Bloomington Pipers’ Society – An Update

It has been a little over a year since this website has touched on the Bloomington Pipers’ Society, and I think it is a good time to talk a bit about the organization’s activities and achievements which has occurred in that time.

One of the biggest changes has been a change of venues from 800 N Indiana Avenue in Bloomington, to St. Thomas Lutheran Church on the east side of town. The organization which was hosting us at the 800 N Indiana Avenue location, the Indiana University Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology, had the building taken away from them by the university during a space adjustment. The Pipers’ Society began its meetings in the new space in January 2017. The Society has seen great success in the new building, boosting its monthly attendance by about five people on average, with some truly large gatherings of 30 to 40 people.

Angus Martin & Chris Eller at the LotusBlossoms Bazaar on April 1, 2017

The BPS has also become an incorporated entity, and offers memberships to the community. Membership benefits are currently developing, but the major benefits as of today are reduced prices on Society events, as well as instructor discounts for BPS members. As the Society develops, it will add more benefits to its dues paying members.

In April the Bloomington Pipers’ Society participated in the LotusBlossoms World Bazaar, a local educational fair at Binford Elementary School, where Angus Martin and Chris Eller gave a presentation about the Great Highland Bagpipe and the Scottish bass drum.

Steve Coyne, Grade 3 Piper of the Day at the Cincinnati Indoor.

Also in April, the Bloomington Pipers’ Society sponsored the Grade 3 solo piping contest at the Cincinnati Piping & Drumming Solo Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 8, 2017. The BPS sponsored this contest to foster greater cooperation and partnership with piping and drumming organizations in the Ohio River basin area. One of my students, Chris Eller, attended the event and took part in the workshop program they provided as well, and found the experience energizing.

At the BPS gatherings, held this year on the third Sunday of each month, performers ranging from Great Highland Bagpipe ensembles, to Hungarian Bagpipes, to the Uilleann bagpipes have been featured. At nearly every gathering, a featured piobaireachd has been played, and new connections have been made. The Society ultimately exists to bring together the Bloomington piping community, and it is successfully making its mark in achieving this goal.

The Society will be changing the weekend it gathers on this coming fall, but will once again meet at St. Thomas Lutheran Church for the next main season from October through April. Events may occur this summer still, but venues have been elusive. In the meantime, many Society members will be performing throughout the summer across the Midwest, from the upcoming Highland Games in Chicago this coming Saturday, to the Bloomington Fourth of July Parade, to the Columbus Scottish Festival in September. I hope to see you in our travels and performances this summer!