Noel Pocock – Chairman
Noel took up the pipes in the early 1970s with the kind assistance of Peter Browne. His first teachers were Brian Gallahar and Pat Mitchell. It was in Bray that he was strongly influenced by the music of Martin Doyle and Noel Gallagher. Through Brian Gallahar he got to know Kathleen and Martin Rochford and through this friendship came his affinity with the music of East Clare. Noel’s other main influences on the pipes was the music of Séamus Ennis and Willie Clancy, but nowadays it’s almost every piper he hears.
Noel is a Dental Technician by profession and is employed as laboratory manager in the Dublin Dental Hospital. He is also a member of the Board of the DDH. A trade unionist all his working life, he is an elected National Trustee of SIPTU and a member of its National Executive Council. He served two terms on the Dental Council of Ireland and for ten years was on the Fitness to Practise Committee of the Council.
(Elected : 24 May 2014)
Sheila was born in Glasgow with family roots firmly entrenched in the Donegal Gaeltacht. She began playing music on tin whistle, then flute for several years, before getting a set of pipes at 16. Growing up in Glasgow, she received tuition from workshops at Scoil Gheimhridh Frankie Kennedy with Gay & Sean McKeon and at Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy with Tommy Keane and Mick O’Brien. Sheila credits NPU for continued support in her piping, having frequently travelled to Henrietta Street for tuition and help in maintenance of her pipes, especially from Gay McKeon. She plays chanters by Paddy Hyland and Benedict Koehler with a set by Gordon Galloway.
Sheila features on Na Píobairí Uilleann publications The Rolling Wave CD (A new generation of uilleann pipers) and Pipe Up DVDrom. At the beginning of 2014 Sheila released her first album The Friel Sisters along with her sisters Anna & Clare with whom she has played across Europe, America and in Asia. Along with teaching pipes she has performed at various tionóls, NPU events and at Cumann Píobaireachta Tharlach Mhic Suibhne events promoting uilleann piping in Donegal.
Outside of music, Sheila is a recent graduate from the University of Glasgow in Dentistry, practising in Scotland and is on the committee for the reformed Glasgow Dental Alumnus Association.
(Elected : 24 May 2014)
Danny McGreevy was brought up in a music loving household in Downpatrick, Co.Down.
His first involvement with music was with the local pipe band, whose pipe major and tutor was his father, Patsy. Later, he went on to play with the award winning Thomas Davis Pipe Band based in Newry, Co. Down.
His interest in traditional Irish music began when his mother, Madeleine, bought him a tin whistle. It was in B flat as she thought it looked more like a chanter in size!
While a student at Queen’s University, Belfast, Danny first heard the piping of Liam O’Flynn and Paddy Moloney, and determined to make the transition from piob mor to piob uilleann. By good fortune, pipe maker Robbie Hughes had moved to the Downpatrick, and from him, Danny acquired a practice set. Through Robbie and Ken Mc Leod, Danny became aware of, and mesmerised by the piping of Seamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome and Tommy Reck.
Over the years, Danny had become proficient on a number of musical instruments and played in various traditional groups. He was also a founder member of the renowned Downpatrick Folk Music Club, and spent many years in the promotion and presentation of the best in traditional music, perhaps to the detriment of his personal development as a musician in general, and piper in particular.
In the early 2000’s Danny decided to focus on the pipes in an attempt to become a piper, rather than someone who could “play” tunes on the pipes. He sought out other pipers and through his good friend Tom Clarke, was introduced to NPU At his first Tionól, a workshop session with Jimmy O’Brien-Moran, gave him immense encouragement.
At the Willie Clancy Summer School, Danny enrolled in a beginner’s class, under Mick O’Brien, with the aim of “de-constructing” and “re-constructing” his piping, and since then has availed of the wonderfully generous tuition of many of the great pipers associated with NPU
A former teacher and lawyer, since retiring from the law in 2007, Danny has concentrated on teaching traditional music, running Rath Celtair Folk Music Club, and striving to become a “piper”.
(Elected : 23 May 2015)
My first memory of uilleann pipes was in Grange Con, Co. Wicklow during a 2 year family sojourn in Ireland from the age of 10.I acquired a set of Crowley highland pipes in 1964 and started playing with an Irish pipe band here in St. Louis. It wasn’t until the acquisition, in 1965 of 3 LP records of uilleann piping that I finally had more than a memory of the uilleann pipes. But with the closest uilleann piper I could find being “some fireman in Chicago” 300 miles away, only dreaming was possible. Finally in 1986, I was put on to Jerry O’Sullivan who gave me onto Eugene Lambe, and a set was ordered.
With great good fortune, Michael Cooney was in St. Louis at the time and kindly provided tutoring and help with reeds which were, and still are, notoriously fickle in the Midwest climate. Through Michael an introduction to Alain Froment was effected and B set and D chanter were obtained while attending the Templemore Tionól in 1999.
In 1998, Michael Cooney and I got together and decided to start the St. Louis Tionól which is just completed its 18th year.
Retirement in 2006 allowed visits to Ireland and other Tionóil in the US and most importantly provided time for practice and playing. And, as if the music were not sufficient, retirement has included board positions with several not-for-profit organizations.
One of my great sources of pride is having a granddaughter who plays the harp. A daughter and a son have also taken up the pipes and, in addition, I’m privileged to have 4 students in St. Louis who all provide a constant source of inspiration.
(Elected : 23 May 2015)
Kieran O’Hare was born in Kansas, and took up the uilleann pipes in his early teens, with early guidance from piper and pipemaker Kirk Lynch. His early years of playing were spent largely in the company of the recordings of Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Leo Rowsome, Paddy Moloney, and Liam O’Flynn, all of whose piping remain continuing influences.
While attending university in Dublin in the early 1990s, Kieran received great support and encouragement at Na Píobairi Uilleann, notably from Seán Potts, Seán Donnelly, Joe Doyle, Terry Moylan, Andy Conroy, and Nollaig Mac Cárthaigh. It was during these years that he was privileged to receive perhaps the single most influential guidance, in the form of countless hours spent playing with and learning from Gay McKeon. Kieran began teaching the pipes at NPU at this time, and continues to be an active teacher and promoter of the uilleann pipes. As a piper, he has performed around the world through his work in theatre and music performance.
Kieran plays a concert pitch set of pipes by Cillian Ó Briain, and flat sets by Andreas Rogge and Joe Kennedy.
(Elected : 23 May 2015)
Sorcha Potts, born in Dublin is a daughter of Sean Potts and sister of Sean Óg Potts.
She began learning the whistle at a very young age and later the flute. She joined NPU in 2009 and began learning the Uilleann Pipes in 2011. She is also a very keen sports person with particular interest in Gaelic Football. Sorcha became actively involved in the fundraising for NPU and was elected to the board of NPU 2013.
(Elected : 28 May 2016)
Rick Lines is Co-Chair of the South Wales Uilleann Pipers Club. He started learning the pipes in 1995 in his home city of Toronto under the tutelage of Debbie Quigley, before relocating to Ireland, London and finally Wales.
Rick has 30 years of professional experience working in charities in Ireland, Canada and the UK, including at chief executive level, and brings to the Board a range of related skills. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Law at Swansea University.
Rick has been a member of NPU since the late 1990s, and is a regular contributor to An Piobaire. He plays historic sets of pipes made by the Taylor Brothers (c. 1880) and Malcolm MacGregor (c. 1810). In addition to uilleann piping, Rick is a member of Côr Meibion Morlais Welsh male voice choir and recently started learning the pibau cyrn (Welsh pipes).
(Elected : 25 May 2019)
Caoimhín Mac Aoidh
Caoimhín Mac Aoidh was born in Philadelphia into a musical family on both of his parents’ sides. He began playing whistle at an early age and later took up the fiddle under the influence of his paternal relation, Vincey McLaughlin of Ballymaguigan, County Derry. Upon hearing John Doherty in his late teens he became an avid follower of Donegal traditional music.
Though right handed, he plays pipes left handed. His early attempt at playing a right handed practice set of pipes in the late 1970s required turning the bag upside down and connecting to the bellows with a garden hose around his back. It was an abject failure. Acquiring pipes, and particularly left handed instruments, at that time was problematic. Years later through the great kindness of Martin McIntyre of Letterkenny, he managed to obtain a marvellous B flat left handed set of Martin’s manufacture.In 2016 he was commissioned to compose a six movement suite for solo uilleann pipes commemorating the life of Eamonn Ceannt.
He is a founder member of Cumann Píobaireachta Tharlaigh Mhic Shuibhne which promotes uilleann piping in County Donegal. Caoimhín regularly played B flat McIntyre set duets with the late Billy Finn and regards Robbie Hannan, Paul Harrigan, Ciarán Mac Fheidhlimídh, Maurice Bradley and Jerry O’Sullivan as important influences.
(Elected : 25 May 2019)
Peter Browne was born in Dublin in 1953 and commenced playing traditional music at the age of 6. He learned music from three of the great pipers of modern times; Séamus Ennis, Leo Rowsome and Willie Clancy and in his youth attended many of the major traditional music events of the time with his family and frequently visited Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, home of Willie Clancy and Lisheen, Gneeveguilla, Co Kerry staying in the home of Denis Murphy the famous Sliabh Luachra fiddle player.
In the early 1970’s he played with the groups Raftery and 1691 – a forerunner of The Bothy Band and later spent two periods playing on both pipes and flute with The Bothy Band. He made two albums of music and song in the 1980’s together with Philip King on the Gael-Linn label – Rince Gréagach and Seacht Nóiméad Déag chun a Seacht.
His work as a session musician included contributing to recordings by Paul Brady, Maura O’ Connell, Mary Black, Mick Hanley, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, Scullion and Cór Chúil Aodha and he has also been part of various ventures in modern experimental music, playing works by Bill Whelan, Michael Holahan, Roger Doyle and Paddy Meegan. He featured as soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra and with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra on their 1998 tour of North America and in the series Music in the Classroom. He was the soloist with the Ulster Orchestra in a performance in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on St Patrick’s Day 2001 of The Brendan Voyage by Shaun Davey and has played the same work with the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland. He has twice been the winner of the Oireachtas uilleann-piping in 1994 and 1998 and also won the prize for slow-air playing in both those years.
He worked for over 40 years in RTÉ Radio One with a special interest in traditional music and his weekly programme The Rolling Wave enjoyed a large listenership in Ireland and abroad. He also presented and produced programmes such as Sounds Traditional, Áirneán, Céilí House and in the late 1970s presented The Long Note. Noteworthy broadcast projects included researching, presenting and producing series of documentary programmes on the lives and music of famous traditional players such as Séamus Ennis, Willie Clancy, Pádraig O’ Keeffe, Denis Murphy, Paddy Cronin, Peter Horan, Elizabeth Crotty and the 19th century traditional music collector Canon James Goodman.
He also produced a series of commercial CD’s for RTÉ featuring rare traditional music recordings from the RTÉ Sound Archives: The Return from Fingal – early archive recordings of the piper Séamus Ennis, Music from Sliabh Luachra – Denis Murphy, The Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master – Pádraig O’Keeffe, Elizabeth Crotty – Concertina Music from West Clare, Labhrás Ó Cadhla, Amhráin ó Shliabh gCua, The Gold Ring, featuring the uilleann piping of Willie Clancy and Tuning the Radio, a collection of early (1940s) recordings made for Raidió Éireann by the MRU Mobile Recording Unit.
(Co-opted 15 November 2019)