The new enrolment in September saw pupils from Counties Armagh, Monaghan, Tyrone, Derry, Down & Louth registering for classes with the Club. APC 45th Anniversary celebrations continued with rehearsals for the Deis-funded project for 45 uilleann pipers and percussionists to perform piping arrangements by Dónal O’Connor
October saw the first of the concert series Trad@The Trian, which opened with accordionist Mairtín Quinn and singer Len Graham. Uilleann Pipe maintenance classes were held in the Workshop under the direction of Éamonn Curran. Bag-packing and busking in Sainsbury’s brought in some much-needed funds. “Ioscaid” were winners of BBC2 Young Folk Award.
The William Kennedy Piping Festival brought musicians and piping enthusiasts from all over the world and was a major success. APC members contributed greatly to the Festival as performers, volunteers and supporters. The Mark Donnelly Bursary was awarded to Monaghan piper, Conor Lavelle, with runner-up award going to Derry piper Fintan Mulholland. Paul Eliasberg was among the exhibitors at the Photographic Exhibition.
December’s guests at Trad @The Trian were Donegal singer Rita Gallagher with flute player Kevin Crawford. The Family Session was a Fancy Dress event with musicians encouraged to dress up as a tune! Activities for 2012 ended with a beautiful Carol Service in the Primate’s Chapel.
The main event in January was the annual Burns Night when pupils had an opportunity to celebrate their links with Scottish music, song, dance and food. A special treat in January was a concert in St. Patrick’s Trian with Breton musicians, Gilles le Bigot and Jean- Michel Veillon, supported by the Club’s Siansa group.
The Club welcomed John Carty and Éamonn Ó Donnchadha as guests for February’s Trad@The Trian. The Band Kan, featuring Brian Finnegan, performed at the Marketplace Theatre. Another fund-raiser was held in Sainsburys.The St. Patrick’s Festival week began with the APC Annual Concert at which every member of the Club took part.
The Club’s 45th Anniversary book was launched at the Concert by Fintan Vallely. The book included contributions from over 50 members and friends of the Pipers Club along with a detailed history and photographs.
Club musicians were actively involved in all the week’s activities, including concerts, session trail and busking competition. Brian and Eithne Vallely were presented with a TG4 Gradam Ceoil award at a special concert in Limerick for their contribution to traditional music. Two young singers from the Club, Áine Mallon and Sinéad Breen, received bursaries to attend the Inishowen Singing Festival.
In April, fiddler Zoe Conway and sean-nós singer Máire Ní Choilm presented the final Trad@ The Trian of the season with a great concert and workshops. The TG4 series Sé mo Laoch featured the musical career of Brian and Eithne Vallely.
Monaghan’s annual Féile Oriel in May included concerts from Reel It In and Síoda, while the Fiddle Band and Cúig performed on the Gig Rig. Another innovative fund-raiser was a 24-hour Sponsored Music Session held in Sainsbury’s and in Armagh City Hostel.
The Annual Singing Session took place in D’Averell House in June with special guests Cathal O’Neill and Grace Toland as well as contributions from the Club’s singing teachers and pupils. Final event of the term was the Fiddle Group’s participation in NAFCO - the North Atlantic Fiddle Conference held in Derry - along with young fiddlers from North America, Scotland and Sweden.
August saw a group of senior musicians travelling to Glasgow to take part in the Piping Live Festival, where they gave four concerts. The group also participated in a joint concert at the Marketplace Theatre with Armagh Old Boys Silver Band as part of the Charles Wood Summer School.