Pipers have the surf as audience

Paul Wells, John Kenny, John Morrison and Peter Walker

Take a walk up to the Kiama Blowhole Point on a Monday morning around 10-10.30am and you are likely to see a group of men with bagpipes, serenading the sea.

A number of readers alerted us to the weekly event, so we went to find out more.

Pipe Major Paul Wells, Secretary John Kenny, John Morrison and Peter Walker are all members of the
Kiama Pipe Band.

They meet each week, weather permitting, to practice outdoors on their Great Highland Bagpipes.

While some may think only of Scotland when they hear the pipes, history shows that the Irish and Scots both adopted the bagpipes around the same time in the 1500s.

The Irish or Uilleann pipes are most often played indoors as they have a softer, melodic sound. The War Pipes or Highland Pipes were so loud they were used to command soldiers in battle.

While initially an instrument to create dance music, the pipes transformed into a symbol of strength and resilience – somehow quite fitting for the year we have just endured.

“When we perform we wear the Red Ulster tartan kilt,which reminds us of the link between Kiama and Northern Ireland,” ” says John Kenny,

Early pioneers of this district, mainly Protestants, came from Ireland, and many Irish Catholics later worked in the Kiama quarries.

The Kiama Pipe Band plays annually at the ANZAC commemorations, fairs and street marches and provides
solo pipers for special ceremonies.

They are available for weddings, funerals, corporate events and birthday parties – in fact anywhere that the unique presence of a pipe band or single piper is loved and appreciated.

The Band offers free tuition to both men and women who are interested in learning to play pipes or drums.

And if you have been a previous player and would like to get involved again, they would obviously love to hear from you.

The public is welcome to come listen to them at Sts Peter and Pauls on a Wednesday night at 7pm-8.30pm.

To book or join the band, contact Secretary John Kenny on 0434 989 253 or kiamapipeband@gmail.com
More info on their facebook page

by Perrie Croshaw

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