Pipe Tunes by Thomas Fox Averill

See playlist for tunes below:

Since making a CD of pipe tunes in honor of my father, I've had occassion over the last several years to write more tunes, often by request, for family members.  I'd like to share those with whoever might be interested.

The Jen and Kerry
I had the privilege of being asked to play a recessional at the wedding of my niece Jennifer Jo Averill to Kerry Moffett, in August of 2005.  The wedding was outdoors, in a beautiful Vermont meadow, so the pipes had plenty of room to sound.

Ring On, Ring Off
This tune was written for Ellie Goudie-Averill in celebration of her transition from Lawrence to Iowa City, from an undergraduate dance program at the University of Kansas to the MFA program in dance at the University of Iowa.

My father-in-law died suddenly just two weeks before his 83rd birthday.  After a tough year of several deaths, I felt like I was reeling, and thought I should write a reel.  This tune came to me on October 15, 2005, Jim Goudie's birthday, and I wrote it down, then tried to learn it.

The Gift of Devin
When my niece Devin Goudie died in January of 2005, I played the pipes outside the church on the day of her funeral.  Inside, the choir sang one of her favorite songs, The Lord of the Dance.  I wanted to see how it might be translated to the pipes, and this is the result.

Wee Wilbur's Welcome
When my niece Jenny Jo Averill gave birth to Wilbur in August of 2006, I wanted to celebrate that event with her, with Wilbur, and with her husband Kerry Moffitt. I decided on a March, with some triplet variations.

* See below a poem by Jenny Jo written after a family gathering in March 2009.

Liliana's Fast One
When I played Wee Wilbur's Welcome at a Thanksgiving gathering, Liliana, the daughter of my nephew Paul Rosen and his wife Kerri Jackson, asked, "Where's my tune?" I told her I could write her one, but asked what it should be like. "It should be fast," she said. So I wrote a short jig for her.

The Jonah Henry
Jonah Henry Marley, born in December of 2006 in Jackson, Mississippi, was adopted in January 2007 by my niece and her husband, Rebecca and Dave Marley. So that meant two greatnephews around the same time, and another tune for celebration, this one a hornpipe.

The Dancing Sydney
In the spring of 2007 I was visiting my Texas inlaws, and took my small pipes along. Sydney Goudie, my niece, began to dance to a tune I was improvising, so I decided to write it out as a cross between a quick march and a reel.

A Sweet Rose by Another Name
My niece Trish Averill married Eric Neuteboom in October 2007, and asked me to play a recessional. I took my version of Burns' "Red, Red Rose," added a fanfare beginning, wrote variations, and composed another tune of family celebration.

University of Kansas: School Song and Fight Song
Pipers are in demand on St. Patrick's Day, and inevitably my alma mater, KU, is playing crucial basketball games. Once I realized the two tunes could be played on the pipes, I learned them to play in the bars after the big Topeka parade. Jayhawks love it, Wildcats (Kansas State University) hate it, but everybody is fascinated by hearing it on the pipes.

* This poem was written by Jenny Jo after a family gathering in Beverly, Massachusetts. I took my Walsh Shuttle Pipes (small enough to pack into my suitcase) and played "Wee Wilbur's Welcome" for Wilbur, "My Hala's Hornpipe" for Mahala Moffitt, born 11 September, 2008, and "The Jonah Henry" for Jonah Henry Marley, son of Dave and Rebecca (my niece).


The bagpipe music was spinning around you.
You couldn't dance.
You leaned against me in the chair,
chewing on your tongue as if hesitant,
in the presence of your feted great uncle,
who introduced you to pipes when you 
were less than two.  That day, we sat
in Kansas grass and he played
Amazing Grace, walked into the
backyard playing and you didn't smile,
just watched, your eyes set on his lips,
the bag, his knees under the kilt.
Last night, almost a year later,
your grandma's house redolent
with roasted beets, potatoes, 
and barbeque, he brought the small pipes
out of his suitcase and filled them with air,
the sound you had been waiting for.
You would swim in the notes if you could,
some kind of butterfly stroke.  After the
pipes went back upstairs, you were able 
to relax, laugh in your high chair about
the sound a raisin makes when it falls
on the floor, ask for just one more piece
of orange cake.  But your body was
still humming and when we got in the
car at the end of the night it was the first
story you told:  Uncle Tom said these bagpipes are 
quiet and then he played the bagpipes
, your eyes
unable to close, even with highway driving 
and rain all around.

--Jenny Jo Averill

Bagpipe tunes, August 2009

See playlist for tunes below:

Spike’s Low G Blues
            for  Mack (Paul McCullough Young)
In the Spring of 2008, my daughter, Eleanor Goudie-Averill, disappeared at a street fair in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, when we were there for a visit, and she returned with a metal sculpture of a bagpiper.  Spike—his head and body are shaped from a railroad spike—made me wonder if I could write a bagpipe blues.  I was also inspired to write a tune for Mack Young, son of Kate Tuttle and Kevin Young, who was born in September of 2006.  Spike’s Low G Blues is my attempt to work on the low G, which is not used often in the tunes I play, so the low G dominates this tune to give it a bluesy feel.

            for Bella (Isabella Jeanette Neuteboom)
My great niece Isabella was born in December of 2008.  The first phrase of her lullaby came to me while I was improvising on the small pipes at our cabin in the Pecos Wilderness area over the summer.  The rest of the piece followed with variations on the original phrase.  Welcome, Baby Bella!

My Hala’s Hornpipe
            for Mahala (Mahala Rebecca Moffitt)
My great-niece Mahala was born on 11 September 2008.  I wrote Wee Wilbur’s Welcome, a march, for her brother, so wanted a quick and lively tune for her.  I wrote this in the summer of 2008, and was able to play it for her and her family in March and July of 2009, when we had wonderful visits in Beverly, Massachusetts, and in Topeka over the 4th.

            for Mira (Jackson-Rosen)
My great-niece Mira, the newest addition to the family, was born to Paul Rosen and Kari Jackson in July 2009.  Her sister, Liliana, inspired the jig Liliana’s Fast One.This year I’ve been working on reels, so wanted to write something with the feel of a reel.


Tunes for Family and Friends 2010-2011

See playlist for tunes below:

            for Mark and Brandi Rosen
Mark and Brandi married in the summer of 2010, in Manhattan, Kansas. I tried for a harmony/seconds piece, since they are braiding their lives together. Thegither is dialect for together, and also suggests the gathering of families for weddings. I played small pipes during the reception after the ceremony.

The Samuel Tucker
            for Samuel Tucker
Rebecca and Dave adopted their second son, and Jonah became a big brother. Samuel Tucker Marley has a very special middle name, for Tucker Averill, who died in September of 2009.

The Ellie and Nicole
            a recessional for the wedding of Ellie Goudie-Averill and Nicole Donnelly
When Ellie and Nicole asked if I would play at their wedding, we were all in the mountains above Santa Fe together. When I woke up the next morning, the first part of the Ellie and Nicole was already in my head, ready to be played. The rest is variations on the theme, which is like marriage itself.

            for loyal listeners Chris & Kate, Bill & Brenna
When I practice pipes in the neighborhood Chris Steinkuehler and her daughter Kate often come to listen. And each 4th of July, after the Collins Park Parade, I go to Bill and Brenna's to play, eat lunch, and take a wee dram of single malt in their lovely back yard. Thanks to these listeners who let me know they love the sound of the pipes. This tune is for them all.

-As always, thanks to Steve Lerner for recording and mixing these tunes in his studio in Lawrence.  And thanks to the whole of my family, who inspire and appreciate these tunes.

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