Your awesome instructors

We’re thrilled to announce our instructors for this year’s retreat! Joining our merry crew are Michael Roddy (Scottish smallpipes) and Will Woodson (Uilleann pipes).

Michael Roddy — Scottish smallpipes

An Upstate New York native, Michael Roddy currently lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For nearly 30 years he has been developing a unique blend of Scottish and Irish piping styles. Michael’s ability to move comfortably between Highland piping and bellows piping, pipe bands and folk bands, Uilleann pipes and whistles has led him to be a sought after teacher and performer. His soon-to-be-released tune book, The Flatrock Collection, will feature a wide range of the music that has influenced his playing style, as well as many new compositions.

Michael tours with the trio Arise & Go, who released their debut full length album in 2019. Since then, the band has been featured in Irish Music Magazine, Roots Music Canada, the Boston Irish Reporter, and on several of National Public Radio’s Thistle & Shamrock broadcasts.

Michael Roddy man in red and black checked shirt outdoors holding Scottish smallpipes

In addition to piping, Michael works as a choral conductor and has also written and arranged a number of works for pipes and orchestra. The collaboration of his folk and classical backgrounds is one way in which he hopes to bring the pipes to a wider audience.

Will Woodson — Uilleann pipes

We are delighted to welcome Will Woodson back to the Spanish Peaks Piping Retreat. He last joined us as a Scottish smallpipes instructor way back in 2014!

An East Coast native, Will lived in Glasgow and New York City before moving to Portland, Maine, where he’s quickly grown to become a stalwart of the thriving Irish traditional music scene around New England. On the Uilleann pipes, Will is inspired by the Irish-American tradition of pipers, such as Patsy Touhey, Michael Carney, Bernard Delaney, and Michael Gallagher. On the flute, he’s heavily influenced by the music of the older generations of North Connacht flute players, particularly those who recorded in America in the 1920s and 30s.

Will toured extensively with the band Daymark and these days performs with his duet partner, fiddler Caitlin Finley. In 2019, the two released an album, “The Glory Reel,” accompanied by Chris “Junior” Stevens. Over the course of the pandemic, Will and Caitlin produced a regular online video series, “The Phonograph Project,” featuring music drawn from Irish musicians recorded in America in the 1920s and ’30s. Will has taught and performed at a number of music festivals and summer schools in North America, including the Boxwood Festival and The Pipers’ Gathering. When he’s not performing and teaching, Will keeps busy as a maker of Uilleann pipes. You can find more about Will and his musical collaborations with Cait online.