Great Northern Irish Pipers Club
The Great Northern Irish Pipers' Club (GNIPC) is a non-profit organization that was formed in 2002 to meet the needs of the growing uilleann piping community in the metropolitan and greater Minnesota areas. Monthly meetings held the first Sunday of every month from 3-5pm at The Celtic Junction consist of instruction, maintenance and playing, are open members of all skill levels from beginners to advanced players. Every third weekend in May GNIPC holds a gathering pipers from the area (and all over the North America) for a three days of instruction, lectures and concerts which are led by visiting guest artists.
The uilleann pipes are a wholly-indigenous bagpipe of Ireland and is one of Ireland's two national instruments, the other being the harp. The word uilleann (pronounced ill-en) is Irish for elbow, reflecting that these pipes are powered by a bellows strapped under the player's arm. Its lineage can be traced back to the mid 1700s reaching its zenith in refinement of design and performance by the mid-1800s. Compared to the Scottish Great Highland Bagpipes, the Irish uilleann pipes (which could be considered a cross between an oboe and organ) play a greater range of notes and have a softer, sweeter tone.