Armagh Pipers Club is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, having been founded in 1966. Dedicated to the development of traditional music, the Club has achieved worldwide acclaim, particularly for its innovative music education programme. APC has been in the forefront of producing teaching materials since the 1970s. Initially set up to promote the playing of uilleann pipes, the Club now caters for a wide range of instrumental music as well as singing. We attach great importance to the role of singing in music education. We encourage all our pupils to sing, beginning with the Tiny Tots singing class for 4-9 year olds who are introduced to music through songs and children’s games. This group is now involved in producing a book and CD of their songs. At 7 years they begin to play the tin whistle - due to the Pipers Club's promotion of tin whistle playing since the 1960s, the instrument is now firmly established in many a school curriculum. Intermediate and Advanced singing groups cater for older pupils who are building up a repertoire of songs in English, Irish, Scots Gaelic and Lowland Scots. Class work in singing is supplemented by monthly concerts and workshops given by top singers from Ireland & Scotland. A broad range of traditional instruments including flute, fiddle, harp, uilleann pipes, concertina and button accordion are taught to an advanced level, while singing continues to play a vital role. Age is no barrier to beginning music and there are flourishing adult classes for both fiddle and uilleann pipes. Regular weekly group lessons held in St. Patrick's Grammar School are augmented by master classes in singing and instrumental music held monthly in conjunction with the Trad at the Trian Concert series. The club's team of tutors are among the best traditional musicians in the north of Ireland, with vast experience both as teachers and performers. These include flute-players, Barry Kerr & Martin Meehan, pipers Eamonn Curran, Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn and Brian Vallely, harper Patricia Daly, fiddlers Caoimhín & Eithne Vallely, Thomas Smith and Carmel Toner, whistle players Louise Hughes, Linda Rooney and Conall Curran, concertina player Dara Vallely, banjo player Paul Meehan and accordionist Gerry Lappin. Rather than prepare young people for competitions, the Club encourages pupils to take London College of Music examinations. These provide recognised qualifications which are now accepted for university entrance points. To date over 20 musicians from the Club have achieved Grade 8 certificates in a range of instruments. APC has contributed to the promotion of traditional music through its publications, its teaching, both in Armagh and at numerous summer schools and festivals worldwide. This is particularly true in the case of uilleann piping, where Armagh has now the largest number of uilleann pipers in the north of Ireland. Throughout the 70s and 80s, the Club's range of tutor books and recordings helped to set many a musician on the right road, and are still in demand all over America, Australia and Europe. Armagh has a strong music-making community with the Club catering for musicians not only from Armagh but from all the surrounding counties - Monaghan, Tyrone, Louth, Down and Antrim. Some of the musicians who attended our classes in the past now have careers in the professional music circuit; others are contributing to the development as teachers, while many more enjoy their music- making at sessions. We have been delighted to welcome musicians from abroad who have come to live in Armagh. Piper and fiddler Paul Eliasberg and singer Thirza Mulder from The Netherlands have been living here for a few years now and their two children have been born here. Paul has taken over responsibility for the maintenance of websites for both the Pipers Club and the William Kennedy Piping Festival. 2005 they were joined by piper and pipe-maker, Joe Kennedy, who moved here with his family from Toronto. The Club’s major promotion, the William Kennedy Piping Festival, now in its 13th year, is a world-class event in the international folk music calendar and is organised on a voluntary basis by Club members. The Club embraces a wide range of music - from our own area to the wider Ireland, and from Scotland to the various countries whose musicians have shared their culture with us at WKPF. The Club has charitable status and is grant-aided by the Art Council for N.I. Musical links have been set up with Feis an Earraigh (Isle of Skye), Piping Live Festival (Glasgow), Rathlin Airs (Rathlin Island) and Open House Festival (Belfast). Music brings enjoyment to performers and listeners alike; it develops self-discipline and confidence, understanding and communication skills, and leads to lasting friendships.