Instrument Makers & Vendors 2009
The musical instrument makers and vendors that come to The Pipers' Gathering are true artisans in every sense of the word. They create an object of art that a musician uses to create musical art. Their biographies, contact information and pictures can be found below.
Please click on thumbnail picture to see larger image !
|BC Childress is a pipemaker (specializing in the manufacture of the Irish Uilleann Pipes) who has been making the Uilleann Pipes since 1987. BC has been featured as a guest piper on several recordings, as well as having his pipemaking work show up in a major motion picture. Supplying Uilleann pipes to both amateur and professional pipers has become a full-time pleasure for BC. African Blackwood, Rosewood, Cocobolo, brass and all manner of custom work are available. Repairs and restorations are also carried out in the BC Childress workshop.|
|Tim Benson & Stephanie Cornelius|
|Ohio native Tim Benson became interested in the uilleann pipes as
a teenager. Involvement with the Ulster Project at that time exposed
him to recordings of traditional Irish music, and spawned the beginning
of a life long relationship with the pipes.
Some of his earliest influences came through recordings of the Chieftains and of Joe McKenna. After attaining a practice set of pipes made by Michael Brennan of East Lake, OH, Tim received introductory lessons from Michael Kilbane through the Academy of Irish Music in Cleveland, OH. He later received more advanced tuition from piper Kieran O'Hare, and attended influential workshops at Scoil Acla in 2002 with Ciaran O'Malley and Robbie Hannan.
He began teaching uilleann pipes at the Riley School of Irish Music in Cincinnati, OH while attending college at Xavier University. For several years Tim enjoyed performing at a wide array of venues around the mid-west, both independently and with Irish traditional groups Silver Arm and with the Cleveland-based Portersharks. He recorded albums with both groups, and appeared on The Road to Riley, a recording of Riley School faculty.
Driven by a desire to acquire a deeper understanding of the instrument, Tim devoted himself to making uilleann pipes after settling in Western New York in December 2006.
He is joined in this venture by Stephanie Cornelius, a mechanical engineer from Western New York, who has worked for more than 10 years developing mechanical & electronic control systems & software for automotive applications.
No stranger to the machine shop, Stephanie provides design & fabrication support, makes hand-stitched bags and bellows and is responsible for the key work.
Inspired by the great flute & fiddle player Peter Horan, she took up the fiddle in 2001, and the flute within the past 2 years. Her first exposure to the uilleann pipes was during a work assignment in the south of Germany, where she met pipemaker Andreas Rogge, and acquired her first practice set.
Together they work to produce sets of all configurations in their shop located 30 miles east of Buffalo.
They work with the traditional turnery woods associated with bagpipe making, such as ebony, the rosewoods, and boxwood. Brass and nickel silver are employed for the metal work. They have a great appreciation for pipes made by classic makers such as Leo Rowsome and the Taylor brothers, and have been influenced greatly through the invaluable guidance of a few modern masters.
|Tim runs a tiny cottage industry of self-published piping music -- compilations, arrangements, and compositions that are largely focused on gently expanding the boundaries of the common repertoire. Tim holds a Bachelor's of Music Education degree from the College of Wooster (OH), and both an Honours Degree in Ethnomusicology and a Master of Arts (Musicology) from Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand). He is currently based in Monkton, VT, where he also teaches and performs Celtic and Americana music.|
|Rick Damon, a fixture at The Pipers' Gatherings for many years, is also a wood cratfsman. He builds beautiful cherry bagpipe cases constructed with rounded-over dovetail corners for durability and adorned with brass catches and hinges and a leather strap. A matching toolbox is included. His cases are available in a variety of standard sizes for SSP/NSP, UP, GHB pipes as well as double-cases and custom sizes.|
|Michael Dow has been a professional woodworker for well over 30 years
and makes his living as a hand, architectural woodcarver. His interest
in bagpipes started in 1974 and he made his first set of Scottish smallpipes
and bellows around 1989. At the request of Jerry O'Sullivan a few years
later, his uilleann bellows were developed.
- Jerry O'Sullivan - 2000
Please visit his web site at www.archcarving.com for more information.
|Jerry Freeman Pennywhistles|
Jerry Freeman is the world's only full time, professional penny
Jerry takes mass produced whistles (Generations, Feadogs, etc.) and adjusts the soundblade position, windway exit geometry, voicing chamber and tonebody to create affordable instruments that many consider not simply outstanding whistles for the modest cost, but outstanding whistles at any cost.
Jerry offers tweaked Generations in high G, high F, Eb, D, C and Bb, tweaked Feadogs in D, and his own creations, the widely acclaimed Blackbirds and Mellow Dogs.
Mellow Dogs are wide body whistles available in D and as a D/C set (one whistlehead with two tubes). Blackbirds are standard body whistles available in Eb, D and C. Both are noted for their pure drop authentic traditional voicings that favor a birdlike, sweet timbre in a very responsive, clean playing instrument.
|Julian Goodacre has been a professional bagpipe maker
and researcher for twenty years. During this time, his pipes have acquired
a reputation for their quality of craftsmanship, design and reliability.
His pipemaking is based on being a piper himself. His pipes are based
on detailed measurements of museum examples or period illustrations.
He has developed all his pipes either for his own use, or in cooperation
with other pipers. He is an enthusiastic piper and tunesmith and is
always keen to help other players, and enjoys contact with his customers.
He personally reeds up and plays-in every set of new pipes for several
hours, taking great care with the voicing and tuning so that each one
leaves the work-shop ready to play. Out of concern for the world's
timber resources, he uses only British woods and has found that British
hardwoods and yew are ideal for pipemaking. They are stable, give a
good tone and are extremely attractive. Pipes are made from a choice
of hardwoods that he has in stock. Most of this wood has been cut up
and processed by himself. He knows where most of the trees have grown
and can often supply customers with photos of the actual tree their
pipes were made from. Pipes include: Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes,
18th century Scottish Highland pipes, Leicestershire pipes, English
greatpipes, Cornish double pipes, English double pipes. Durer bagpipe.
For nearly 20 years he has played with the English piping trio The Goodacre Brothers, who have recorded two CDs. In 2000 Julian released his solo CD 'Pipemaker Calls Yer Tunes'. He is now gaining a growing reputation for his performances, talks and lectures. He currently lectures for the Piping Degree Course at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Glasgow, Scotland.
Simon Hope RPT is the only smallpipe maker on the u.k. register
Joseph Sampson is a harvester and distributor of California chanter cane. He sells cane primarily for dry/cold blown bagpipes such as Border pipes and Northumbrian pipes, but particularly specializes in Uilleann/Union pipe cane. All of the cane Joseph harvests is handpicked in the wild, from special locations throughout Southern California. He can provide chanter cane in all sizes ranging from 14 mm/0.55" to larger than 30 mm/1.18" in diameter.
In addition to harvesting and selling cane, Joseph is middle school math teacher, plays the Uilleann pipes & Irish Whistles, and is a part-time reed maker for his own pipes and a few others.
Joseph is located in beautiful HOT & sunny Bakersfield, California.
|Sweetheart Flute Co.|
Connecticut's own wooden flute makers since 1974. Founded by Ralph Sweet; retired physics teacher, caller and teacher of contra and square dancing, fifer and drummer since 1946.
Specializing in Irish flutes, pennywhistles, low whistles, military fifes, baroque flutes, renaissance fifes, folk flutes, piccolos, walking stick flutes and tabor pipes. Featuring the revolutionary new WD Sweet professional model pennywhistle as well as books, CDs and other fine wooden instruments.
|Monroe Bridge Books|
With over 5,000 books in stock, Monroe Bridge Books specializes in used and rare - Scottish, Irish, Welsh English and Gaelic Books ( as well as an extensive general stock). Their inventory can be found on-line at the website link listed above. They also provide lists and catalogs that are subject specific - upon request.
Will gladly open by appointment, if you are in the area.
Monroe Bridge Books is a proud member of MARIAB, the Massachusetts & Rhode Island Antiquarian Booksellers Association.
|Dudelsackbau T. Sonoda|
|T. Sonoda is a bagpipe maker in Bavaria, Germany. After learning skills from various craftsmen/women in Germany and Switzerland, he has opened his bagpipe-making studio in April 2008. He makes several bagpipes mainly those of European Continent, such as Bohemian Bock (Böhmischer Bock), Gaita Gallega (Galician bagpipe) and German historical bagpipes.|
|The Wee Piper|
|Michael Mac Harg is a professional pipemaker and Celtic music seller who has been in the business for nearly 30 years. His specialties include the Scottish Highland pipes, Scottish Lowland pipes, Central French pipes and he also make bombards from Brittany. Michael restores and rebuilds all sorts of bagpipes. Michael specializes in pipebags for virtually all bagpipes. He also carries a large selection of French traditional music, to include hurdy gurdy and French bagpipe music.|
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