Bagpipers coming to Seabeck

The Seabeck Conference Center will host its annual Scottish Bagpipes and Fiddlers event starting Feb. 6. The 10-day event will bring together pipers from around the world looking to train under award-winning bagpipe masters from Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“It’s really the largest school of its kind in the United States,” said Skye Richendrfer, director of the Celtic Arts Foundation.

The small pipes and fiddlers arrive on Friday to put on a performance at the center on Feb. 6 at 7 p.m.

“What’s cool about the Seabeck concert is that you’ll find a sound that is closer to what you’d find a Scottish tavern rather than a traditional bagpipe ceremony,” Richendrfer said.

Nova Scotia musicians Andrea Beaton and Troy MacGillivray will arrive with the big pipes and drums before the group moves to Benaroya Hall in Seattle for a concert on Feb. 10. The Celtic musicians are known in the bagpiping community as a “triple threat” having mastered fiddle, piano and Scottish step dancing, said Richendrfer.

Instruction for the 100 students who have enrolled with the center will start Feb. 11.

Learning to bagpipe is a “very challenging musical endeavor unlike any other instrument,” said Chuck Kraining, executive director of Seabeck Conference Center.

The students will be piping around-the-clock with night walks and midnight bag piping sessions.

“It will be 14 to 18 hours, just about as much piping as they can stand,” Richendrfer said.

Richendrfer explained that bagpiping appeals to students as a “cultural totem” of family heritage. According to a 2000 U.S. Census Bureau report approximately 25 percent of the nation’s population claimed Celtic ancestry.

The Highland pipe also has historical ties to the British military in the 19th century and the World War II storming of the beaches in Normandy.

“The instrument is just so unusual and has tremendous mystical appeal even for younger generations,” Richendrfer said.

For more information or tickets, contact Chuck Kraining at 360-830-5010.


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