Southern California Spring Tionól
David Power
March 30, 31 & April 1

Well, there we were, cursing ourselves and lamenting the fact that David Power had slipped the surly bonds of New Jersey and headed back to Dungarvan, ending his three years of exile in North America without a trip to Southern California. But as that door closed, a window opened in the form of an e-mail from our friends at the New Zealand Uilleann Pipers Association, indicating that David would be touring New Zealand with a possible stop-over in Los Angeles. Needles to say we jumped on the opportunity to correct our oversight. Flights were scheduled, wires transferred, plans made.

As the dust settled, David manifested himself at LAX on March 29th, after two weeks in Kiwi-land, a bit jet-lagged but otherwise none the worse for wear (apart from the near drowning in the Tararua River, but that's a story for another day). Indifferent to the fact that David had just crossed 16 time zones, we dragged him over to Michael O'Donovan's for a reviving feast of roast pork and spuds (with the odd drop of wine for good measure). Due to scheduling conflicts, the Thursday night dinner was the only opportunity the club stalwarts O'Donovan and D'Arcy would have to interact with our esteemed guest and they took full advantage. Stories were told, tunes were played, the crack was mighty.

Fortified by a good night's sleep and a breakfast of home-made waffles (thanks Linda!) we eventually made our way down to sunny San Juan Capistrano to that oasis of legendary hospitality, the home of Eileen and Gabriel McKeagney. In addition to most of the usual suspects, we were delighted to be joined by John Ward, Joe Perry and Mark Stevenson of the Salt Lake City Pipers Club as well as Gabriel's parents, who were visiting from Fermanagh. The usual Friday night party ensued, with the lads from the SLCPC demonstrating a knowledge and appreciation of distilled spirits that quite exceeded expectation. Tunes and tomfoolery went on into the wee hours. It was reported that someone actually went to bed with their bellows still strapped on, but I'll not name names.

With bagels for strength and strong coffee to aid cognition, we got down to business on Saturday morning, with David putting the beginners through their paces. Breaking for lunch, the obligatory pilgrimage to Señor Pedro's was undertaken, introducing David to the wonders of an authentic taco. Our bellies filled with carnitas and carne asada, we headed back to Gabriel's for more workshops, with David teaching the intermediate and advanced players a lovely tune, "The Hare in the Corn" (no, not the one you're familiar, a different tune altogether). As the sun set, we gathered for the Saturday night concert, with David making his mighty Froment C set sing; speaking of singing, David surprised and delighted us with a couple of songs, including a very nice rendition of "Seán O'Dwyer of the Glenn." David's performance was complemented with a story from Johnny McKeagney (Gabriel's father), which inspired much of the crowd, as there was great deal of "gurgle-gurgle-gurgle" heard coming from the bar for the rest of the evening. A post-concert session ensued, with a lively showing from the San Diego contingent. Once again, the fun continued into the wee (and not-so-wee) hours, with some people being served breakfast before they went to bed.

Despite 48 hours of sleep deprivation, David managed to teach two full workshops on Sunday. I think I heard the strains of "Garrett Barry's" coming from the beginners, while the more advanced pipers were taught how to take back "O'Farrell's Welcome to Limerick" from a session chestnut to the truly great tune that it is. The official activities for the weekend completed, David and I headed back to my house for some well-deserved rest, to find Linda waiting for us with a freshly barbequed tri-tip, followed by macerated strawberries for desert; as Rachael Ray would say, "yum-o!" It was fitting way to finish a truly delightful weekend.

Many thanks to all who made our Spring Tionól possible, including Sean Connolly and Peter Egli of NZUPA; our friends at NPU; Linda Dunn, Pat D'Arcy and Michael O'Donovan; Chadd Ferron for recording the concert; Fel Bautista (please!) our photographer; Victor Fitzsimmons and his friends at Diageo, who kept us in Harp, Smithwicks and Guinness and to Nicholas Bartlett who kept things tidy all weekend, which is no mean feat. Special thanks go to Gabriel and Eileen McKeagney and their family (three generations!) for their sincere and unceasing hospitality and, of course, to David Power himself, who so generously shared his time, talent and friendship.

Respectfully submitted,

Larry Dunn
Secretary and Benevolent Oligarch,
These first 18 photos are from Fel Bautista: Brian McKeagney shows David his Alain Froment 'F' set.
David has a closer look.
Pipes abound!
Ronan McKeagney practicing the bellows.
Classroom shenanigans!
Learning away.
In class.
David Power in concert.
Session after the concert.
Fiddliers a fiddlin'.
Eilleen McKeagney and Johnny McKeagney.
David's Alain Froment C set in ebony, ivory and nickle silver with an additional A drone.
And to round off.... some photographs of Larry Dunn. Larry, are these lads from Utah by chance? :)
David plays the fiddle for Larry.
Larry having a pint.
Larry getting his posolé at Señor Pedro's.
The group shot featuring Larry Dunn.
Back row (from the left): Gabriel McKeagney, Mark Stevenson, David Power, Jamie Case, Steve Pribyl, Johnny McKeagney.
Front row (from the left): Dave Collins, Fel Bautista, Chadd Ferron, Larry Dunn, John Ward, Joe Perry.
The remainder of these photos were taken by Gabriel McKeagney: Dave Collins, Fel Bautista and Steve Pribyl on their Michael Hubbert, Martin Preshaw and Koehler & Quinn sets.

David and the lads playing tunes galore after what looks like a rough night ;)

The concert.
Chadd Ferron recorded the concert.

Now a few more of Larry, just for safe measure :)
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