Bagpipe Society Logo
Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Bagpipe Society AGM 2017 Minutes

Minutes of the Bagpipe Society AGM Polesworth Memorial Hall Saturday 4th June 2017 17.00

You can download this document as a PDF here.

Apologies: Andy Letcher

Matters arising

Medieval Music in the Dales (Tom Hughes).

We gave a grant to this new weekend festival in September 2016 to help it get established and provide occasion to run bagpipe workshops, and fund the attendance of bagpipe maker Danilo Turchetti from Italy. I led two workshops giving an overview of bagpipes in medieval times, followed by opportunities to try various pipes, including the society’s instruments, and Paul Martin ran a workshop on medieval tunes, all of these were filled to capacity. Bagpipes also featured prominently in the many concerts over the weekend and I dealt with many enquiries from novice and would-be pipers. The event was a great success, providing a great gathering for the many bagpipers who get into our instrument via the early music/historical route. It was very well attended and there were some lessons learned during the weekend, which would be expected with any new event, but these have been addressed and we will be giving a grant to the next festival, 7-10 September to run further workshops and contribute towards the attendance of pipemakers and players. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year’s event, and whilst we have lined up workshop leaders for beginners workshops, and medieval bagpipe tunes through the grant funding, it would be good to find another member from the BagSoc to attend as our representative.

Newcastle Piping Event (IC).

We sponsored Paul Martin as guest performer at this event, which was very successful and we hope will become a regular feature on the piping calendar.

Purchase of student pipes (IC).

The Society has added 6 sets of student bagpipes, 3 each from Jon Swayne and Sean Jones, to our collection. See separate item below

Membership inducements (IC).

Following the discussion at the 2016 AGM, the committee looked at membership inducements and came to the conclusion that any significant inducements to join, in cash or kind, very quickly became complex or open to potential abuse. We concluded that £20 membership fee was not sufficient a barrier to joining and other means of recruitment, such as “Try the pipes” workshops at festivals etc would be more effective.

Chanter Editor (Jane Moulder)

Work with Chanter continues with all editions having been printed and delivered on time. I am still in the position where, in general, the majority of articles are sought out or commissioned by me (read: persuasion and suggestion by the editor is made to a potential contributor) but some articles have been sent in unsolicited – which has pleased me greatly. More of this please!

Having been slightly despondent at the last AGM with the lack of feedback to Calls and Responses, I was heartened to receive a flurry of both calls and responses. There has been some excellent contributions and some good, in-depth discussion. Again, more of this please!

In order to comply with keeping postage to 2nd class large letter (under 100gms), the maximum number of pages, including cover, is 44. For the first time that number of pages was exceeded in Spring 2017 when a 68 page edition was produced. This increased postage costs significantly (£1.22 instead of 76p) but also increased the hassle of posting out as 4 stamps needed to be stuck on to each envelope instead of one and a customs label needed to be completed for each non-EU country. Having sworn “never again”, the Summer 2017 edition is the same size! This may be a problem for the editor - but excellent value for the members.

I received a good deal of positive feedback to the Spring 2017 edition which focused on a number of articles concerned with making bagpipes. This was in response to requests from quite a few Society members so it was particularly gratifying that it was so well received. As always, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to Chanter and made my job so much easier. It wouldn’t be the publication it is without you.

Membership Secretary’ Report (George Swallow)

First, my apologies for not being here to deliver this myself. Membership has continued to grow slowly, from 212 to 232 over the last year, although it has taken 60 new members and 40 expiries to achieve this. Half of the new members are from abroad.

Our membership system (Membermojo) coupled with our own website has now completed its second year and can now be said to be in full control of our joiners and renewals. The satisfaction for me from this can be increased by rereading the AGM minutes from 2012 and 2013, and I commend my predecessor Michael Ross for getting it in order before he handed over to me!

The project to make our members’ whereabouts accessible to all members was completed this year, and about 170 of the membership have chosen to be included. Of course, using it leaves no traces so we do not know yet what use is being made of it.

Treasurer’s Report (George Swallow)

The accounts for 2016 show a surplus of £2769 for the year, including a £625 surplus on the 2016 Blowout.

Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2016

Please see the PDF linked at the top of this document.

Our support of piping events this year has been below our desired level. I and my predecessors have said before that there is money available to support projects and events that bring pipes to a wider audience. During the current year we are investing in some new student pipes and refurbishing our old ones, all for use in training, but how it will be carried out remains to be decided.

Publicity (Ian Clabburn)

The Society continues to enjoy a relatively high profile online, both via our website, which regularly generates inquiries from the news media and private individuals concerning a wide range of bagpipe related questions, most of which tend to be directed at the Highland bagpipe. I was invited to comment on “Bagpipe Lung” (see Chanter 30) by American publications, Sky UK and local radio. We also appeared as guest publication on BBC’s Have I Got News for You. Our FaceBook page remains popular with 1600 likes and one of our postings – on the Iberian Special Edition of Chanter - reached an audience of nearly 11000!

We continue to spread the word at festivals, conferences etc with workshops, flyers and high quality posters.

Blowout Organiser (Ian Clabburn)

This year’s Blowout seems to be another success. I have acted on the comments raised at last year’s AGM and Jane and Eric Moulder have taken on the role as Artist Liaison. Thanks to George Swallow and Ruth Bramley in particular who have supported me so efficiently with the ticketing and general admin. As always, I appeal for your suggestions for future performers and workshops.

Webmaster (Joe Wass)

We are aware of the risks arising from the holding of data online and potential threats from malicious attack. We are continuing to work to keep this secure and you can read our current procedures here

It is subject to continuous review and ongoing discussion, so please get in touch should you wish to add to or query anything.

Education Liaison Officer’s report (Tom Hughes)

  • Over the past year I’ve changed jobs which means that while I still work in heritage, incorporating bagpipes into events, talks and tours at various historic settings across Cheshire and Lancashire several times a week, I’m less likely to be in a position to work directly with schools through my daily work, though I’ve continued to squeeze in a few bagpipe workshops with schools by arrangement. I’d like to see if the Bagpipe Society might find an advocate for more regular work with schools, preferably sowing seeds in another part of the country. I’d be very happy to help with advice and content for workshops if needed. Any volunteers?

  • I’ve been doing a lot of talks/demonstrations of bagpipes to local history societies, WI groups and the like, on average one a month. I know other members have done similar sorts of things. These sorts of groups are often looking for presentations to build into their events programme, and whilst they may not generate a lot of new pipers, they are great for raising awareness of our instrument and good fun too. Do consider having a dabble into this in your local area, and contact me if you need advice.

  • I’ve taken the Bagpipe Society’s pipes out to intro workshops/showcases at four festivals in the past year, fewer than past couple of years, though I’m giving some a break on purpose. I’d like to see the society getting involved in festivals in other places than those in my circle, so suggestions of good places to go, or volunteers to run a workshop or stall would be much appreciated.

Election of Officers

All officers were re-elected unopposed.

The committee is:

  • Chair: Ian Clabburn
  • Treasurer/Membership Secretary: George Swallow Chanter Editor: Jane Moulder
  • Education Officer: Tom Hughes
  • Publicity: Andy Letcher
  • Website: Joe Wass
  • “Keeper” of the Society’s pipes: David Faulkner (see below)
  • Without portfolio: Quentin Budworth

Use and future of the Society’s Stock of Bagpipes (discussion)

We now own 15 sets of pipes: 9 Scottish smallpipes and 6 student border pipes, all of which are available for use by members. I proposed that we sell the smallpipes because they were not being used. This was unanimously rejected, but it was agreed that we need to be more proactive in getting them out and played. As a start, a small group, led by David Faulkner has been set up to coordinate the use and transport of the pipes between events and provide appropriate teachers at festivals. Initially we are looking at running more “try the pipes” sessions, but there is scope for running longer tuition courses in the future. This is very much in its early stages and you will receive updates and requests for suggestions by email in the coming months. In the meantime, write to if you have a pipe friendly festival/event in mind.

Volunteers to help run the Society (Ian Clabburn)

Is there anyone who would be interested in learning how to organise the Blowout or run our membership/accounts? Although neither George or I are considering giving these up in the short term, it would be good if our acquired expertise could be more widely shared. I am thinking of some kind of “shadowing” to begin with. Write to if this appeals.

Money to spend

We still have plenty available for pipe related projects. These can range from underwriting an event, paying to hire a room for a local gathering, sponsoring a visiting performer, or anything else that is in line with the Society’s aims and objectives. Please contact any member of the committee to discuss your ideas and we will see what we can do!

AGM closed 18.00