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Northumbrian Smallpipes Weekend

Friday 1 Mar 4pm — Sunday 3 Mar 4pm, 2024

To make a booking enquiry please complete the form below. We will contact you to confirm availability and complete your booking.


Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

£310– single ensuite room
£265– sharing an ensuite room
£265– single non-ensuite room
£210– sharing non-ensuite room

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):


Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):


Plus optional £60 Sunday B&B (includes supper)

We’re delighted to welcome back Andy May, Pauline Cato, Chris Ormston and Chris Evans to put Northumbrian Smallpipers of all abilities through their paces.

The weekend offers a enjoyable opportunity to develop technique and repertoire with a variety of workshops, sessions, plus a performance from the tutors.

Make a long weekend of it and book an additional night of B&B on Sunday night for just £60 per person (includes supper).

Who is it for?

This popular workshop weekend is designed to give everyone from beginners to intermediate and advanced level players a thoroughly enjoyable opportunity to develop their abilities, technique and repertoire.

You’ll work in groups according to ability level, with some optional sessions too, allowing you the opportunity to work with all tutors over the course of the weekend. Music will be available in advance.

The Team

Andy May was introduced to the smallpipes by his father Stan, later learning from Roland Lofthouse and Adrian Schofield, and from studying the recordings of Billy Pigg and Tom Clough. Through the 90s, Andy entered many piping competitions and studied music at the University of York with the pipes as his chosen instrument. Andy has been a full-time musician since 2002, with the Andy May Trio, UK/Finnish/Danish ensemble Baltic Crossing, and with North-East band Jez Lowe and the Bad Pennies. Andy is a notable pipemaker, learning much from his father, and also Colin Ross, and teaches on the folk music degree course at Newcastle University.

Pauline Cato with her extremely accurate staccato approach, has brought a fresh and exciting sound to the Northumbrian bagpipe tradition. While she’s has shown a mastery of the traditional repertoire of Billy Pigg and Tom Clough, Cato has become known for her unique bagpipe renditions of songs by such folk-like songwriters as Richard Thompson and Jay Ungar. In addition to performing as a soloist and in a duo with Tom McConville, Cato has worked with Alistair Anderson and the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra in the opera Cullecoates Tommy. Cato has become a highly respected instructor and has taught courses in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States.

Chris Ormston was given his first set of pipes on his 15th birthday and nine months later won the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society Junior Class. Within three years he had won every Open competition in the county. Early in his piping career he acquired a taste for the classic repertoire of the pipes, with a particular interest in the music of the Clough family. Chris has collaborated with the NPS Society in the publication of two collections: ‘The Clough Family of Newsham’ (2000) and ‘The Clough Family Tunebook’ (2012). In 2011 Chris was honoured to take possession of ‘Young’ Tom Clough’s pipes, a Reid set gifted to Tom by his grandfather.

Chris Evans was born and raised in Dorset. He won a music scholarship to Bryanston School, Blandford, and is a graduate of the University of Bristol with a Bachelor of Arts Joint Honours degree in German and Russian, and a Master of Arts in Medieval Studies, specialising in Late Medieval German. Chris started playing Northumbrian Smallpipes in 2001. He has won Open Classes at the Bellingham Show and the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society annual competitions and has gone on to perform as a soloist for HRH Duke of Edinburgh on Horse Guards Parade, and with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He is in demand as a tutor throughout the UK and US, and has been a regular tutor at Halsway since 2006.