Hudson River Pipers Club


A friendly group of pipers from the greater lower Hudson Valley area dedicated to playing and promoting the Irish Uilleann pipes. 

Club Members At 2011 Catskill Irish Arts Week

Club Members enjoyed both hot weather and hot piping at the 2011 Catskill Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY. Attending were Katie Carmen, Tracy Kingsley, Rich Wolff, Liam O’Neill, Jim Reilly. It was also a chance to catch up with piper friends from other Clubs for a few tunes and a few pints. Guest piping instructors were, above, Benedict Koehler, Ivan Goff and Michael "Blackie" O'Connell sharing duties at the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced classes. Each brought their own signature style of piping and teaching giving the students a well-rounded experience. After class they were found everywhere around town playing at various sessions, many of which ended with the sun well up in the sky. They also performed at the main concerts in the evening as part of larger groups. There was an abundance of younger pipers in the classes and at the sessions, boding well for the future. On Friday, the classes were suspended and all the piping students gathered together where Benedict, Ivan and Blackie performed individually and as a group. They also fielded questions and offered their opinions on different styles of playing, covering Rowsome, Reck, O'Flynn, the Doran's and others. It was an appropriate wrap up to a great week of piping instruction. Once again, CIAW delivered some excellent piping classes and great entertainment.


        Benedict Koehler, PHd, Reedology

Bill Keenan: Rest In Peace 

Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, the son of Leitrim born parents, Bill played the guitar for 40 years, mostly self-taught and by ear. For many years he wanted to get started on the uilleann pipes and finally did in August of 2006, with his first lesson with Bill Ochs, and later Jerry O’Sullivan. Shortly after, he joined our Club and was welcome from the first moment he came aboard. His enduring cheerfulness, positive attitude and his love for the pipes and the music made him equally welcome in any setting. He was happiest when he shared his love for the music with his wife Joanne, especially while enjoying the evening sessions and concerts in East Durham at the Arts Week and Tionols. It’s difficult to imagine not seeing him again but rather than remembering that he is gone we can keep our memories of him alive and let him live on through our collective love of the music. The Club expresses its deep sorrow and offers Joanne our support and prayers.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

“Bill was a great fellow, always charming and gracious to everyone.

Sharing a tall tale or quirk of the world over a pint with him

could turn out to be a wondrous adventure.  I'll miss Bill.”



Bill Remembered At Big Bronx Turnout

A great turnout of family, friends, fellow NYPD police officers and Club Members joined together at Kelly Ryan’s restaurant in the Bronx to celebrate Bill Keenan’s all-to-brief but happy and rewarding life with remembrances, stories, food, drink and, naturally, Irish music. A slide show in the background showed wonderful images of Bill, Joanne and all the children during happy times as a family and other photographs showing Bill in his US  Navy and later in his NYPD uniform. Bill’s son, Sean, spoke warmly and humorously about his Dad, toasts were offered, songs were sung , music cases were opened and out came the pipes and flutes and the room was filled with the music that Bill loved so much. Taking part in the session were, from left above, Dan MacNamara, Tracy Kingsley, Luke Powers, Liam O’Neill, Bill Ochs and Rich Wolff.

2010 East Coast Pipers Annual Tionol

Our Club had a strong showing at the East Coast Tionol the weekend of October 22, 24 at East Durham, New York.  Attending were Tacey Deyrup, Rich Wolff, Joe Leathem, Katie Carmen, Liam O’Neill, Bonnie Yancoskie and Jim Reilly. As usual, organizers had a top tier lineup of Piping instructors from the US and Ireland, featuring Gay McKeon, Tiarnan O Duinnchinn, Eamonn Dillon, Cillian Vallely, Benedict Koehler and Kara Doyle. Faces in the crowd: Debbie Quigley, Ivan Goff, Patrick Hutchinson and Michael Cooney. For the second year, organizers Skip Cleavinger and Suzanne Ward included a variety of workshops that have become very popular. For 2010 these included: Maintenance (Benedict); Styles (Gay); Regulators (Cillian); Airs (Tiarnan); Variations (Eamonn); Tone (Kara); Tuning (Benedict.) Gay McKeon gave a very informative presentation on the history of NPU as well as some details on upcoming initiatives. The Saturday Concert was outstanding with all instructors performing, along with top tier fiddlers Patrick Ourceau and Rose Conway Flanagan, who also ran fiddle classes and workshops. Of course, Sessions popped up all over and, in once case, apparently upstaged the Gavin Rooster who was clearing his throat getting ready to do his thing. Once again, High Fives to all the organizers for a great weekend in the best traditions of our Club’s Motto : “Ceol Ceili Craic!”


Above, Friend Of the Club Margaret Stalker. second left, from Toronto with  Club members Bonnie Yancoskie, , Rich Wolff, Joe Leathem and Katie Carmen.

Marquee Pipers Cillian Vallely, Gay McKeon and Tiarnan O Duinnchinn

Tiarnan getting acquainted with the Ourceau Quartet as Patrick and Julie show off the twin boys.

Evening Concert At O’Neill’s

Thanks to Member Liam O’Neill’s hospitality (and wife, Amy), we  enjoyed a group lesson and late Summer concert with Michael “Piper” Cooney followed by a session and house party at the O’Neill’s homestead in New Paltz, NY. Michael was joined by well-known guitar accompanist Pat Egan  performing at the evening concert, following the indoor class. During the class the group worked on The Colliers, both as a jig and a reel.

Here’s the group at Liam’s. Left to right, Jim Reilly, Katie Carmen, Garr Disalvo, Joe Leathem, Bonnie Yancoskie, John McAuliffe, Peter Haller, Michael Cooney, Rich Wolff, Bill Keenan, Liam O’Neill and Tracy Kingsley. Not pictured,  Members Tacey Deyrup, Dan McNamara and Erik van der Leeuw.

The Hudson River Pipers Club held its inaugural meeting almost five years ago in Piermont, NY, along the western shore of the Hudson River, north of New York City. Since then we’ve grown our membership to  some fifteen  pipers and we now hold our monthly gatherings in nearby Valley Cottage, NY. Our original group is still intact and we’ve welcomed many new pipers. We have  been extremely fortunate to have attracted as visiting teachers some of the very best pipers in the world; such All-Stars as Michael Cooney, Paddy Keenan, Jerry O’Sullivan, David Power, Cillian Vallely, Mattie Connelly, Ivan Goff, Bill Ochs, Martin McCormack and Tommy Martin. Our excellent “Teacher-in-Residence,” Club member Rich Wolff, lends his considerable musical talents to the group during the rest of our meetings. 

Members of the Club send their very best wishes and greetings to Pipers and Pipe Clubs around the world and extend an invitation to visit us at any Club events. We also welcome inquiries from interested pipers. The Club meets the first Saturday of each month, except during July and August as we normally attend the Celtic Irish Arts Week in East Durham, NY, and October when we usually attend the Northeast Tionol. If you are interested in joining us, please contact any HRPC member or e-mail Liam O’Neill, at, or Jim Reilly, at See our Links page for other Uilleann Piping websites.

Thank you for visiting The Hudson River Pipers Club.

Ceol    Ceili    Craic


      Blackie O’Connell, center, hanging out with Rich Wolff and NY piper

      Joanne Bierschenck at the Saturday CIAW Concert.