Spanish Peaks Pipe Retreat: Sep 21-23, 2018

We’re pleased to announce that the 2018 edition of the Spanish Peaks Pipe Retreat will feature Joey Abarta as our uilleann pipes instructor! Joey is well-known nationally and internationally. He was featured in this year’s WGBH’s St. Patrick Day’s Celtic Sojourn. Dates for our retreat in the beautiful southern Rocky Mountain town of La Veta, CO are Sep 21-23. Stay tuned for more details, but get this on your calendar! For more about Joey see:

Joey Abarta & Owen Marshall

For instruction on Scottish smallpipes, Timothy Cummings will be returning following his introduction in 2017.  He was a big hit with both the Pipe Retreat and Celtic Harp Retreat participants last year and we’re so happy to have him return for 2018.  Timothy Cummings is a Vermont-based composer and multi-instrumentalist (chiefly a piper) who enjoys an uncommonly diverse repertoire.  His music spans from the contemporary and sacred to the traditional melodies of the British Isles, Appalachia, Cape Breton, Brittany, and beyond.  He is also a recording artist, writer, and publisher of piping music.

For more information on Tim, see:
Jerry O’Sullivan & Tim Cummings play Sandy Boys

The Spanish Peaks Pipe Retreat is sponsored by the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival (  This Festival has garnered a reputation for providing the best in traditional Celtic Music performance and instruction, and has featured such artists as:  The Old Blind Dogs, Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill, Eileen Ivers, Maire Ni Chathasaigh, Carlos Nunez, Jerry O’Sullivan, The Outside Track, Paddy Keenan, Alfredo Orlando Ortiz, Robbie O’Connell, Aine Minogue, Ed Miller and many more top performers in the Celtic music world.

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Spanish Peaks Pipe Retreat 2017 – Bigger and Better Than Ever!

The Spanish Peaks Piping Retreat is sponsored by the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival (SPICMF).  For the last 12 years, the SPICMF has brought the best of traditional and authentic Celtic music.  In addition to the best Celtic entertainment, the SPICMF places great value on education.  This is in the tradition of Celtic music festivals in Scotland and Ireland.  In addition to the evening concerts by top-tier Celtic artists, daytimes at the SPICMF are filled with numerous workshops.  For instance, if you’ve always wanted to try a harp or bodhran, there are one hour classes just for you.  Join other absolute beginners and give it a try, in a class taught by one of the featured musicians.  Also available are 1-2 hour workshops for fiddle, mandolin, penny whistle, Celtic dance, storytelling, and singing.  If you’d like to experience a real learning experience and meet other players, sign up for a 1-2 hour class and sharpen your skills.  These classes are often taught by internationally-acclaimed artists who will be performing in the evening concerts.
For a few fortunate musicians, the SPICMF sponsors both a Celtic harp retreat ( and a retreat focusing on non-Great Highland bagpipes (  Included in this category are: Scottish smallpipes, shuttle pipes, border pipes, kitchen pipes, etc.  These 2 retreats feature in-depth instruction for multiple days and feature top-tier artists.  Thus, the harp retreat and the piping retreat, are sponsored by the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival, and feature multi-day education.
Alternative pipers are cordially invited to the 2017 edition of the Spanish Peaks Pipe Retreat.  Our regular retreat, featuring top notch instruction in Scottish smallpipes (and other non-GHB pipes) features instructors Tim Cummings and Ben Miller.  As a special treat for 2017, uilleann pipers are invited to join for instruction by world-famous uilleann piper, Paddy Keenan!  Of Bothy Band fame, Paddy needs no introduction!  Paddy will be joined by Colorado’s own Dirk Mewes who will teach a workshop on uilleann pipe reed-making skills.  
Come to beautiful La Veta Colorado on Sep 22-24 for this unique experience with some of the best pipers in the world!!

Scottish Smallpipes Retreat Info


Piping Retreat Workshop: Video

 The Spanish Peaks Piping Retreat co-sponsored a one-day workshop and concert in Denver on Feb 25th.  EJ Jones, well-known professional bagpiper, and the Piper Jones Band, conducted the workshop with 16 in attendance.  Attendees came from as far away as Phoenix and Colorado’s Western Slope.  The day was spent learning some tunes and discussing the similarities and differences between highland bagpipes and Scottish smallpipes, focusing particularly on differences in the style of playing.  
Left to right in the video:  Wolf Loescher, percussion; EJ Jones, Scottish smallpipes; and Frances Cunningham, bouzouki.

This video features the Piper Jones Band playing a traditional tune from the type of traditional music known as “mouth music”.  Mouth music, or “music from the mouth” was frequently used for dancing when no instruments were available. Usually, the genre involves a single performer singing lighthearted, often bawdy lyrics, although these are sometimes replaced with meaningless words or phrases.
It was an informative and fun day and we look forward to the Spanish Peaks Piping Retreat to be held in La Veta, CO on Sep 22-24, 2017.  Smallpipes teachers for this retreat will be Ben Miller and Timothy Cummings.  Both Ben and Tim bring their unique backgrounds and styles of playing to the retreat.  Registration information will soon be posted, so keep an eye on this page.