Piobaireachd in Pittsburgh at the Jimmy McIntosh MBE Workshops


The Pittsburgh Piping Society in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University will host the second Jimmy McIntosh MBE Piobaireachd Workshop from February 9 to 11, 2024.  The workshop will be held in the Cohon University Center at Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Instructors will be Mike Cusack, Amy Garson and Andrew Carlisle.   

The weekend will begin with a scheduled Evening of Piping on the Friday evening at 7:30pm with the Pittsburgh Piping Society, the charity which the Jimmy McIntosh MBE Piobaireachd Scholarship is a part of.  The Pittsburgh Piping Society was founded in 2014 by well-known pipers Andrew Carlisle, Palmer Shonk and Nick Hudson as a venue for pipers of all abilities and backgrounds to come together to perform in front of one another in an encouraging environment (informal – no kilts/uniforms required).  The current PPS location takes place at a live music venue, recently converted from an old, restored movie theatre in Squirrel Hill, 5 minutes’ drive from campus, the facility is owned and managed by the adjacent Squirrel Hill Sports Bar; therefore, any minors attending need to be accompanied by a parent.  A typical evening consists of pipers of all abilities who would like to play – each performing for around five minutes.  To close the night, there is always a featured piper, who plays a longer selection for the assembled group, including a piobaireachd. 

Saturday, there will be a morning and afternoon workshop on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University.  At the close of the Saturday afternoon session, the two Jimmy McIntosh MBE Scholarship recipients for 2023, Anthony Rossi of New Jersey and Ray Flanagan of Michigan, will perform one of their new piobaireachds in a short recital.  On Saturday evening, there will be an informal gathering at the nearby Goodlander cocktail bar in Pittsburgh on Saturday night, where pipers can socialise and share some informal tunes.  

Sunday morning will conclude the workshop (09:30-12:30), again at Carnegie Mellon University.  

Logistics: Travel and accommodation will be up to the individuals attending to source.  There are many hotels and Airbnb’s close to Carnegie Mellon University.  For those needing to fly, the closest airport is Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).  There is a paid parking garage next door to the Cohen University Center where the workshops will take place and an outdoor parking lot across the street off Morewood Avenue (this one is free after 5pm on weekdays and at weekends).  A boxed lunch will be included on the Saturday to save time between classes. There are also multiple places at the Cohon University Center to purchase meals, drinks and snacks each day (the same building as workshops). 

Cost for the weekend workshop is $140.00 and can be paid through PayPal on our registration form here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/729419462247?aff=oddtdtcreator  

To be eligible to register, we ask that students are already able to play at least one piobaireachd on the bagpipe.  No competition experience is necessary; however, we are expanding this year to include Grade Four competitors and novice piobaireachd enthusiasts.  We will consider a limited number of needs-based discounts for pipers wishing to attend but cannot afford the full cost of the workshop. 

Weekend Schedule (approximate)

Friday, February 9

Afternoon / Early Evening – Arrive in Pittsburgh 

Evening – 7:30pm – Pittsburgh Piping Society – Squirrel Hill Sports Bar’s (adjacent theatre). [5 minutes from campus] Opportunity for all pipers to perform. https://www.facebook.com/PittsburghPipingSociety/

Saturday, February 10

All Day Workshop – 9:00am – 5:00pm – Carnegie Mellon University – instructors Mike Cusack, Amy Garson and Andrew Carlisle. 

The workshops will take place in two formats: 

Masterclass – students will perform on the bagpipe for an instructor and receive constructive feedback.  These will take place in McConomy Auditorium

Classroom – classes where students will learn new music around the table on practice chanters.  These will take place in the Danforth Conference Room, Caffee, and the Pipes and Drums Office / “band room.”

All workshop rooms will be located in the same building, The Cohon University Center. 

Late afternoon (circa 4:00pm – Anthony and Ray will perform a piobaireachd each as part of a short informal recital in McConomy Auditorium. 

Evening – 8:00pm – Informal gathering at the nearby Goodlander cocktail bar in Pittsburgh, where pipers can socialize and share some informal tunes. Location is 5 minutes from campus.

Sunday, February 11

Morning Workshop – 9:30am – 12:30pm Carnegie Mellon University – instructors Mike Cusack, Amy Garson and Andrew Carlisle. (Same format and locations as Saturday).

Further information can be found on our website: https://pittsburghpipingsociety.org/scholarship/jimmy-mcintosh-scholarship-workshop/