Southern California Tionól
November 21, 22 & 23

Review by Mr. Larry Dunn, SCUPC Treasurer

Featuring a truly outstanding line up of guest pipers and drawing attendees from far and near, the second annual Southern California Tionól, held November 21-23, 2003 was a truly memorable weekend. Held at the home of Gabriel and Eileen McKeagney in picturesque town of San Juan Capistrano, this year's tionól featured Kevin Rowsome, Benedict Koehler and Brian McNamara. The usual list of SCUPC suspects were joined by likes of Pat Cannady of Chicago, Nashville's own Lewis Blevins and a hearty contingent from Northern California, led by Ted Anderson, Conall O'Raghallaigh, pipemaker Michael Hubbert and the irrepressible Edmund Tunney. We were fortunate enough to have Kevin Rowsome in town for the week and were treated to a foretaste of things to come with Kevin performing solo at a Wednesday night concert at the Celtic Arts Center in Studio City. Kevin made good use of his time in town, touring Universal Studios and discovering the wonders of Costco and the 99-cent Store.

Friday kicked-off with Kevin teaching the first piping workshop in the afternoon, Benedict staked-out what would become his reed-making domain for the weekend while Brian recovered from the long flight in from Dublin. An opening-night party ensued, with much feasting, the odd tipple and playing of many tunes. The B sets were a-buzzing, with Pat Cannady's Koehler & Quinn set and Patrick D'Arcy's mighty Wooff set blazing away together. As the evening wore on into the wee hours (and the number of empty bottles steadily increased) there was much telling of tales and singing of songs until, at last, sleep came to limbs that had run wild.

Saturday morning found Misters Rowsome and McNamara conducting piping workshops of various levels throughout the day, while the long-suffering Mr. Koehler worked through a never-ending line of pipers with wobbly reeds and wonky drones. Midday included the traditional expedition to Señor Pedro's Tacos, where our guests were introduced to the wonders of authentic Mexican cuisine. I'm happy to report that the vast majority survived. Then it was back to Gabriel's for more piping.

The highlight of the weekend was Saturday night's concert. Much to my surprise and delight, Gabriel had spent a great deal of time and effort in the weeks prior to the tionól converting his garage into a concert venue. The results are spectacular, with the room looking more like the set of a network talk show than a place to store vehicles. Saturday night's program consisted of three major elements: piping, piping and more piping as performed by Kevin Rowsome, Benedict Koehler and Brian McNamara. No fiddles, no flutes, no whistles, no boxes and (praise be to God) no bodhráns, just uilleann pipes in the hands of master pipers. Playing to a full house ranging from hard-core piping junkies to first-timers, the audience was treated to some of the best piping I've ever heard. It was obvious to everyone with an eye or an ear that Kevin, Benedict and Brian are good friends who truly enjoy making music together-the results were no less than magical.

Sunday concluded with Kevin presenting a fascinating lecture on the Rowsome family and their long and august association with piping and pipe making. Before long, it was time to pack up and say farewell to friends old and new, and to bask in the glory of great weekend.

It would remiss of me not to thank those who made this year's tionól a success. To Kevin Rowsome, Benedict Koehler and Brian McNamara a huge thanks for being so generous with your time and talents. Our sincere appreciation to Ireland's Arts Council for sponsoring Kevin's flight. Many thanks Eileen and Gabriel McKeagney, for their amazing hospitality, hard work and the use of their lovely home. To my wife Linda for her help with registration, raffle tickets and the smoked salmon. To all the members of the SCUPC who helped organize the tionól, especially Patrick D'Arcy, Michael Eskin, Steve Farrell and Michael O'Donovan. Thanks also to all the attendees, those who traveled long distances in particular. Hope to see you all again next time!
Kevin Rowsome, while here for his teaching stint at the Southern California Tionól, made time to join some of the locals on Tuesday night 18/11/03 for a session. Kevin is accompanied here by the good doctor Lewis Blevins.
Kevin gave a concert at the Celtic Art Center while he was here. The first photo here is Larry Dunn presenting the show.

We had a nice welcoming party on Monday night for Kevin. I was lucky to enough to have had some nice tunes with him before the rest of the evenings welcoming comittee arrived.
On Friday we were able to squeeze in a class for people there early enough.
Benedict Koehler took the reedmaking inquisitors and showed them a thing or two. Here we see him playing some tunes on Lewis Blevins' Beehive set.
Pat Cannady came out to see us all the way from Chicago. It was great to have aome tunes in B with him and Michael Eskin on Friday night to get the weekend rolling. It was a treat to hear Pat play. Steve Prybil and Joey Abarta listening in.
Benedict and Kevin have some tunes in the reedmaking corner.
Chatting in the kitchen.
Larry and Linda Dunn once again raised the bar for collecting fees, donations and raffle ticket sales. A hearty thank you to both for doing such a great job.

The first class gets under way on Saturday morning. Kevin taking intermediates first and Brian taking beginners, then switching throughout the day.
Back out the reedmakers now for some enlightening discussions between Ted Anderson and Benedict Koehler.
Dave Collins and Michael Hubbert discuss their trades.
The three guest pipers getting their act together before the listening hoardes arrived.

Then to the concert. We left it up to Kevin, Brian and Benedict as to how the evening would run. They worked out a very nice format in which Kevin would get up by himself for a set of tunes and then be joined by both Benedict and Brian. It made for a wonderful evenings entertainment and some seriously tasty piping.
Here are a couple of shots of our youngest member, Brian McKeagney. He sat, content as could be, to the concert. He also demonstrated the pipes to many of us making sure that we knew who made his pipes, Alain Froment.
After the concert was the ideal opportunity to take the photo of allt he attendees. I'll get to naming these ladies and gents at some stage when I've returned to full health.
There was some time available on Sunday morning to continue with all the madness; reedmaking continueing in the garage.
Sunday morning also brought about Kevin's lecture on his family history.
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