels’ Court, a concert in Astbury Church for IBD and followed by a piping day and concert for Bagpipolorum soon after IBD.  After Minstrels’ Court last year, Tony Pearson was inspired to run a special street music day in Ely, perhaps other members might be able to start something up in their area.

There is an informal gathering of pipers in the wider Cheshire area, and we are planning to venture a little further afield and stage an event in Manchester to try to kick start pipers and BagSoc membership there. Are there other areas of the country with no evident current piping scene that might prove a good recruiting ground?

The Bagpipe Society has developed a survey for use in June 2014 to collect data on what people would like from the society. It will collect views on what people want from the society, Chanter, our events, and so on. This will shape our future work in many aspects including our education plans.

Digital Archivist (A Carter)

My vision is in two parts:-

Firstly. a managed collection of external links (gaining permission where necessary) of bagpipe related material, to include other bagpipe society sites, social networking sources (Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, etc), online video and picture collections (YouTube, Flickr, etc) …

Secondly, online storage where members can upload their own videos and photos. This area will be largely uncensored, but a condition of unloading will be that the Society has the right to remove content at any time without notice for any reason. Links to this content may be included in the collection of external links.

I would be grateful if feedback could be requested, either directly to me at, or captured during the AGM.

2. Election of Officers

All officers were re-elected unopposed. The committee for 2014-2015 is:

  • Chairman: Ian Clabburn
  • Treasurer:Michael Ross
  • Chanter Editor: Jane Moulder
  • Publicity Officer: Andy Letcher
  • Education Officer: Tom Hughes
  • Website Manager: Joe Wass
  • Digital Archivist: Andy Carter

3. AOB

Benefits of Membership

There was a wide ranging discussion on the reasons for joining and the concensus wass that it was more to further piping than to get copies of Chanter, valued as they are. Membership fees were also discussed and the meeting ratified the scale of fees for this year: £20 full membership (UK) which includes paper copies of Chanter; £20 full membership (non UK) with electronic Chanter only; £32 full membership (Non UK) which includes paper copies of Chanter.

Online Sales and Mechandising

We hope develop online sales of books, CDs and a limited range of merchanise, including mugs, badges and stickers which should be more straightforward with PayPal and webcollect

Survey Monkey

We have commissioned an online survey of opinions and suggestions for the future development of the Society and urge members to complete it (Survey now closed)

Temporary committee membership.

There is always space for extra committee members and if you do not fancy becoming a full member, you could join temporarily just to see a project through. Volunteers and project suggestions most welcome.

Meeting closed 6.00