Traverse City Record-Eagle

April 5, 2013

Northumbrian smallpiper plays area show

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — ACME — Most people are familiar with the Great Highland Bagpipe, but piper Dick Hensold will play the Northumbrian smallpipe Wednesday night when he performs at the Williamsburg Theater.

And that’s a good thing, too.

The Great Highland Bagpipe native to Scotland is loud, can’t be tuned and is typically played alone or with a band made up of Great Highlands, said Peter Deneen, East Junior High band director and a member of the Grand Traverse Pipes and Drums.

Smallpipes are smaller, can be tuned and are made to play indoors.

Hensold is considered one of the foremost North American smallpipe players. The full-time, freelance musician from Minnesota specializes in early music, traditional music from Scotland, Ireland and Northumberland, along England's northeast border with Scotland. He also plays Nordic folk and Cambodian traditional music and is part of a four-piece traditional Cambodian ensemble and several other folk groups.

An active composer and clinician, he is principal composer and arranger for the Celtic-oriented quartet Piper's Crow, and has taught Northumbrian smallpipes at workshops in the United States, Canada and Northumberland. He also is a studio and theater musician.

In 2006 he received a Bush Artist Fellowship, the highest artist grant in the Upper Midwest. He released his solo CD, "Big Music for Northumbrian Smallpipes," in 2007.

Bagpipes are ancient instruments. Some of the earliest are pictured in Egyptian hieroglyphics, said Stephen MacNeil, a professional Great Highlands piper on the staff at Henderson Imports, an online bagpipe shop based in Traverse City that sells several varieties to customers around the world.

The Scottish Great Highland Bagpipe became known worldwide as the British Empire expanded and included Highland regiments into its military during the 1800s.

Hensold's solo instrumental concert will feature the Northumbrian smallpipes, a quiet pipe; the reel pipe, an indoor version of the Scottish Highland pipes intended for Scottish dance music; the seljefloyte (Norwegian willow flute); the Swedish sackpipa; and the pibgorn, a Welsh hornpipe.

The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 at the door and $15 in advance at Oryana Natural Foods Market, Brilliant Books and West Beverage in Traverse City; Ace Hardware in Acme; and at the Stained Glass Cabinet in Williamsburg. For tickets or more information, call 938-2181 or 941-8667.