2012 will be our second year at Champlain College, Burlington, Vermont where we enjoy exceptional facilities for our weekend convention. But it wasn't always like that. To appreciate the path that brought us to Champlain College, you have to think back some twenty-seven years and go furthur up Lake Champlain to the Champlain Islands.
The Pipers’ Gathering first saw the light of day in 1985 when Alan Jones started the North American Northumbrian Pipers’ Convention. Despite its name, the weekend event held in North Hero, VT was a celebration of all types of bellows-blown bagpipes and traditional music.
By 1998, the convention had grown into a major piping event that was eagerly awaited by long-time supporters and newcomers alike. A committee was formed to ensure the continuity of this activity and 1999 saw the first Pipers’ Gathering held in the old town hall in North Hero. When the town hall was closed down, the Gathering was held under canvas in the grounds of the Shore Acres Motel in North Hero and this continued to be the venue until a thunderstorm during the 2004 event convinced the committee that there were certain drawbacks to tents – a change of location was required.
Early in 2005, the committee announced that the Pipers’ Gathering would be held for the first time in Killington VT, and held its collective breath to see how participants would react to this change of venue. It need not have worried; the 2005 Pipers’ Gathering was one of the most successful in recent years.
The Gathering offers participants an opportunity to enjoy meeting some of the leading players and teachers in four areas of bellows-blown piping: Uilleann pipes, Northumbrian small pipes, Scottish small pipes and English pipes. Each year, an effort is made to introduce an extra element of piping to participants and recent events have hosted exponents of Border pipes and French pipes.