Four day festival of bagpiping to be headlined by Scottish maestro Fred Morrison

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LEGENDARY Scottish piper Fred Morrison will headline a four day festival of bagpiping in the old Third Presbyterian Church in Great James’ Street this weekend.

The former Capercaillie star is the main event of Féile Píobairí Uilleann 2013 - the third international piping festival organised by the local uilleann piping fraternity.

But whilst the Scottish maestro - proficient on Great Highland bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, Border pipes, low whistles and the Irish uilleann pipes - is an undoubted highlight the four day event will also feature reed making classes, video workshops and a mini pipe band competition.

The festivities kick off on Thursday (November 21) in Cultúrlann Ui Chanáin on Great James’ Street with reed making classes from 3pm.

This will be followed by video workshops featuring past pipers at 7pm and recitals by local pipers from 8pm.

Friday (November 22) will continue in the same vein but will conclude with recitals from renowned national pipers Paddy O’Hare, Ciaran McPhilemy, Jason Rouse, Tom Clark and Cormac O’Brian.

On Saturday (November 23) there’ll be more reed making classes in An Cultúrlann from 3pm to 6pm before the festival decamps to the old Third Derry Church for the main event: Michael ‘Blackie’ O’Connell (on stage at 8.30pm) followed by Fred Morrison.

Tickets for Saturday’s concert cost £13 with doors opening at 7.30pm.

The four day celebration of the pipes concludes on Sunday (November 24) with a mini pipe band competition.

Commencing at 3pm in An Cultúrlann the criteria are as follows: “Open Grade: Max 7 players per band, Pipe majors and leading drummers can take in as many bands as they wish. Winners will be decided by 50 per cent audience vote and 50 per cent Fred Morrison adjudication.”

‘Gabby’ Fitzgerald, President and co-founder of Na Píobairí Uilleann Doire (the Londonderry uileann pipers) said he was looking forward to what promises to be a great few days.

“In past years we have had pipers from the Uilleann, Highland, Northumbrian and Gallician traditions,” he told the Sentinel.

“This year we have married all the piping traditions from across the globe culminating with the mini pipe band competition on Sunday,” he added.

Mr Fitzgerald said he wished to thank the staff of the Culture Company 2013 for their help in delivering an enhanced Féile Píobairí Uilleann duing this Londonderry City of Culture 2013.

“We were looked after by the Culture Company to help with our big event on Saturday night at Cultúrlann,” he said.

Na Píobairí Uilleann Doire are asking anyone with an interest in piping - be that Irish, Scottish, English, Welsh, Breton, Iberian, Balkan, Eastern European, Arabian, African or Asian - to come along to what promises to be a feast of music over the next few days.