Sixth Livingstone title for Gandy (HD videos)

Published: May 3, 2015

Hamilton, Ontario – May 2, 2015 – Bruce Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, gained the overall championship title at The Livingstone, with a first in the light music and a second in the Piobaireachd, marking the sixth time that he has won the aggregate prize at the event. Making his return to solo competition since recovering from a heart attack last fall, Ian K. MacDonald won the Piobaireachd and might have placed highly in the light music had he not omitted a part of a tune. Organized by the Niagara-Hamilton Branch of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, the event was well attended, and Glenna Mackay-Johnstone was emcee throughout the day. It was the thirty-fifth time the event was held since 1978, missing only 2014. Judges for both events were Pete Aumomier, Bill Livingstone and Reay Mackay.

Bruce Gandy with some of his winnings at The Livingstone 2015.

Piobaireachd (submit four, play one)
1st Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
2nd Bruce Gandy, “My King Has Landed In Moidart”
3rd Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”

March, Strathspey, Reel, Hornpipe & Jig (own choice)
1st Bruce Gandy, “William MacDonald,” “Arniston Castle,” “The Cockerel in the Creel,” “Wee Alec, Fort William,” “Ainsley’s Jig”
2nd Sean McKeown, Toronto, “Abercairney Highlanders,” “Piper’s Bonnet,” “The Little Cascade,” “Moving Cloud,” “The Thief of Lochaber”
3rd Alex Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, “Morag Ramsay,” “Caledonian Society of London,” “Neil Angus MacDonald,” “Joe McGann’s Fiddle,” “Drew James McIntosh”

Also competing, but not in the prizes: Andrea Boyd, Ottawa; Jacob Dicker, Kingston, Ontario; and Ben McClamrock, Washington, DC.

Competitors L-R: Bruce Gandy, Alex Gandy, Ben McClamrock, Ian K. MacDonald, Ed Bush, Jacob Dicker, Andrea Boyd and Sean McKeown.


Pipes+Drums returns to Piping Live!

Published: April 30, 2015

pipesdrums-logo-smallThe Pipes+Drums recital sponsored by pipes|drums Magazine will return to this year’s Piping Live! Festival in August an all-start line-up for what is one of the festival’s most popular events and one of the biggest performances of the pipe band year.

Free to all who wish to attend, compliments of pipes|drums, the two-hour event showcases pipe-majors and leading-drummers from the world’s best bands in a rare opportunity to hear these virtuoso players show their chops in an informal setting.

On Tuesday, August 11, from noon until 2 pm, at the Street Café in front of the National Piping Centre, listeners will get to hear:

  • ScottishPower – Pipe-Major Chris Armstrong and Leading-Drummer Jake Joergensen
  • Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia – Pipe-Major Ryan Canning and Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick
  • Simon Fraser University – Pipe-Major Alan Bevan and Leading-Drummer Reid Maxwell
  • Stuart Highlanders – Pipe-Major Adam Holdaway and Leading-Drummer Scott Fletcher

“We are pleased once again to bring what is the greatest recital of Grade 1 leaders in the world,” said Andrew Berthoff, editor of the non-profit pipes|drums. “With advertising and subscription proceeds we’re able to compensate these great musicians appropriately and make the Pipes+Drums recital free to all who wish to attend. This is sure to be another great recital, and one of the few Piping Live! events that puts pipe band drumming front-and-centre.”

Steven McWhirter and Stuart Liddell of Inverarary & District perform at the 2013 edition of Pipes+Drums.

The 2015 Pipes+Drums features Shotts & Dykehead, SFU and Stuart Highlanders for the first time, while Armstrong and Joergensen return to the event. Joergensen previously performed as Leading-Drummer of the now-defunct Lothian & Borders Police.

Kilpatrick and Maxwell are legends in pipe band drumming history, having led their corps to scores of World Pipe Band Drumming titles over the last 30 years. The Stuart Highlanders emerged in 2014 as rising stars in Grade 1, and are one of only two US-based bands in the top grade.

Each duet will play for about 25 minutes, including at least one competition MSR.

pipes|drums readers can enjoy video from the previous Pipes+Drums events on the pipes|drums Magazine YouTube Channel.

The recital had to be skipped in 2014 due to scheduling conflicts with performers and the magazine, and was replaced with several other events.

pipes|drums is also confirmed as an official media partner with Piping Live! 2015, a designation the magazine has had since 2005.

Be sure to check out many videos of many of the world’s greatest pipe-majors and leading-drummers from previous Pipes+Drums events at the pipes|drums YouTube Channel, and be sure to subscribe to the channel for alerts whenever new videos are published.

SFU makes another change of bass

Published: April 29, 2015

After 15 months in the role, bass drummer Steve Foley has left the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, making way for Mackenzie Webster, who moves over to the big drum after playing tenor in the band’s bass-section.

Foley took over as bass drummer in January 2014 following the departure of long-time incumbent Kathryn Tawse. Foley had been bass drummer with the Grade 1 Los Angeles Scots for many years, and Foley was replaced at LA Scots by Amber Bartholomuesz, who remains with that band.

Mackenzie Webster

Foley had been making as many practices in Vancouver as possible, taking regular flights from Los Angeles, but missing enough of them to warrant Webster stepping in in his absence as the band works to perfect more than two hours of largely new material for its August 12th Pre-World’s Concert in Glasgow.

“Having Steve in the band these two years has been great,” SFU band President and Pipe-Sergeant Jack Lee said. “He is a terrific person and musician.  He is also very professional and a lot of fun to be around. The challenge has been that Steve lives in Los Angeles, which is a 2.5 hour flight from Vancouver.  Steve flew in pretty often but could not be at every practice and performance.  Whenever Steve was not at a band practice Mackenzie filled in on bass and was incredible.”

Steve Foley

For his part, Foley commented, “I did want to stay with SFU, but the mounting pressure of the concert and the time commitment required was going to be too much for me and my family. I was already traveling up to BC twice a month for the past year-and-a-half and anything in addition to that would have been problematic. I am gutted to have resigned from the band and at the same time so thankful to have been recognized and invited to play in the first place. There’s nothing like playing at the top. However, it is a difficult situation when the bass drummer is out of town. I have no hard feelings other than the hurt of leaving. I wish the band greatness in the coming season and seasons to come.”

Foley added that he does not anticipate playing for another band this year. “It’s a bit late to even think about a change in any other organization, whether one was presented or not . . . but after 34 years of continuous playing, it’s a bit strange.”

Lee added that 2015 is a particularly big year for SFU with, not only the Glasgow concert, but a number of new players coming into the fold to make the band “as big as ever.” In 2014 for the first time in more than 20 years SFU finished out of the top-six in Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships.

The band has also been hit hard by the news of long-time member Andrew Bonar’s brain cancer diagnosis, but has rallied to support him and the charitable cause in worldwide efforts, including a concert and pledge-drive in March.

Morenn goes vinyl with double-LP version of CD

Published: April 28, 2015

Maybe for the first time in about 25 years, a piping album is out on vinyl, capitalizing on the gathering trend towards the remarkable analog format that was the standard for copying recordings for almost a century.

Morenn, the well-reviewed CD by Xavier Boderiou, with Sylvain Boderiou and Jacques Pellen released in May 2014, is available in glorious vinyl for those who prefer the imperfect “warmth” of the format as they listen to the creative interpretations of piobaireachd delivered by the three Breton musicians.

The mastermind behind the project is Boderiou, one of the world’s top Highland pipers who has enjoyed success on the Scottish solo circuit and played with Grade 1 bands such as Simon Fraser University and, currently, Bagad Cap Caval. He also launched a series of pipe chanters of his own design in 2013.

About Morenn, Boderiou said, “Try to imagine King Crimson or Brian Eno traveling to the Highlands and you will get a small idea.”

Piping and pipe band recordings on vinyl have become collector’s items, with few publishers being bothered to release the old records digitally. Illegal copies of the products have emerged online, while those that have been re-released on downloading sites infrequently compensate the artists, composers or their estates.

Thomas-Sanchez top winner at MWPBA amateur championships

Published: April 27, 2015

Chicago – April 25, 2015 – The Midwest Pipe Band Association held the annual Terry McHugh Amateur Solo Piping Championship where pipers who qualified throughout events over the winter competed. The Grade 3 and Grade 2 contests comprised a 2/4 March and a Strathspey & Reel event going towards an aggregate.

Laureano Thomas-Sanchez and Angus Martin, 2015 Grade 1 and Grade 2 Terry McHugh Amateur Championship winners. [Photo: Tak Tang]

Grade 1

1st Laureano Thomas-Sanchez
2nd Tony Karcz
Judge Tom Weithers

Bryan Jirsa competing in the Grade 2 March contest. [Photo: Tak Tang]

Grade 2 Overall
1st Angus Martin (1st 2/4 March, 1st S&R)
2nd Bryan Jirsa (2nd 2/4 March, 3rd S&R)
3rd Erin McCoy-Hall (3rd 2/4 March, 2nd S&R)
Judge Tom Weithers

Grade 3 Overall
1s Joshua Cunningham (2nd 2/4 March, 2nd S&R)
2nd Patrick Higgins (4th 2/4 March, 1st S&R)
3rd Lauren Vanderwal (1st 2/4 March, 5th S&R)
Judge Tom Weithers

Grade 4
2/4 March

1st Ray Morrison
2nd Wayne Hoefler
3rd J Kevin Chapman
Judge Tom Weithers

Senior Novice
2/4 March

1st Alexandria Cunningham
2nd Albert Smith
3rd Thomas Conley
Judge Tom Weithers

Junior Novice
2/4 March

1st Raiden Ehrenfried
2nd Sean Lambe
3rd Rhys O’Higgins
Judge Tom Weithers

MacHattie rises to Summerside Challenge


James MacHattie (left) accepts the professional trophy for the 2015 Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge from College of Piping Executive Director Karen Hatcher and ACPBA Chief Steward Rick Crawford.

Summerside, Prince Edward Island – April 25, 2015 – After an agonizingly long winter of non-stop snow, a full complement of solo pipers competed at the College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts annual Piobaireachd Challenge, with Roddy MacLeod judging all of the events. The event is co-sponsored with the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association.

1st James MacHattie, “The Unjust Incarceration”
2nd Alex Gandy, “Old Men of the Shells”

Grade 1
1st James Dyson, “The MacLeods’ Controversy”
2nd Sarah Simpson, “Queen Anne’s Lament”
3rd Brandon Gardner, “The Massacre of Glencoe”

Grade 2
1st John McIntyre, “The Men Went to Drink”
2nd Mike Farnworth, “Black Donald’s March”
3rd Heather Stone, “MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute”


Prize-winners, administrators and judge at the 2015 Atlanic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge.

Grade 3
1st Brady Webb, “Lady Anapool’s Lament”
2nd Calum Brydon, “Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach”
3rd Chris MacKnight, “I Am Proud to Play a Pipe”

Grade 4
1st Carl Brydon, “Cabar Feidh Gu Brath”
2nd Gillian Blaney, “Catherine’s Lament”
3rd Seamus Meagher, “Field of Gold”

Grade 5
1st Dalton Faulkner, “The Boat Tune”

Do you have results? Please send them in using the above format, including judges, a photo or two and any other details to us at Our policy is never to copy results from other online sources.

Prince Charles ascends to Sacramento throne


PrinceCharles_logoSacramento, California – April 25-26, 2015 – It was a robust Grade 2 band competition for the western United States at the Sacramento Valley Highland Games, with Prince Charles of San Francisco winning both events, and three other bands newly appointed to the grad acquitting themselves well.

Grade 2
1st Prince Charles (1,1,1,1)
2nd Wasatch & District (2,2,3,3)
3rd Queen City (4,4,2,2)
4th Bushmills Irish Pipers of San Francisco (3,3,4,4)
Judges: Colin Armstrong, Seumas Coyne (piping), Ed Best (drumming); Dave McAdam (ensemble)

1st Prince Charles (1,1,1,2)
2nd Queen City (4,4,2,1) (enspref)
3rd Bushmills Irish Pipers of San Francisco (2,2,3,4)
4th Wasatch & District (3,3,4,3)
Judges: Colin Armstrong, Seumas Coyne (piping), Dave McAdam (drumming); Ed Best (ensemble)

Bushmills Irish Pipers of San Francisco at the 2015 Sacramento Valley Games.

Grade 4 timed medley
1st Wasatch & District (Gr4) (1,1,1,1)
2nd Irish Pipers of DSan Francisco (Gr4) (2,2,3,2)
3rd MacIntosh (4,2,2,5)
4th City of Sacramento (3,3,5,3)
5th Monterey Bay (5,5,4,4)

Professional Solo Piping
1st Erik Leiken
2nd Ryan Balchuck
3rd Lance Dorris
Judge: Glen Thompson

1st Jamie Gibson
2nd Jamie Cuthill
3rd Ryan Balchuck
Judge: Colin Armstrong

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Jamie Cuthill
2nd Jamie Gibson
3rd Ryan Balchuck
Judge: Scott MacDonald

Consultative judging could be trialed at RSPBA contests

Published: April 22, 2015

After abandoning the practice in the early-1990s, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association is reportedly considering bringing back consultative pipe band judging, starting with two trial competitions in the summer of 2015.

If the trials go ahead and prove successful the system could be fully restored for the 2016 season, according to several sources.

Consultative judging in its most familiar form involves a brief discussion between adjudicators at the end of an event at which they compare observations and opinions before handing in their final sheets and rankings.

Under the current RSPBA system, each judge must submit his or her score sheet after each competing band performs, requiring judges to assess each band and, with the exception of the final band to compete, out of context with the entire event. RSPBA judges are not permitted to discuss performances with their fellow adjudicators until all score sheets have been submitted.

RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton did not respond to a request to provide his organization’s perspective on the matter.

RSPBA officials conferring before the Grade 2 event at the 2013 World Pipe Band Championships.

According to several sources, Embelton made the disclosure at the January 2015 meeting of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations in Kansas City, which he attended. Before any trials could occur, the idea would likely first have to go through the usual administrative approvals within the organization.

Consultative judging had been used in RSPBA throughout the late-1980s and early-1990s until the system was repealed following allegations of undue influence by domineering adjudicators who were reported to have worked to sway decisions for bands that they allegedly took a particular interest in supporting.

The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario used consultative judging of pipe bands from 2005 to 2013 until the organization’s board of directors upheld a survey of members and eliminated the practice, despite the PPBSO’s Music Committee nearly unanimously endorsing the consultative judging system and encouraging that it continue.

Solo piping competitions in the UK and elsewhere that are assessed by more than one judge almost invariably allow judges to compare notes to agree on a final result.

Transvaal Scottish wins SA season opener

Published: April 20, 2015

Pretoria, South Africa – April 18, 2015 – The South African pipe band season began with the Lyttleton Manor Highland Gathering. In Grade 2, the Transvaal Scottish won both the MSR and the Medley events, as well as taking best drum corps and bass section. The band is planning to compete in Grade 2 at the World Pipe Band Championships this year.

Transvaal Scottish marching in Pretoria.

Grade 2
1st Transvaal Scottish (MSR 2,1,1,1; Medley 1,1,1,2)
2nd African Skye (3,2,2,2 and 2,3,2,1)
3rd MacChamberlain Richmond Avenue (1,3,3,3 and 3,2,3,3)

Grade 3
1st Sandton Scottish
2nd Glen Allen
3rd Transvaal Scottish (Gr3)
4th SA Irish

Grade 4
1st Lyttelton Manor
2nd African Skye (Gr4)
3rd Pretoria Highlanders

1st Jeppe CBC Boksburg
2nd St Benedict’s Juvenile
3rd Pretoria Boys Juvenile

Novice Juvenile
1st Benoni Novice Juvenile
2nd St Benedict’s Novice Juvenile
3rd Cornwall Hill

Judges meet for annual spring PPBSO seminar

Published: April 19, 2015

PPBSOlogoTwenty-four adjudicators accredited with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario met in Milton, Ontario, on April 18th for the organization’s annual spring seminar, including three judges who were added to the roster in the fall.

Organized by the PPBSO’s Music Committee, the seminar comprised a full day of interactive sessions, beginning at 9 am and finishing around 3 pm at the Best Western Hotel. Several judges travelled further than 500 kilometres to make the seminar.

The day was managed by Music Committee members Trish Kirkwood and Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, who each put their professional skills as school teachers to work, using techniques to encourage collaboration and discussion.

Judges discuss a point at the 2015 PPBSO Adjudicators Seminar.

PPBSO President Duncan MacRae provided an introductory update, mainly on the January meeting in Kansas City of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations. MacRae said that ANAPBA members would likely work with the RSPBA to create a new . . .


Continue reading

Chris Armstrong on top at Scottish Pipers

Published: April 18, 2015

Chris Armstrong

Glasgow – April 18, 2015 – Chris Armstrong was the easy overall winner of the annual Scottish Pipers Association Solo Competitions, one of the longest-running events on Scotland’s calendar. Armstrong won both of the events he competed in.

1st Chris Armstrong, Airth, Scotland
2nd Peter McAlister, Dunblane, Scotland
3rd Gordon Bruce, Glasgow
Judges: Tom Johnstone, Ronald McShannon

Former Winners MSR
1st Chris Armstrong
2nd Keith Bowes, Inchinnan, Glasgow
3rd Darach Urqhuart, Glasgow

1st Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
2nd Michael Fitzhenry, Glasgow
3rd Lachie Dick, Edinburgh

Strathspey & Reel
1st Graham Drummond, Aberdeen
2nd Andrew Wilson, Belfast
3rd Stuart McCallum, Glasgow

6/8 March
1st Steven Gray, Ayrshire

Judges for all light music: Andrew Frater, Iain MacLellan

Do you have competition results? We invite you to send them by email to pipes|drums along with a photograph or two and a few details of the event. Please use the 1st, 2nd 3rd format in the article above, include judges and send as standard email text. Thanks!

Journey almost complete for Pipes & Sticks project

Published: April 16, 2015

The original somewhat bizarre trek down the USA’s apocryphal Route 66 rock n roll highway took only a few weeks when drummers Mike Cole and Jim Kilpatrick and pipers Stuart Liddell, Angus MacColl and Willie McCallum drove and played across the country in 2012.

Three years later the ambitious Pipes & Sticks on Route 66 movie project will finally become available following lengthy appeals for Kickstarter funding and sponsors to make the product a reality.

Filmmaker John McDonald of Pasadena, California, who tagged along with the five musicians capturing performances at all kinds of unusual places and all sorts of intriguing characters, said he got extra incentive to get the product out when the five stars of the show confirmed that they would be at the “Master Class Seminars” workshop later in the month.

Mike Cole, Jim Kilpatrick, Stuart Liddell, Angus MacColl and Willie McCallum (L-R) cool their barking dogs in the Pacific Ocean at the end of their 2012 Route 66 journey.


“We are finally releasing Pipes & Sticks on Route 66 to the world, almost three years to the day from when the tour ended on the shores of Pacific,” McDonald said. “What gave us the incentive to complete the project was learning that the five guys would all be in Peterborough at the end of the month. We did not want to miss this unique opportunity to have a launch party on April 25.”

The five pipers and drummers fulfilled a nostalgia-laced dream to travel down the now mostly dilapidated US Highway 66, once the major thoroughfare across the Midwestern and Western US, starting in Chicago and finishing in California.

In addition to a packaged DVD, Pipes & Sticks on Route 66 will be available to stream or download on the net. Pricing is not yet known.

Cole, Liddell, Kilpatrick, MacColl and McCallum each contributed to a diary of the trip in a multi-part series on pipes|drums in sync with the journey in 2012. Readers can search the pipes|drums Archive for all of the installments. Just key in “Route 66″ in the Title field.

McDonald also created On The Day, a movie from the 2008 Spirit of Scotland Grade 1 band of superstar pipers and drummers, which assembled for one week, competed in the World Pipe Band Championships, qualified for the Final, and finished eleventh overall.

Ontario back down to one Grade 2 band

Published: April 14, 2015

The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario is back to having only one active member Grade 2 band after the 400 Squadron has chosen to sit out the season as it works to regroup following the loss of Leading-Drummer Mike Tuzyk, leaving the newly upgraded Paris Port Dover to go it alone at most contests in the penultimate grade.

According to Pipe-Major Matt MacIsaac, who took on that role later last year, Tuzyk was in a serious auto crash, and is still on a long path to recovery so has decided to opt out of the L-D role.

The band is on an active search for a new leading-drummer with the ideal candidate having “experience leading a drum corps at a Grade 2 level or higher and preferably live in the Southern Ontario area to facilitate regular practice schedules.” The 400 Squadron offers salaries for those in the part-time military reserve, and also accepts non-military or civilian members. Applications from interested drummers are open until September 4, 2015, taking advantage of inevitable post-season changes-of-plan for members of other bands, and should be sent directly to MacIsaac, who is a sergeant in the reserves.

400 Squadron competing at the 2013 Cobourg Highland Games.

“Our former lead drummer Mike Tuzyk was in a serious motor vehicle accident in late 2014,” MacIsaac commented. “Thankfully he is on the mend, but recovery must take priority and he has decided not to continue in the role. We wish him all the best in the future. I was not able to suitably replace him in time for the upcoming competitive season, so we will be concentrating on practicing, performing, and building our new repertoire while supporting 400 Squadron at some major transitional events this summer. We will see our friends and supporters in the circle next year. Moving forward we’ve got a growing pipe section and some great music coming up, and we look forward to hearing from interested parties.”

MacIsaac took over the band after the retirement of Terry Cleland, who ran the band for nearly 40 years. 400 Squadron often struggled to field a competition band in recent years, occasionally competing with minimum numbers. In 2014 in Ontario Grade 2 usually featured only the Ottawa Police Services Pipe Band. Ottawa Police was elevated to Grade 1 after the 2014 season.

While the Grade 2 category continues to struggle for viability in Ontario, it has resurged elsewhere, particularly in the western United States and Alberta, Canada. Six Grade 2 bands are expected to compete at the Fort Edmonton Highland Games in Edmonton in July.

Commentary on the Grade 2 situation worldwide, at least as it existed in 2013, can be found here.

According to sources, after nearly five years of discussion the PPBSO is hoping to launch a teaching program to help sustain numbers.

Armstrong, McLean the big winners at Kingdom Thistle solos

Published: April 12, 2015

Junior prize-winners at the 2015 Kingdom Thistle competition.

Professional winners Aaron McLean, Chris Armstrong and Andrew Bova.

Lochgelly, Scotland – April 11, 2015 – Chris Armstrong of Airth, Scotland, and Aaron McLean of Glasgow were the aggregate winners of the Open Solo Piping and Drumming, respectively, at the 2015 Kingdom Thistle Piping and Drumming Solos held at Lochgelly High School. The contest continues to expand, this year seeing 104 drumming and 115 piping performances.

Solo Piping
1st Andrew Bova
2nd Ross Millar
3rd Jonathon Simpson
4th Kevin Rogers
Judge: Donald MacPhee

1st Chris Armstrong
2nd Andrew Bova
3rd Emma Buchan
4th Craig Munro
Judges: Tom Brown, Donald MacPhee

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Chris Armstrong
2nd Jason McAlister
3rd Craig Munro
4th Emma Buchan
Judges: Tom Brown, Donald MacPhee

18 & Under
1st Jason McAlister

16 & Under
1st Robbie MacIsaac

13 & Under
1st Finlay Cameron

Solo Drumming

1st Craig Lawrie
2nd Daniel Luby
3rd Aaron McLean
4th Glen Creighton
Judges: Jim Baxter

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Grant Cassidy
2nd Russell Esler
3rd Aaron McLean
4th Glen Creighton
Judges: Jake Joergensen

18 & Under
1st Glen Creighton
2nd Daniel Luby
3rd = Craig Baxter, Eoin Rogers

Tenor Drumming
1st Shannon Brown
2nd Alen Townsend
3rd Rachel Cook
4th Craig Reilly
Judge: Peter Carter

18 & Under
1st Lauren Thomson
2nd Alison Geal
3rd Rhiannon McAlease
Judge: Peter Carter

16 & Under
1st Reed Cameron

13 & Under
1st Chloe Taylor

Tenor Drumming
1st Shannon Brown

18 & Under
1st Lauren Thomson

16 & Under
1st Alison Gael

Do you have competition results? We invite you to send them by email to pipes|drums along with a photograph or two and a few details of the event. Please use the 1st, 2nd 3rd format in the article above, include judges and send as standard email text. Thanks!

Boyd snaps up another Glengarry Cup


Ottawa – April 11, 2015 – Andrea Boyd of Ottawa was the winner of the 2015 Glengarry Cup, a contest organized by the Ottawa Branch of the Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. The own-choice MSR contest was held at the HMCS Bytown Naval Officers’ Mess in downtown Ottawa. The trophy is donated by the Glengarry Pipe Band and the contest features both professional and top local amateur competitors. The event was judged by Colin MacLellan, who held a piobaireachd workshop earlier in the day. It was the second time that Boyd has won the competition.

Andrea Boyd with fellow prize winners Ed Bush, Jacob Dicker, and adjudicator Colin MacLellan [Photo: Cindy Ritchie]

1st Andrea Boyd, “John MacDonald’s Welcome to South Uist,” “Lady MacKenzie of Gairloch,” “Fiona MacLeod”
2nd Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, “Donald McLellan of Rothesay,” “Susan MacLeod,” “The Grey Bob”
3rd Jacob Dicker, Kingston, Ontario, “The Centenary Jewel,” “Maggie Cameron,” “Bessie McIntyre”
4th Scott McIntosh, Ottawa, “Major Manson’s Farewell to Clachantrushal,” The Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “The Sheepwife”
5th Tom Brown, “Hugh Kennedy BSc.,” “Dora MacLeod,” “Ca’ the Ewes”
6th Rachelle MacDonald, “Invergordon’s Welcome to HM Queen Elizabeth II,” “Highland Harry,” “Alick C. MacGregor”

Donald MacLeod Memorial Champ: Willie McCallum

Published: April 10, 2015

Willie McCallum

Stornoway, Scotland – April 10, 2015 – The twenty-second annual Donald MacLeod Memorial Invitational Piping Competition was won by Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland. McCallum enjoyed the best overall success by taking firsts in the Piobaireachd and MSR events, the two events that count towards the aggregate prize. Gordon McCready of Renfrew, Scotland, won the Jig event. The event pays tribute to the late, great MacLeod, and his compositions are featured throughout the events.

The event introduced a new trophy for second prize in the Piobaireachd contest donated in memory of the late Scott MacAulay, one of the most accomplished Canadian pipers of all time. MacAulay’s family came from the Isle of Lewis.

1st Willie McCallum
2nd Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
3rd Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
4th Glenn Brown, Glasgow

1st Willie McCallum
2nd Iain Speirs
3rd Gordon McCready
4th Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland

Iain Speirs, aggregate runner-up at the 2015 Donald MacLeod Memorial, accepts the Scott MacAulay trophy with from family and friends of the late MacAulay.

1st Gordon McCready
2nd Glenn Brown
3rd Callum Beaumont
4th Iain Speirs

Judges for all events were Iain MacFadyen, Willie Morrison and John Wilson.

Douglas Murray and Gordon Walker withdrew from the event the day before. The contestants each gladly played an air and a 6/8 march as an unjudged performance to make up for the spare time.

Liddell lends instrument to McCallum

Published: April 9, 2015

An advance flyer for the new Duncan MacRae pipes modelled after Stuart Liddell’s vintage instrument.

After an abbreviated relationship launching a model of pipes with Wallace Bagpipes and G1 Reeds in 2013, world-famous solo piper and Grade 1 pipe-major Stuart Liddell has struck a new deal with McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland, on a line of instruments modelled after Liddell’s own vintage MacRae drones from the 1890s.

The project has been in the works for several months, and Liddell and the company hope to officially launch the “Duncan MacRae Bagpipes by Stuart Liddell” line in August at Piping Live!

Stuart McCallum of McCallum Bagpipes has been working closely with Liddell to createan exact replica of Liddell’s MacRae pipes, “right down to the closest details of the internal bores and bells, exterior profile shape, shape of mounts and silver engraving” according to McCallum co-owner Kenny MacLeod.

The pipes are duplicated so exactly that they reproduce the slightly different sizes of the top sections of the tenor drones, since they are a feature of Liddell’s instrument.

Stuart Liddell

Liddell test-drove the new pipes at a McCallum roadshow recital in Zurich earlier in April.

Stuart Liddell is recognized by many as the world’s greatest Highland piper, and one of the most successful in competition. He is also Pipe-Major and founding member of the Inveraray & District Pipe Band.

It is not known yet if Liddell will play one of the new instruments in solo competition, and pricing of the new line is to be determined.

MacRae operated from the late-1880s until ceasing operations in 1952. Long-defunct Grainger & Campbell Bagpipes took over MacRae’s premises, but didn’t adopt any of the designs in any significant way.

The MacRae reproduction pipes are the latest in a continuing trend of developing new instruments based on long-dormant vintage drones. Atherton Bagpipes was among the first, using a MacDougall pattern and a bespoke approach to manufacturing. More recently McGillivray Piping of Ontario developed vintage recreations based on Glen and MacDougall instruments and made by several bagpipe makers.

Easton eats up Easter at NZ Champs

Published: April 7, 2015

Stuart Easton

Hastings, New Zealand – April 3-5 – Stuart Easton was the overall winner of the 65th Hawke’s Bay Easter Highland Games New Zealand Solo Piping Championship. Jamie Hawke took home the Gold Medal Piobaireachd, while Brendon Eade nailed down the Open Piobaireachd, winning the Lewis A. Turrell MBE Memorial Trophy.

Gold Clasp
1st Jamie Hawke
2nd Brendon Eade
3rd Stuart Easton
4th Iain Robertson
Judges: Murray Henderson, Greg Wilson

Gold Medal
1st William Rowe
2nd Rowan Manson
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th Yasuchiyo Hamilton
Judges: Murray Henderson, Greg Wilson

Silver Medal
1st Donella May
2nd Hamish Dick
3rd Lewis MacDonald
4th Scott Marshall
Judges: Murray Henderson, Greg Wilson

Bronze Medal
1st Hamish Reade
2nd Gemma Pearce
3rd Ruairidh MacLean
4th Juliet Johnson
Judges: Murray Henderson, Greg Wilson

1st Brendon Eade
2nd Stuart Easton
3rd William Rowe
4th Richard Hawke
Judges: Murray Henderson, Greg Wilson

A-Grade Light Music
1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Emmett Conway
3rd Stuart Easton
4th Brendon Eade
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain McGregor

2/4 March
1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Stuart Easton
3rd William Rowe
4th Brendon Eade
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Strathpsey & Reel
1st Stuart Easton
2nd Brendon Eade
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th Stewart McKenzie
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Stuart Easton
2nd Robert Gibb
3rd William Rowe
4th Brendon Eade
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

2 x 2/4 Marches
1st Brendon Eade
2nd Liam Kernaghan
3rd Stuart Easton
4th Jason Craig
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

6/8 March
1st Stewart McKenzie
2nd Iain Robertson
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th William Rowe
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Want to share your results with the entire piping and drumming world? Please forward with a few photos to pipes|drums:


SFU and Triumph Street split at BC Indoor

Published: April 5, 2015

Dowco Triumph Street competing in the Grade 1 MSR at the BCPA Annual Gathering.

Surrey, British Columbia – April 3-4, 2015 – The British Columbia Pipers Society’s Annual Gathering at the Clayton Heights Secondary School, and Dowco Triumph Street and Simon Fraser University each took a first in the Grade 1 band competitions. Jamie Troy won the MacCrimmon Cairn Piobaireachd event in the Professional grade, and Alastair Lee won the MSR and the Jig events, and took the aggregate prize. There was some controversy following the prize-giving when the Grade 1 band MSR result was not announced.

1st Simon Fraser University (1,1,1,1)
2nd Dowco Triumph Street (2,2,2,2)

1st Dowco Triumph Street (1,2,2,1) (EnsPref)
2nd Simon Fraser University (2,1,1,2)

Grade 2 (one played)
1st Robert Malcolm Memorial 2

Grade 3 (three competed)
1st Greighlan Crossing
2nd Columbia Regional
3rd Robert Malcolm Memorial 3

Grade 4 (three competed)
1st Keith Highlanders
2nd Northwest Junior
3rd White Spot

Grade 5 (two competed)
1st Robert Malcolm Memorial 5
2nd Fraser Valley Pipe Band

Judges for all band events: Colin MacLellan, Ian K. MacDonald (piping); Blair Brown (drumming); Rene Cusson (ensemble)

Video: Toronto Police sweeps Toronto Indoor

Published: April 4, 2015

The scene at the 2015 Toronto Indoor Games, Moss Park Armoury, Toronto

Toronto – April 4, 2015 – The Toronto Police Grade 1 band enjoyed three first prizes in their events at the Toronto Indoor Games, winning the Grade 1&2 band contest and both of the Grade 1&2 Quartet events. The games marked the first time that the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band competed as a Grade 1 band, and the debut of Paris Port Dover as a Grade 2 band. Matt MacIsaac returned to solo competition to enjoy a good day in the Professional grade, but it was Andrew Carlisle who was overall best, with two firsts and a second.

Grade 1&2
(four competed)
1st Toronto Police (1,1,2,1)
2nd Peel Regional Police (3,2,1,3)
3rd Ottawa Police Service (2,3,3,2)
4th Paris Port Dover (Gr2) (4,4,4,4)
Judges: Andrew Berthoff, Bob Worrall (piping); Dan Bist (drumming); John Elliott (ensemble)

Grade 3 (three competed)
1st Rob Roy (1,2,3,1) (EP)
2nd Toronto Police (1,1,2,2)
3rd Hamilton Police (3,3,1,3)
Judges: Gail Brown, Lynda Mackay (piping); Dan Bist (drumming); John Elliott (ensemble)

Grade 4 (five competed)
1st Guelph (1,1,4,3)
2nd Paris Port Dover (3,3,3,1)
3rd Chatham-Kent Police Services (4,4,1,2)
4th Arnprior MacNab (2,2,5,5)
5th Air Force City (5,5,2,4)
Judges: Brian Williamson, Peter Sinclair (piping); Dan Bist (drumming); Ken Eller (ensemble)

Grade 5 (three competed)
1st Barrie (1,1,1,2)
2nd Ryan Russell Memorial (2,2,3,1)
3rd Scarborough (3,3,2,3)
Judges: Gail Brown, Peter Sinclair (piping); Dan Bist (drumming); Ken Eller (ensemble)

Young James Kirkwood in the Grade 2 solo drumming.

Grade 1&2
(seven competed)
1st Toronto Police (Gr1)
2nd Ottawa Police – Dicker (Gr1)
3rd Ottawa Police – Anderson (Gr1)
4th Ottawa Police – Ridley (Gr1)
5th Peel Polce – A.Cairns (Gr1)
6th Peel Police – Alegretti (Gr1)
Judges: Ken Eller, John Elliott

MSR (nine competed)
1st Toronto Police (Gr1)
2nd Ottawa Police Services – Boyd (Gr1)
3rd Ottawa Police Services – Dicker (Gr1)
4th Paris Port Dover – (Gr2)
5th Ottawa Police Services – Bush (Gr1)
6th Peel Regional Police – Allegretti (Gr1)
Judges: Andrew Berthoff; Bob Worrall

Dylan Whittemore plays for a drummer at the 2015 Toronto Indoor.

Grade 3&4
Air & 6/8 March

1st Toronto Police – Urkovsky (Gr3)
2nd Guelph – Bridge (Gr4)
3rd Ryan Russell Memorial (Gr4)
4th Guelph – Dennis (Gr4)
5th Barrie – Kielgelmann (Gr4)
6th Scarborough – MacDougall (Gr4)
Judges: Ken Eller, Lynda Mackay

Solo Piping
(12 competed)
1st Andrew Carlisle
2nd Sean McKeown
3rd Ed Bush
4th Nick Hudson
5th Jacob Dicker
6th Elizabeth SheridanJudge: Bill Livingstone

MSR (12 competed)
1st Matt MacIsaac
2nd Andrew Carlisle
3rd Andrea Boyd
4th Sean McKeown
5th Alan Clark
6th Tyler Harris
Judge: Gail Brown

Freestyle (12 competed)
1st Andrew Carlisle
2nd Matt MacIsaac
3rd Sean McKeown
4th Josh MacFarlane
5th Tyler Harris
6th Jacob Dicker
Judge: John Elliott

Solo Drumming

MSR (four competed)
1st Iain Bell
2nd Chris Bell
3rd Joe Kiah
4th Neil Birkett
Judge: Dan Bist

Hornpipe & Jig (three competed)
1st Chris Bell
2nd Iain Bell
3rd Neil Birkett
Judge: Dan Bist

RSPBA loses Northern Ireland executive to Spring Gatherin’

Published: March 31, 2015

David Scott

David Scott, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s Northern Ireland Branch Executive Secretary since 2005, resigned from the association on the evening of March 31st, according to sources “due to mounting pressure from the branch executive” over the controversial Spring Gatherin’ event and the RSPBA’s reported concerns about the event holding pipe band competitions not sanctioned by the association.

Scott has joined the organizational team of The Spring Gatherin’, and said in a statement, “Though it saddens me to resign my post with the RSPBANI, I felt it was time for me to make a move to new and exciting ventures in piping and drumming. I very much look forward to The Spring Gatherin’ this April, as well as developing our plans for it in the years to come.”

He was already on the board of directors of Dalriada Events, the company behind The Spring Gatherin’ and sister company of the successful Belfast Tattoo.

An insider who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “David has been 100% forthright about his involvement in The Spring Gatherin’ with the [RSPBANI] Executive, but mumblings of ‘conflict of interest’ and ‘you should consider where your loyalties lie’ have forced him to make this move.”

The Spring Gatherin’ earlier decided to cancel its competitions in favour of unjudged performances, claiming that participating bands had been threatened with suspension by RSPBA officials if they took part.

David Scott is a drummer with the non-competing Drumlough Pipe Band of Rathfriland, Northern Ireland, and is well regarded and liked among Ulster pipers and drummers.

Colin Wasson, director of The Spring Gatherin’, said, “We are delighted that David has made the move to devote even more of his time and energies to The Spring Gatherin’. David has a wealth of knowledge and experience in promoting pipe band events and initiatives and he has played a key role in getting The Spring Gatherin’ off the ground.”

A combination of performances and workshops, the Spring Gatherin’ is scheduled for April 24-26 at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast. The event is in part modelled on the successful Winter Storm event held annually in January in Kansas City, Missouri.

Elite solo pipers already getting set for 2016


Boreraig_Cairn_smallThe Piobaireachd Society has prescribed its list of tunes for the major competitions in 2016 for the world’s best solo pipers, and they return to a familiar submit four, play one approach, which will follow a mainly “own choice” 2015.

Most of the tunes are familiar fare for accomplished pipers, with notable exception of two “modern” tunes set for the Senior competitions. “The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack” by John A. MacLellan and “A Son’s Salute to His Parents” by Donald MacLeod are for the first time set among ancient compositions.

In the Silver Medal, several tunes will be required to have their crunluath a mach variation played.

Senior (submit four, play one)
“The Bells of Perth” – Piobaireachd Society Book (PS) 2, Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor (K)
“The Earl of Ross’s March” – PS 10
“Lament for Hugh” – PS 13
“The MacDonalds’ Salute” – (corrected version) PS 11
“MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament” – PS 15, K
“The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack” – PS 20th Century Book
“A Son’s Salute to His Parents” – Donald MacLeod Book
“Scarce of Fishing” – PS 3, K

Gold Medal (submit four, play one)
“The Battle of Waternish” – PS 2, K
“The Gathering of Clan Chattan” – PS 2, K
“I got a Kiss of the King’s Hand” – PS 7, K
“Isabel Mackay” – PS 6, K
“Lament for MacSwan of Roaig” – PS 1, K
“Mary’s Praise” – PS 5, K
“My King Has Landed in Moidart” – PS 5, K
“The Stewarts’ White Banner” – PS 7

Silver Medal (submit four, play one)
“Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg” – PS 1
“Castle Menzies” – PS 8
“A Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach” – PS 5, K
“Hector MacLean’s Warning” (crunluath a mach required) PS 2
“I Am Proud to Play a Pipe” – PS 6, K
“The MacDonalds Are Simple” – (crunluath a mach required) PS 9
“The Piper’s Warning to His Master” – PS 12, K
“The Rout of the MacPhees” (crunluath a mach required) PS 4

The organization gave the usual cautions to comompetitors who want to deviate from the usual settings. Pipers wishing to delve in to alternative settings from almost every source known should check out William Donaldson’s Set Tunes Series, in which most of the tunes above are closely analyzed.

“There is always much deliberation goes into the selection of the set tune lists,” Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor told pipes|drums. “The process started some 18 months ago. Small groups of Music Committee members come up with draft lists, these are discussed by the full committee, then refined as necessary.

“I think the 2016 lists are a good mix, and a good test at the Senior, Gold and Silver levels. Of particular significance is the inclusion of ‘The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack’ by John MacLellan and ‘A Son’s Salute to His Parents’ by Donald MacLeod. These are now coming into the standard repertoire, and the music committee felt that they stand very favourably against the other classic older tunes in the list such as ‘Scarce of Fishing’ and ‘The Earl of Ross’s March.’ Colin MacLellan has kindly provided a definitive score of ‘The Phantom Piper’ and a recording of his father playing it, and these are posted on the Piobaireachd Society’s website.

“The gold medal players will surely enjoy getting familiar with the tunes on their list such as ‘Waternish,’ ‘MacSwan,’ ‘Mary’s Praise,’ ‘My King Has Landed’ and the like. They should make for an excellent competition.

“The standard in the Silver Medal is ever higher, and the shorter, attractive, but less usual tunes there should be a suitable challenge. We don’t hear the likes of ‘Dunyveg,’ ‘I’m Proud to Play a Pipe’ and ‘The Piper’s Warning’ often, so they will be a treat for the audience, the judges, and hopefully the players.”

  • Haves and have-nots
    Thu, 25 Jun 2015
    There are those pipe bands that have and those that have not. And increasingly there are competitions and Highland games that have and have not. The size and success of bands and competitions are linked. June 23rd was one of … Con …
Read more »
UPCOMING EVENTS July 1, 2015Pugwash Gathering of the ClansPugwash, Nova Scotia

July 1, 2015Embro Highland Games355644 35th Line, Embro, Ont.

July 2, 2015Instructors’ RecitalKing City, ON

July 4, 2015Penticton Scottish FestivalKings Park, Penticton, BC

July 4, 2015All Ireland ChampionshipOmagh

To ease the blowing-in period of a chanter reed, simply press the reed firmly in the lowest part of the blades between the finger and thumb until you feel both blades ease gently together. Continue to do this and keep blowing the reed until you find the reed giving an acceptible weight.
Tom McAllister, Jr.