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Celtic Arts Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Dance, Music

Mission: The Celtic Arts Foundation''s mission is to sponsor, encourage and promote Celtic culture through events and educational activities. We entertain and inspire.

Target demographics: the Celtic Community

Geographic areas served: Washington State

Programs: The Skagit Valley Highland Games in a Celtic festival which attracts over 10,000 people each year in Mount Vernon, WA. We feature bagpipe bands, Highland dancing, traditional Scottish athletic events, arts and craft vendors, folk music, and much more.

Community Stories

72 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation fosters the music, dance, and cultural traditions of Celtic peoples in the Pacific Northwest. People from all cultural heritages are invited to participate in the events, including the annual Highland Games at Mt. Vernon, the first full weekend of July. Everyone is welcome, and there's no clan "snobbery". The staff consists primarily of volunteers, united by an affinity for the art created and events produced.

For a really good time, attend a CAF event. Expect to be welcomed to an experience you will never forget.



Review from Guidestar

1 Tina31

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for the Celtic Arts Foundation, because a coworker asked if I wanted to help at their big event, which is the Highland Games. I was hooked after that, because I discovered a group of people that are some of the best people I have ever met. The organization is well run and they help keep the traditions and heritage of the Celtic community alive. I will be a life long volunteer and supporter of this wonderful organization that brings so much culture and diversity to our community.

Review from Guidestar

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation is exceptional. The organization maintains its mission as its north star and is steady in ensuring that the mission is carried out in a variety of ways to meet people of all ages. The range of programs, from the beautiful concerts at Benaroya Hall is Seattle, to the Highland Games in Mt. Vernon to the educational programs, the organization is committed to broadening its reach and serving more and more people in a financially sound manner.

Very notable is executive leadership. The executive director, Skye, has core values that have been instrumental in growing this organization: commitment, creativity, celebration, fun, financial stewardship and lifelong learning. As a leader, he continues to study and learn better/best nonprofit management practices to ensure that the organization, the board and staff grow with the changing times.

It is inspirational to watch the Celtic Arts Foundation grow to meet interests and needs. Building a center that will serve communities is a bold step that requires leadership --which is in place and a growing support base. I have watched the organization grow and thrive over many years and encourage others to support it through volunteerism, membership and financial support and of course, attending the many programs and services offered throughout the year.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been involved with the Celtic Arts Foundation for more than 10 years as a piping instructor at the Winter School. The school has many strong points in that it attracts a large number of pipers, drummers, fiddlers, smallpipers to the school. It also boasts what can only be described as a truly world-class faculty in every discipline. People in Scotland are amazed when you tell them the names of the instructors.......all at the one school!

However, this can only come to fruition with the C.A.F. doing its job, and the organisation leaves no stone unturned to make sure that every tiny detail is taken care of, often above and beyond the call of duty. This for me not only demonstrates efficiency, but more than anything I have seen a huge commitment to encouraging the arts in this part of the world. A real labour of love, typified by Skye Richendrfer, to name but one.

I can already see the fruits of that in the improvement of students every time I attend the school.

In July, I visited Mount Vernon, as part of a trip to judge at the Skagit Valley Highland Games, which was a fantastic event run by the CAF. What a great part they play in the community by running this major event. The fact that people travel huge distances is testament to how well run and popular the games are. Part of that trip involved seeing for myself the new CAF building and the Littlefield Centre. It was great to see it in the flesh and see the plans for the extension currently taking place. Another triumph!

This is a great organisation to support, and you can see from the great many reviews how important it is to the community.

Willie McCallum

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Celtic Winter School was a fantastic experience that I am grateful to have had. I not only got to learn great tunes from interesting, engaging, and friendly instructors, but also met many other people from all backgrounds who share a common interest. One of the most remarkable things I was a part of was the Ceilidh that took place in a common room. The room was filled with music, from fiddlers, smallpipes, drummers, and even non-instrumentalists who clapped and sang. We played music deep into the night, with a fire to keep us warm, far past midnight, entranced by the music and the sheer joy of playing together. CAF is an organization that has offered truly indescribable and wonderful programs, and I very much hope they are able to continue.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

As an adult learner, I began taking bagpipe lessons four years ago. My second year, my pipe instructor suggested that I might benefit from attending the Celtic Arts Winter School. To say that I have "benefitted" from this experience is an understatement. I will be attending for the FOURTH time this coming February, and am just as excited as I was the first time I went! In my humble opinion, the quality of instruction is second to none. Anywhere in the world. This group of pipers is the best of the best. Besides the fantastic level of instruction, the knowledge gained by the "total emersion" situation we students experience is awesome. We eat, think, and play music for a whole week.....We learn, we play our instruments, we ask questions, and we play some more. Everyone from the students to the staff to the pipe instructors are so supportive and helpful. Their goal is for us to learn and get better, and enjoy what we do!! I can't thank the Celtic Arts Society enough for all of the hard work that goes into putting this school on every year. They work hard so we as students will benefit from the best experience possible. Sincerely, Nancy Menefee

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation has done a tremendous job in promoting Celtic music and culture. At the very least, I participate in the CAF's Winter School held in February of every year. I have been attending this workshop as a bagpiper for 10 years and plan for this event more than I do for Christmas. It has become an annual pilgrimage for me and the school has had participants from across the nation (even a few international students). The foundation is well organized, focused and effective at achieving its goals. The leadership at CAF is outstanding and the support staff are committed and productive.

As a musician and a lover of Celtic culture, I am very happy to have an organization like CAF around.

David MacDonald
Vallejo, CA

Review from Guidestar

Pamela90

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first came to the valley in May 2001, I knew no one and had no family in the immediate area. With my Scottish last name someone suggested that I should volunteer for the Highland Games. I did hoping I would make some friends. I had no idea I would find a family. I have volunteered for many groups over the years but never for 13 years - with no end in sight. Often with volunteers you get what you pay for but not with this group. It is the hardest working but fun-loving group of which I have had the privilege to be part. A big part of the success of this group is due to the leadership of the director Skye Richendrfer. He expects nothing of the volunteers he is not willing to do himself.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am most pleased to be a part of this group for two reasons: (1) I am of Scottish heritage and enjoy the Celtic culture they provide to our entire community. This is a source of great enjoyment and building pleasant relationships with many people we would not otherwise have any contact. (2) The vision and energy this group has to build a center will greatly enhance our community, not only to extend the culture opportunities, but to provide meeting/ event space that will benefit everyone.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

To say that the Celtic Arts Foundation is a great Non-Profit would be a huge understatement in my mind. I have been an instructor with their program for over 10 years now and I have also had the good fortune of being a student of the small pipes one year. This has given me a chance to see the school run from both sides of the table.
I know that the Foundation runs several events but I will speak to what I am familiar with and that is the winter music school held each year in February.
A program like this takes a tremendous amount of time from volunteers and money raised through fundraising so that the fees for students themselves can be reasonable enough. This foundation provides upwards of 10 separate scholarships to deserving musicians each year, for a variety of reasons, best student, or hardest working, or people that are recognized by the staff very "quietly" that need a little financial help themselves.
The team of people that run this particular event are heart and soul in it 100% and this makes being a member of the faculty a great joy.
But every non profit is there for a specific reason. It can be to raise money for something, be it a childrens team trip to an important game, to the never ending cost of research needed to cure any of the terrible diseases in this world, or to advance one's personal well being as I like to call it.
When folks are working hard during school, or University, or in their busy careers, the chance to pursue an art form for a couple of weeks each year is important to recharge their systems. When the program is good, the people leave happy, plain and simple.
Each year on the final day when we pull out of the parking lot, there are a lot of sad faces in the crowd as this is now a yearly institution for many people. The Celtic Arts Foundation Winter School stands for promoting excellence in Celtic Arts, and does it's best to get the very best people they can to be involved. From volunteer workers helping out , to the staff running the logistics, to bringing in the best musician teachers that the world currently has to offer everything is done to the best potential possible and the students take note.
The foundation is also open and honest in letting people know that they need help, they need support to make this work, but what they spawn here is a very viral good feeling among others.
I"m fortunate enough to teach many of the students here individually and everyone looks forward to "winter school" as it's affectionately called, and during the other 11 months, they are out playing gigs, promoting the arts and "paying it forward" themselves.
I myself run a charity in Canada and part of what I see with the people here working together to build a bigger better music community, has helped to inspire me to build a bigger better music community here. The result : those people that have a good time and receive help, more often than not want to help others, which I am happily guilty of. So, supporting the Celtic Arts Foundation brings a joy to folks and the power of music in ones heart, drives the individual's to pay it forward and help other society's also. That's a very powerful message I think.
Bruce Gandy

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

As a member, participant and donor for at least 10 years I believe the Celtic Arts Foundation is the best run and most clearly focused Non Profit organizations in the country. The executive, Skye Richendrfer, motivates the board and committees in a subtle, quietly powerful way. He is practical, after all he is Scottish, clear, amazingly supportive and encouraging of volunteers. He is a great group leader, always prepared and clear about the goals set by the Board. For over 20 years the Foundation office was in Skye's home. He didn't want to incur any extra expense while he and the Board planned each step of the way towards a future Home and Venue supported by Donors. the Community and others. Skye knows how to care for and feed prospective donors. I call his secret patience. He knows how to wait, how to plant and wait for the harvest. It was a crew of volunteers with a low key contractor who turned a house across the street from the Post Office into a Home for the Celtic Arts Foundation with offices, work space and a board room. Currently the Foundation is moving ahead, constructing an attached venue which will seat 100 making it the largest in Mt. Vernon.
Our whole family of 12 plus many friends enjoy the Annual Robert Burns Dinner complete with the best available Haggis, Annual Meeting, a St Patrick's Ceilidh-bration - a party, Scottish Breakfasts, Highland Games held for 2 consecutive days in July in Riverside Park along the Skagit River. The Foundation was instrumental in building a covered, raised Stage that is permanent in the Park. It provides a place for featured Musicians to perform. Other events include Masters of Scottish Arts Concert held in a major venue in Seattle, two "schools" held at a Conference Center, one for Highland Pipes and Drums and two different sessions at different times for Scottish Smallpipes and Fiddle. Upon completion the addition will be acoustically sound and welcoming of all. CAF has friends all over and into Canada. Skye is a well trained and practiced piper who is also a respected judge of Pipers and their skills. It is amazing to write this review of the dream held so long by Skye and the CAF board. So much has been accomplished and happily the dream continues to grow.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My wife and I have been involved with the Celtic Arts Foundation (CAF) since it's inception. As owners of Anacortes Music Company, we have been sponsors, volunteers and advisers to CAF. After we sold our company and retired we have stayed involved even though extensive travel has limited out participation. In our travels across the US and Canada we have encounter numerous similar organizations but none with the breadth and depth of commitment by everyone in the organization to CAF's mission.

We feel the mission of CAF, bringing Celtic music, history and culture to the public is one that warrants support and will gladly carry their banner through continuing support in the future.

On a more personal level we have learned a great deal about our heritage and so enjoyed the work of CAF with young people and young musicians to learn, share, and carry on the traditions.

Wayne D. Norris
wdn_2000@Yahoo.com

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our community is very fortunate to be the home of the Celtic Arts Foundation. The CAF does an amazing job promoting their mission of promoting the Celtic culture through putting on numerous events, many of which have compelling and engaging educational aspects. The current building projects are creating a very real asset to the community by providing not only offices, but a lovely mid-sized performance and meeting space. An organization well worth supporting.

Review from Guidestar

1 L Nicole C.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation puts on several local events to promote Celtic heritage, music, and culture. The Highland Games they put on every year is very helpful for people who know they have Scottish heritage, but aren't sure what that means or who haven't been able to find their clan. The first year I went to the games I found my clan and finally found my family. My mom was adopted so I felt very disconnected from her adoptive family and had never met anyone from her biological family before. My clansmen have felt more like family to me than some I had grown up with. Since connecting with my heritage, even my own kids have felt a real sense of belonging within the Celtic community. My daughters and I got involved for a while with the Country Dance group. My son, who suffers from a neurological condition which limits fine motor skills, has even started violin lessons because he wants to play fiddle like the guys at the Highland Games.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

CAF does more to promote Celtic music and traditions than any other organizations to which I belong. There is very strong leadership and outstanding goals which provide strong direction for a non-profit group. I belong to state and national Old Time Fiddlers' Organizations and to three state Bluegrass Associations. The Celtic Arts Foundation is driven to promote its music than all of these other organizations. The CAF goals are high but realistic and they are in need of supportive funding beyond the donations and activities they have now.

Review from Guidestar

1 Gary53

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've been involved with the Scottish Community for much of my life, including playing the pipes and drums in local bagpipe bands.

What Skye Richendrfer and his staff and volunteers are doing for the music and arts of our Scottish and Celtic community here is just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. He's bringing expertise in musicianship through schools and performances, as well as bringing awareness of the true Scottish and Celtic traditions to the general public.

Keep up the good work Skye,

Gary Morris McBeath

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Celtic Arts has been intrurmental in, not only bringing celtic culture to the community, but helping to use that tradition to bridge to other parts of the commiunity. It has set a high bar for festivals and venues for others.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 4

In Feb I will be attending the CAF Winter School for the great highland bagpipes for the third year. The instructors they are able to attract are the best in the world. The people who run the school are always welcoming and enthusiastic. I travel half way across the continent to attend.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I first started supporting CAF as a musician attending the Skagit Highland Games, which are always wonderful summer fun. Some years later I finally started attending the annual membership meetings and quickly signed up to be a dues-paying member. I am so proud to be a part of an organization that does so much throughout the year to promote cultural heritage. So many of the members work tirelessly both in front of and behind the scene of the many CAF-sponsored events. They also really know how to have a good time!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a very driven organization that delivers year after year some of the finest celtic events in the country.

Review from Guidestar

1 Lynn89

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation has provided many opportunities for the public to enjoy and learn more about Scottish culture. They are extremely well organized and helpful to many other groups and individuals. It has been an extreme pleasure to work with this organization on the Highland Games. I have often heard that many people think this is one of the best games on the circuit. People also speak very positively about other activities that are put on by or sponsored by the Celtic Arts Foundation. Because of their hard work they deserve any recognition that they can receive.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Since it's inception the Celtic Arts Foundation has done a fantastic job of raising awareness of all things Scottish in the Pacific Northwest area. By effectively engaging both the traditional Scottish cultural community and vast numbers of Celtic 'newbies' this organization has done more to raise the profile of the Celtic culture than most other like minded groups that have been in existance for decades. Through tireless fundraising, community events, sponsorships of budding musicians and other performers this group has had a major impact on the promotion of Celtic culture over the past number of years.

All events they stage are professionally carried out, and provide excellent value for money and time committed by participants and spectators alike!







































Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation is a well organized non-profit organization in Skagit County that provides a unique cultural contribution to the community. The organization's Celtic ties are authentic and genuine and they invite the larger population to enjoy what they have to offer.

Review from Guidestar

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation is a dedicated group of people bringing great culture, entertainment, music, festivals, and education to our little valley. The stage they built for our parks is fabulous. The new music venue they are building will literally change the downtown area of our small town for the better introducing us to even more talented people from around the world. As a volunteer and donor, I personally have made some cherished friendships through my volunteer work with the CAF. I feel our community is blessed to have the CAF be part of it.

Review from Guidestar

1 Vickie11

Donor

Rating: 5

We have been enjoying the benefits of the Celtic Arts foundation for over ten years now. We started by going to their fabulous summer festival, and became total converts, members and then donors! From the enthusiasm of the leadership to the loyalty of the volunteers, to the quality of the programming, this organization is simply the best! What they have managed to do consistently well over this long period of time deserves both recognition and support--and our deepest thanks! We plan our July now to be sure to be able to attend the summer festival and look forward eagerly to their winter concert as well. We can't say enough good things about them--and can only urge everyone to join them in July for the best of bagpipe music, and a festival that also highlights the best of simple pleasures for all ages--from folk music, to sheep herding, to Scottish dancing and even the famous caber toss--all enjoyed in a crowd of all ages of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet! The world is indeed a better place for having such wonderful dedicated people in it as the ones who run this organization and do so much with whatever they have!

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started my association with the Celtic Arts Foundation over 15 years ago as a Scottish Country Dancer. After meeting with the leadership over the years, I have developed a deep appreciation for the vision, management, and sincerity of the director and board to the foundation's mission. As the CAF has grown, it has continue to effectively present Celtic cultural events and support awareness of Scottish culture contributions to our community.

I am now a "super volunteer" and devote a week annually to support the Skagit Highland Games. The CAF has a unique ability to foster a dynamic volunteer corp year after year. I believe that this is because the CAF does an incredible job of thanking its volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

1 Bud_

Donor

Rating: 5

Bonnie and I have donated to the Celtic Arts Foundation because it is a way for us to both learn about and celebrate our heritage. The CAF facility brings together collaborators from our northern neighbor British Columbia Canada to our southern neighbor Oregon to plan such events as the various Highland Games competitions and the Master of Scottish Arts concerts. These events and others like the Robert Burns dinners raise funds that are used for scholarships for young people to receive training in music arts which are then enjoyed by a widening number of people from other cultures represented in the Pacific Northwest. Events which include music and dance along with traditional celtic food have helped Bonnie and I to reacquaint ourselves with cultural knowledge which had previously been lost to us.

G.R. Bowers

Review from Guidestar

1 Patty50

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became involved with CAF through attending the Winter School fiddle session in 2009. What struck me about that experience and since, as a CAF member, is how welcoming, friendly, and supportive it is as an organization. I'm relatively new to the "sport" of Scottish fiddling and not the strongest musician. And, while I have Celtic ancestry - it's pretty distant. Despite this I've found that it doesn't make a hoot of difference. My experience with fellow musicians, volunteering at CAF events and more recently my service as a Board member have confirmed that it is all about celebrating friendships and sharing good times together through the common interest of Celtic music and culture.
The success of the organization is due in no small part to the outstanding leadership of the Executive Director, Skye Richendrfer. Skye's enthusiasm is infectious and is reflected in happy volunteers that work extremely hard to share the enthusiasm. Skye is often heard saying that our goal is to "play well together"- this not only applies to music making, but I've found it in every aspect of the organization and events.
I have benefited greatly from participating in fiddle workshops and Session music making, but it's the welcoming fellowship and the interest in sharing that keeps me involved in CAF and motivated to contribute with my time and gifts. I'm so excited about having a "place" in Mt Vernon where we will be able to share with even more folks the music and culture we enjoy.

Review from Guidestar

3

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been one of the bagpipe instructors at the Celtic Arts Foundation Winter School for the past eight years. Having taught at piping schools around the world over the past thirty five years I have found this specific programme to be one of the very best I have been involved in anywhere in the world. The pupils are grouped so that both they and the instructors can give them the best attention possible. Time is devoted to technique, musical interpretation, sight readying/memorising, practice chanter and bagpipe playing. The instructors arrive in the knowledge that Skye K. Richendrfer, (Executive Director of Celtic Arts Foundation) and his team have prepared everything, so we the instructors, can hit the ground running and totally focus on offering our best teaching to the students.
It is an honour to be associated with such a high level organisation.

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I just wanted to comment that, as an active and performing piper in the area, the Celtic Arts Foundation provides an incredible base of musical and cultural support for individuals engaged in keeping celtic music and associated activities alive. I will add that this organisation does this, miraculously, with a minimum of political shenanigans and a maximum of common sense, clear communications about what they need from members, and robust content inside the events they oversee. I have been an active participant in not one but several of their sponsored activities (The Winter School, the Mt. Vernon Highland Games, etc.) and not just in the last year but over the last ten years. The Celtic Arts Foundation's employees and board have been a pleasure to work with over the years and I support them whole-heartedly in their goals and mission.

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation helps us all to learn about and celebrate our Celtic Culture. I have been lucky enough to have been with this Board from its formation and I have enjoyed every aspect of the work that we do. From Highland Games to Concerts to educational opportunities, Skye has led the organization and inspired the members and volunteers to produce exceptionaly high quality events. I look forward to every new year as there is always a new project or adventure!

Review from Guidestar

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member for 9 years, President for 2 of those years. This organization has done a wonderful job of promoting Celtic/Scotish culture to not only folks in the Mount Vernon area, but in the entire Pacific Northwest. There are at least 10 events sponsored by the organization yearly celebrating the Scotish culture. We have grown from a one event organization(Burns dinner) to annual Highland Games, two weeks of instruction along with a major concert in Seattle. Currently the foundation is building a center called the Littlefield Celtic Center in Mount Vernon which will house the staff along with a 100 person performing center. The center is expected to be completed by May of 2015. Current membership is around 300 people.

Review from Guidestar

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for the Celtic Arts Foundation for around 10 years. I love working with this amazing group of people. The Foundation does a wonderful job of creating different venues where people can experience, learn and just enjoy various aspects of the Celtic heritage. From the Scottish Highland Games, Winter School. Robert Burns Dinner and so many other events. They have supplied numerous scholarships to very worthy individuals. I look forward to each event and the wonderful time that everyone has working together.

Review from Guidestar

Bob_84

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned of the Celtic Arts Foundation in 2012 when my cousins in Richmond BC came down to dance competitively at the Skagit Valley Highland Games. What a great venue of Scottish/Celtic Culture! Highland Dancing, Celtic Apparel, Celtic History, Weaving, Fiddles & Pipes, Athletic Games, Shepard Dogs and so much more. Oh, and Haggis.

So much to see, so much to learn at the Games. I was naturally drawn to the Fiddle & Small Pipe Tent where many local musicians rotated through the weekend's event performing, entertaining and educating young and old alike. My Great Grandfather was a Teacher of Music & Dance in our ancestral home of Forfar, Scotland. After inquiring about sponsorship opportunities, I jumped at the chance to sponsor the Small Pipe & Fiddle Tent.

What I received in return is something I find hard to put into words. To honor my Great Grandfather with this sponsorship was gratifying in itself. But to spend the 2013 Games at the Tent, my first sponsorship, and observe the artists, musicians and performers was a true joy. Not just to listen to them, but to watch their excitement, their passion. And it got better. Bringing young children, young musicians (and a few adults) onto the stage to teach them a tune, assist with technique. To watch the faces of the children was indescribable!

What Skye Richendrfer, Beth Sato and the countless volunteers do for the Celtic Community is truly amazing. The Highland Games are but one of the events CAF offers. Local Celtic music, the Annual Master of Scottish Arts, Fall & Winter Schools for Pipers & Fiddlers. The list goes on and on.

The passion, the excitement is contagious. I've been a wee sponsor of the Games and the Arts programs for just the past two years. I look forward to growing in my sponsorship and will enjoy watching the Celtic Arts Foundation grow locally, regionally and internationally in stature as a true leader of Celtic Heritage. And I will most enjoy being a participant in the fun!

Thank you for allowing me a few lines of appreciation,

Bob Guild
Kirkland, WA

Review from Guidestar

Hope O.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This charity ensures the continuation of Celtic arts and provides education so that those who perform those arts can continue to improve.

I've never experienced such a well run organization, they do an excellent job in organization, communication, and their product/service.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been lucky enough to receive two scholarships from the Celtic Arts Foundation to attend their Winter School. I've attended Winter School twice and I am looking forward to Winter School again this year! I'm sixteen years old and I play the fiddle and the bagpipes. The Celtic Arts Foundation has created a wonderful musical community for sharing Scottish music, and the Celtic Arts Foundation brings world class instructors to Winter School every year. It is a great opportunity for me to learn from the very best teachers of Scottish music, and the Celtic Arts Foundation makes that possible.

In past years I've attended Winter School to take fiddle classes where I was also introduced to the smallpipes. I play the highland bagpipes so this year I will be attending the smallpipes classes at Winter School. The fiddle and smallpipes session at Winter School provides a great opportunity for students to learn from different instructors on different instruments.

I hope the Celtic Arts Foundation will continue to encourage musicians of any skill level and age to play music together and I am very grateful for the opportunities that the Celtic Arts Foundation has given me!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am familiar with The Celtic Arts Foundation because it hosts a Winter School each year created to provide Gold Medal winning bagpipe instructors to individuals wishing to learn or wishing to continue their bag piping education. I love attending Winter School and have been doing so for eight years. I used to shop for bag piping instruction, attending a school or two until I discovered Winter School. There is no need for me and my husband to look for better. This IS superior bag piping instruction at its best.

The Celtic Arts Foundation. The Celtic Arts Foundation has a terrific staff that continues to strive for excellence and has clearly made it their goal to always meet the needs of its students. It provides us with world renown instructors, itineraries, written scores, music, comfortable quarters, and ensures quality meals. The Foundation also listens and works to continuously provide the best of everything in order to improve the school. Students are given evaluation forms at the end of the session and, if possible, solutions are found for negatives and always reinforcements are kept on the positives.

The instructors are the best! The instructors are wonderful! They are very caring and very concerned that we learn as much as we can within the days we have there. They work with us, sometimes spending personal time with a student until they are sure the student is happy with the outcome. They become our friends and every student I have spoken to, looks forward to the next class.

Learning Site. The grounds where the 5-day school is conducted is beautifully maintained, nestled in a tiny village in the state of Washington known as Seabeck. Students can look out their windows and see the harbor, the mountains, the pines and an occasional stray seal who has wandered onto the grounds. It is a beautiful setting to learn and be comfortable.

CAF Future. My husband and I would love to see Winter School successfully continue and it is hoped that whatever grants they apply for, they receive. I would be happy to speak with anyone regarding the superiority of the Celtic Arts Foundation. They truly strive to continue the age-old tradition of bagpiping. We are so blessed to have CAF in our lives. Molly Skinner

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I got personally connected with this organization and its Executive Director more than 5 years ago through a friend who was heavily involved as a member and volunteer. I started by helping with one event as a favor to her, and nearly immediately became a member and regular volunteer. The celebration of cultural heritage and the knowledge imparted by this organization continues to inspire and inform me. My children have become interested in exploring and understanding their Scots heritage as they enter their teens, largely due to their exposure from being dragged along - once- by their mother to the Skagit Valley Highland Games. I say "once" because, after the first year, they eagerly anticipate returning every summer. I am thrilled to have this organization in our community!

I have worked in several capacities for another non-profit in the Mount Vernon community, and am now serving my second year as its Executive Director. I am thus professionally aware of the issues and challenges facing non-profits all over, and particularly in Skagit County. I believe myself to be highly capable in my own right, but am continually impressed by the huge goals set by the CAF Board and Skye Richendrfer, and the seeming facility with which they are achieved. Another reason for my continued involvement with the CAF is the hope that I might improve my own performance and the organization that I serve through being involved and with the mentorship of its Executive Director.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am very happy to have CAF and the Littlefield building in our very own community! If they weren't there I wouldn't have any place to go play and improve my music/guitar skills. I also practice the bodhran on my own, so it's a wonderful place to learn. Also, my grandsons are able to try instruments that are new to them.

I am so happy and thankful for this addition to our community!

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello , my name is Michael Carr. I am a self-taught bagpiper and I went to my first winter school last year. Being self taught, I was lacking in the proper methods that would be given to me by an instructor. I started learning before the days of skype and the internet, so these tools that we use today were not available. I was doing things in my playing that I thought were correct. When I attended my first formal lesson, it was with Jack Lee of the Simon Fraser pipe band in Canada. Jack came to our pipe band by way of some of the band members attending the winter school and becoming acquainted with Jack, who agreed to come to our band for some formal lessons. The knowledge that I have gained from this session was nothing short of amazing! I am now attending the celtic arts Winter School every year and I plan to attend for as long as I can! The time that I have been able to spend with Jack and all the other instructors at the winter school have made me a proper player, and I cannot overstate how valuable this experience has been for me! To have for a week all of the Celtic Arts cadre of instructors there for the students to experience is wonderful beyond description. As I said, I plan on attending this program for as long as I am able!
Thank You,
Mike Carr

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

My personal involvement with the Celtic Arts Foundation (CAF) formed over several years, and began with attending the Skagit Valley Highland Games in Mt. Vernon, with my family and grandchildren. This was always a fun family outing that had events that appealed to all ages, and was a way for my family to share and experience my wife’s and my Scottish and Irish heritage. My wife and I always enjoyed the Scottish music sessions at the Skagit River Brewery, which led me to become more aware of CAF as the force behind these and other events. I became a CAF member and became more involved in volunteering as a way to take part in and give back to CAF. CAF relies greatly on its members and volunteers as the life-blood for the success of their events. Becoming a CAF member deepened my enthusiasm by increasing my shared passion that the members have for the organization. I had been involved as a volunteer in other organizations in the past, but hadn't seen an organization before with so many dedicated individuals to ensure any CAF event was successful, and was enjoyed by all those attending. I found myself becoming more involved with CAF as I attended more events that they sponsored, and I remember I was so impressed with attending my first Masters of Scottish Arts (MSA) Concert. Having world class performers from Scotland, N. Ireland, Canada, and the U.S., was a real eye-opener for me with the scope that CAF was able to present this type of quality programming to the region. These same MSA performers are music instructors for the CAF Winter Schools, and what a special opportunity for the students to have this level of instruction available to them. Being a member and a volunteer deepened my commitment to CAF and its vision to sponsor and encourage Celtic Culture. CAF is a vibrant part of the community and is available for anyone to share in it. It’s the commitment of everyone involved from volunteers to board members that make CAF a special organization to be part of.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation is responsible for offering the Skagit Highland Games every summer, and it would be a sad world with out it. What a wonderful group of giving and caring people. I am tickled to be able to share my efforts, when I can, to help provide a musical and cultural experience to the public and Celtic elders. It is truly a joyous occasion to see the walls going up on the new larger CAF home base in Mount Vernon.

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1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

The Celtic Arts Foundation is iconic to our idiom and beyond, bringing people together from all over the world, skills, traditions, music and culture, more importantly the passing on of it through the Winter School, I myself have been lucky enough to be there teaching for a number of years and witnessed kids starting of and are now world class players, it's contribution can't be measured, having a centre puts it on par with other educational organisations which it already co-operates and works closely with, ideally placed geographically it fills a void for players, students and pipe bands, their extended families in this music and culture, a place where performances, concerts, teaching and listening will, through it's very existence be a benefit not just for North West United States but for the betterment of the breed, globally. John Scullion.

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1 Tim_59

Client Served

Rating: 5

The CAF is a well run non-profit and is an invaluable resource for myself and other involved in the Celtic community in the Pacific Northwest.

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1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a student of Scottish piping and dancing since the early 1950's and have found nothing to compare in scope, depth and intensity to the Celtic Arts Foundation's efforts here in the Seattle area. Building on the the incredible interest in folk music and arts generally, the formal part of the organization represents a critical part in maintaining the links to Scottish music and dance by sponsoring workshops, concerts and schools, which bring some of the finest musicians and dancers here from USA, Canada and Scotland. Just its presence encourages smaller ensembles in private homes, as well as the participation of individuals in local festivals and performances. More than piping is made available; fiddle, step dance and drumming is on offer and attracts students from all over the country.
A solid, stable, dependable organization that is not caught in passing cultural whims or short-term, popular enchantment is necessary for the continued sponsorship of this activity. I endorse and encourage the work the CAF is doing, and it deserves your support.

Michael S. Averell

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the winter school two years ago. I found it very intense. I had been at a point in my piping that bordered on frustration and questioned continuing. I found direction from Fred Morrison to make sure you enjoy piping. I read a book that he recommended: Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner. That book debunked all of those methods and concepts I grew up with learning music. It was money and time well spent. I like hearing and watching Fred play the many pipes he has mastered. The pipes are the vessel, Fred is the instrument.

The winter school also introduced me to many world class musicians,ALL exceptional. I found Murray Henderson to be a great help understanding piobreached. I found that he made it easier to understand the movements and methodology.

I have rejuvenated my piping with an exceptional teacher and enjoy the challenges.
thank you.

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1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation of Skagit County in Washington State, for me, embodies all the elements
of the Celtic revival that has been going on over the past 40 years. It's not a political or religious
organization, rather it highlights that incredible culture and civilization from the past, emphasizing a
rebirth of music, language, art and history. The surviving Celtic populations of Scotland, Ireland,
Wales, Manx from the Isle of Man, the Cornish from England, Bretons of France, and Galicians of
northwest Spain are all invited to learn and partake in their ancient traditions.
I am retired, but a steady volunteer to ensure that the programs continue, especially my forte in
Celtic culture. I give presentations at the culture tent at the organization's two-day Highland Games,
and I also organized and man a Clans of Ireland booth. I also participate in and attend the other nine major events of the year. It's a great organization, and I consider it my local extended family.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This is the most fabulous group. They are so well organized. I attended the Winter Scottish Arts camp and I have to say that it was the best I have ever attended. The teachers were well prepared as well as the administration of the camp being on top of everything. We were welcomed and kept up to date the whole week. The activities were challenging and fun. The world class teachers gave their all and I certainly benefited from the experience.

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2 Peter R.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a past president of the Bellingham Highland Games and as the vice president of the Mount Baker Celtic Arts the Skagit Valley Celtic Arts is the ideal to which all other Celtic aspire. The dedication of the members, the energy of the board and the vision of the director combine to provide operational excellence that is unparalleled anywhere in the world for this type of community nonprofit.

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1 Cheri12

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

I have thoroughly enjoyed the Highland Games put on the past few years. My mom was Scot and gave me a knowledge of some of her family history after she reunited with a cousin who was doing her family tree.

Skye and the foundation have helped me to learn more and after visiting Scotland 5 yers ago on a cruise I want to go back especially after reading all the reports of Skye's trips.

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1 Dan_73

Donor

Rating: 5

I became acquainted with the Celtic Arts Foundation (CAF) while attending the Skagit Valley Highland Games (which CAF operates) with my pipe band. Since that time years ago I have attended a number of their events, notably the October and Winter School small pipes events, multiple times.

The Celtic Arts Foundation brings together enthusiastic students with highly-skilled and knowledgeable instructors in piping, drumming, and fiddle playing from across the globe, and these "band camp" sessions are always enjoyable and educational for everyone involved.

I became a donor to CAF because I wanted to support their on-going efforts in promoting the Celtic Arts. They are a well run and thoughtfully managed organization doing good work in the community, and groups like CAF are what is needed to keep the arts alive for the next generation of musicians and artists.

I would encourage anyone who likes All Things Celtic or who just have a passions for good music and the Arts to add their support to the Celtic Arts Foundation.

Dan Hudson,
Edmonds WA

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Let's start with talking about passion.

Imagine you're a history/politics buff. Not a degree in history (because for some reason that's not easily accessible), but you read about history, audit university courses, perhaps belong to a history club, go to history socials once in a while where you watch others present about intricacies that align with your passion. Perhaps you've had a tutor in the subject. You may even regularly work to prepare a presentation yourself, just because you enjoy the challenge and found it helps your awareness about, say, political thought, historical mechanisms of population and economics, how famous personalities have considered chance details over time.

And then, an organization comes along, that once a year offers the chance to sit in small classes with Reagan, Clinton, Kennedy, both Bush's and LBJ, the Canadian PM and the leader of France, for five days at a time. Classes last an hour, with seven of your colleagues in each one, rotating through each instructor. There's informal time, too -- so lots of details get filled in a social setting. You are enmeshed in your passion, for a week or two in in a remote location. Every February if you like.

In October, you get a little over three days with top leaders from Germany and Japan. In July, there are two days of mental exercise as you present to colleagues yourself. Feedback is written. More collegiality during the day and evening with your 200 or so colleagues, attracting attendance of 14,000 that come to watch, see, partake as they can -- and share their passion, too. You're all in a mix of interests, adults, girls and boys, retired folks. And you're all excited about the quality of the experience.

The Celtic Arts Foundation provides this answer to your education, passion and community-- for Highland bagpipers, fiddlers interested in Scottish or Cape Breton styles, Small pipes and Border pipes, and drummers interested in Scottish snare, tenor drumming or base drumming. All of them, very complicated instruments, all of them with a unique worldwide reach, full of accurate mechanical detail, intricate rhythms, extremely precise tonal management, music notation that isn't made to make sense -- but does, once you're exposed to the top education, and community, that CAF provides.

Piping-wise, CAF brings in eight of the top 13 pipers in the world (yes, we have Word Championships regularly, each year). Similarly we have the same situation for each of our music disciplines. Please note that our student base is about 85 percent 'beginners' -- that's how passionate CAF is in providing excellent, world-class instruction. Truly, all our instructors will be considered 'historic' someday -- that's reflected in each instructors accomplishments. If you're at Benaroya Hall for our instructors concert, there would be no doubt.

CAF provides work VISAs for all visiting instructors (the first school to do so, and consults on VISA matters with the National Piping Centre in Glasgow).

Me? I'm a bagpiper, one of four that teach and perform in the Seattle area full time. I've been a student of the schools that CAF provides since 1996. In 2009, I accomplished winning the World Solo Amateur Championship, Glasgow, in the area of what would be considered the 'Classical' music of the Highland bagpipe.

Yes, bagpipe music has a classical side, going back about 600 years. I wonder if LBJ know about that....

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have attended The CAF Winter School every year since it's inception! It is the very best Piping and Drumming educational experience in the USA. It is very well organized and challenging and FUN! The concert that precedes Winter School (and acts as a fund raiser for CAF) is FABULOUS!
I live in Virginia so I am unable to participate in many of the wonderful Celtic- flavored activities CAF organizes...but I do enjoy Winter School every year!

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1 Sue_106

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation has a well rounded group of volunteers that began small and grew to be an even better event. As a 20 year volunteer between camping, mass bands and athletics this group provides the best events bar none. We meet many people and are still dog friendly at our two day plus event. And provide so much MRE to the community.

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1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Celtic Arts Foundation provides a valuable service to the Scots/Irish community and lovers of music and culture. Besides the concerts that they run, their educational "camps" are second to none. They go out of their way to bring the best-of-the-best to teach Celtic music and dance. They provide a rare opportunity for those in the USA and Canada to be exposed to true masters of the Celtic Arts. I can't stress enough how important this is to those of us who would not otherwise have these opportunities.

I am also the leader of a bagpipe band from California. Many of my band members attend the CEF winter school. I have seen tremendous improvement in their playing and development as musicians due to this school.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This foundation, to me, serves as an agency to link several different facets of the Celtic community in north west Washington state. I see it as meeting a wide variety of needs, specifically focused for the arts community, including music dance and regular social gatherings. It helps to provide ample opportunities for musicians such as myself to gather and play for the public, or for a private event, or a more informal session. I particularly enjoy the annual Skagit Valley Highland games, which draws a large crowd from all over the state to celebrate everything that is Celtic.

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1 Joanne46

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have volunteered at two of their events and my children have competed at the highland games. great experience for all of us. promoting tradition rewarding excellence, building character

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1 Mike133

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have attended and/or served as an instructor at many fine workshops throughout North America and Scotland over the last twenty-five years. The Celtic Arts Winter School is, by far, the most comprehensive, focused, and all-around greatest event of its kind...actually it is one-of-a-kind! I cannot think of another place where students of piping, drumming, and the fiddle can learn from some of the best players that the world has to offer, in such a close, personal and friendly environment. To rub shoulders with the talented people that the foundation brings in each year is humbling and highly motivational, to say the least!
It has been my great fortunate to have been a faculty member at CAF since 2007. The foundation continues its remarkable progress and is making our fine tradition of Celtic music more attainable for the aspiring students of the art.
Mike Cole
www.twistedthistle.com

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1 John306

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been associated with the Celtic Arts Foundation for several years and a bagpipe/Scottish smallpipes student at their Winter School in Seabeck, Washington, an attendee at the annual Masters Concert and as a competitor/attendee at the Skagit Valley Highland Games. Through all of my contacts, I've been impressed with the quality and the efficiency of the product.

At Winter School, the executive director has recruited and selected the top performers in their field, setting a standard that only a handful of people in the world can meet. They provide a level of instruction and motivation, (both for youth and adult students), that I've not found anywhere else. Web sites, registration, concerts, rooms, meals and schedules all run like clockwork, providing an ideal learning environment unlike any other.

The Skagit Valley Games provide a perfect venue for a multitude of Celtic events including pipes & drums, fiddles, dancing, and athletics. It also provides attendees a chance to experience the language and culture of the Celtic nations. This annual 2 day event also operates efficiently by an army of well directed volunteers who do all they can to make it a worry free and enjoyable event for competitors and attendees alike.

One of the things that impresses me the most is the active role of the board of directors. It's clear that most of the "heavy lifting" is done by the executive director and the administrative assistant, but it's clear that the board takes an active role in the organization through volunteering, donating and organizing. An organization that inspires that kind of volunteerism is rare.

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1 Andy34

Client Served

Rating: 5

I received excellent instruction from the best Pipers from Scotland, wonderful facilities with a beautiful view of the best that Washington State has to offer (Puget Sound & mountains) and we party'd til the wee hours every evening. Can't wait to come back!

Review from Guidestar

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

This will be my 3rd time attending the CAF winter School. I will continue to attend every year as long as I'm able. The staff is top notch, provide excellent customer service and truly make you feel welcome. The instructors and tuition provided is quite simply second to none. I have attended several other celtic arts (bagpipe) schools and the Winter School is by far the best.

2 Jack50

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Winter School put on by the Celtic Arts Foundation is a brilliant event. It brings together motivated students, top instructors and puts them together for several days of bagpipe and drum instruction. What is special about Winter School is the Atmosphere – it is like nothing else. The students work hard and learn a ton at the school. Of course, there is a dash of fun to go along with all the piping and drumming. The Celtic Arts Foundation has done an excellent job of organizing this world-class event for many years. It is a wonderful experience for all involved.

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2 Bruce24

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am not only pleased, but honored as well, that I can contribute to such a well-managed organization, whose energy and resources are so efficiently returned to the local and regional community. I've been involved for twenty years and have had the opportunity to watch the Celtic Arts Foundation evolve and expand its reach from California to Canada, and even the East Coast, Scotland and Australia. I am proud to be a part of the CAF, which has touched, enhanced and brought joy to so many lives. The creation of a Cultural Arts Center is a clear demonstration of just how powerful a well-run non-profit can be and promises to bring even more joy and knowledge to thousands more.

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Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is a polished, professional, fun and highly successful non-profit that promotes the celtic culture and arts through numerous events. All monies raised are spent effectively and efficiently towards this end. The Foundation boasts a large and active contingent of volunteers and is currently building a Celtic Cultural Center in downtown Mount Vernon to showcase the arts and culture.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been to the CAF Winter School three times. The entire camp experience is fantastic and you can't get the same kind of fiddle camp experience anywhere else (and I've been to a couple of others). I regret not having enough extra money to go back, but nonetheless I would love to see the CAF thrive and continue to be able to put on world-class music camps. There is no other organization in the Northwest that does as much for the Celtic tradition as them.

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