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Glasgow Skye closing in on Pipe-Major search; SFU on for 2015 Pre-World’s Concert

Published: August 6, 2014

GlasgowSkye-logoIn terms of leadership opportunities, it’s one of the most plum roles out there: Pipe-Major of a thriving, ready-made Grade 2 pipe band, with an active membership, prize-winning credentials, and strong and realistic aspirations to return – for good – to Grade 1.

The Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band announced on July 2, 2014, that its popular leader Kenny MacLeod would step down after the World Championship, and the band has decided that “formal expressions of interest” should be submitted by Friday, August 22nd.

Band Treasurer Dougie Orr has said that so far “a number of potential candidates have made informal enquiries, but as the competition season comes to an end, the band have set a closing date for applicants. We want to have the new P-M appointed immediately after the World’s.”

Following the closing date for applications, the band as a whole will have a meeting on August 28th. MacLeod will not be a part of the discussion of selection process.

Glasgow Skye Pipe-Major Kenny MacLeod exiting with his band at the 2013 World Championships.

“We feel that it was only fair to give any potential candidate time with their existing band to complete the 2014 season prior to making any formal appointment. However, equally, we need to have a new appointment made at the earliest opportunity for the benefit of the band and its members,” Orr added.

Orr, who works as a human resources professional, provided a description of the ideal candidate for the prestigious and demanding role: “A dynamic individual who has the vision and drive to take the band forward to the top of our grade and beyond. The job involves building on the existing team and motivating people to contribute fully to help achieve the band aims. Although it would be good to have someone with a track record, it is also essential that the person can ‘fit in’ and utilize the resources of the band to best effect.”

Expressions of interest should be made directly to Dougie Orr via email.

The Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band was established in 1968, and has competed in the top grades throughout its existence, including several stints in Grade 1 under MacLeod’s direction. The group is also well known for putting on the annual “Pre-World’s Concert” at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, which this year features the Great Glasgow Police Scotland Pipe Band.

Orr also disclosed that tickets for the “Ceolry” concert are selling well, and compared sales to that of the 2012 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band concert, which turned into a near-sellout. He said that , in addition to keyboard player Mick MacNeil and singer Rachel Walker, the show will feature musicians Ewan Robertson on guitar, Allan Henderson on keyboards, and James Lyndsay on double-bass.

Orr also said that the 2015 concert will be mounted by the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, the fourth time that SFU will have taken the prestigious Pre-World’s stage since the early-1990s.

Watt lights up Lorient

Published: August 5, 2014

Robert Watt

Lorient, Brittany, France – August 4, 2014 – Robert Watt won the combined Scottish, Irish and Breton MacCrimmon Trophy event and placed second in the Piobaireachd to have the most overall success at the annual Highland piping competition at the Festival Interceltique Lorient. The MacCrimmon Trophy calls for each contestant to play a separate selection of each of the Celtic country’s music.

MacCrimmon Trophy (Breton, Irish and Scottish overall)
1st Robert Watt, Northern Ireland
2nd Stuart Easton, New Zealand
3rd Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh
4th Quentin Meunier, Brittany
5th Alexus Meunier, Brittany
Judges: Pascal Guingo, Yann Cariou (Breton); Andrew Frater, Bruce Hitchings (Scotland); Michael O’hAmhain, Bobby Brannigan (Ireland)

Piobaireachd
1st Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland
2nd Robert Watt
3rd Andrew Carlisle
4th Stuart Easton
5th Andrew Wilson, Northern Ireland
Judges: Andrew Frater, Bruce Hitchings

Callum Beaumont Skye high with rare double at Portree

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Callum Beaumont [photo: Derek Maxwell]

Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland – August 5, 2014 – Callum Beaumont achieved one of the rarest feats in solo piping, winning both the Dunvegan Medal and the Clasp to the medal on the same day at the Skye Gathering. The Dunvegan Medal calls for entrants to submit tunes accredited to or closely associated with the MacCrimmon piping dynasty of Skye. For good measure, Beaumont also won the 6/8 March. On Wednesday he will defend the Silver Chanter at Dunvegan Castle, which he won in 2013 on his first attempt.

Dunvegan Medal
1st Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
2nd Matt Pantaleoni, St. Louis, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
3rd Brian MacKenzie, “Lament for Mary MacLeod”
4th Martin Kessler, Germany, “Lament for Donald of Laggan”
5th Darach Urquhart, “The King’s Taxes”
Judges: Iain MacFadyen, Malcolm McRae, Iain Morrison

Col. Jock Clasp
1st Callum Beaumont, “Lament for the Children”
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Simon McKerrell
Judges: Alan Forbes, Malcolm McRae, Iain Morrison

6/8 March
1st Callum Beaumont
2nd R MacLeod
3rd Niall Stewart
4th Stuart Liddell
5th Jamie Forrester
Judges: Alan Forbes, Dugald MacNeill

Jig
1st Niall Stewart
2nd Jamie Forrester
3rd Callum Beaumont
4th Stuart Liddell
5th Andrew Hall
Judges: Alan Forbes, Dugald MacNeill

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more results from Skye as they become available.

Pick The Six! It’s back again with $2,500 in prizes for one canny reader!

Published: August 4, 2014

PickTheSix_newsIt’s the biggest contest in piping and drumming that doesn’t involve actual piping or drumming to determine the winner!

Yes, it’s pipes|drums Magazine’s annual Pick The Six contest in which one perceptive (and not a little lucky) reader will win a wonderful selection of prizes contributed by active advertisers, with a combined retail value of almost $2,500!

Check out this year’s prizes! (Be sure to check back, since we might still add more.)

BagpipeLessons.com a one-year membership to the BagpipeLessons.com Studio. Retail price: $240.

Boderiou Bagpipes one Boderiou poly band pipe chanter. Retail price: $205.

Bruce Gandy Music a six-pack of tunes. Retail price: $42.

Chris Armstrong Bagpipes Set of X-Treme standard drone reeds. Retail price: $130.

Elixir Piping & Drumming A book of the winner’s choice and all corresponding recordings and sheet music of exam pieces from the company’s wide selection of materials. Retail price: approx. $30.

Lee & Sons Bagpipes Any pipe bag of the winner’s choice: sheepskin, goatskin, cowhide with or without zipper and/or grommets. Retail price: $389.

Lyons Bagpipes On set Crozier Carbon Drone Reeds, $110 retail value, and a Moose Valve, $40 retail value.

Mayor Drum Supply Bass section prize pack: Set of Mayor Bass and Tenor Mallets; set of Hosbilt World’s Edition tenor drum heads (1 top head per drum); pair of Hosbilt bass heads with artwork (print ready art to be supplied); Mayor TMD. Total retail value: $1,100.

McGillivray Piping / Pipetunes.ca One copy of Rhythmic Fingerwork ($38); one copy of Piobaireachd Fingerwork ($38); and a $100 Pipetunes gift certificate.

Reelpipes a copy of Fred Morrison’s Outlands Collection ($35) and a copy of Along the Road ($25).

Sound Supreme Precision Made Reeds a half-dozen pipe chanter reeds to whatever strength and make of chanter required. Retail value: $75.

Walsh Bagpipes An adjustable blowpipe and protector so it can be removed from the blowpipe and be stored with the valve protected. Retail value: $135.

 

Help. My. Freakin. Boab! That’s a lot of great merchandise for one super-smart pipes|drums reader.

Now, just go the next page for the rules!

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(Updated) Confiscated! Two vintage bagpipes seized at US border

Published:

They did everything by the book. They had their CITES permits. They even disclosed to the officials that they were carrying instruments that featured antique ivory. But Campbell Webster and Eryk Bean, both age 17, are nonetheless each without their vintage Robertson drones after they attempted to return home to Massachusetts after a successful weekend in Canada competing at the games Maxville and Montreal.

Webster’s 1936 silver and ivory Robertsons are not just vintage pipes, they are an heirloom instrument, played for many years by his father Gordon Webster, who was a pipe-major with the 1st and 2nd Battalion Scots Guards and served for many years as the official piper to Queen Elizabeth II.

Bean’s drones are also Robertsons, with full ivory mounts, made in 1958, which he purchased in January of this year for US$7,000.

Campbell Webster (left) and Eryk Bean at the US-Canada border crossing after their vintage instruments were confiscated by US officials.

At first they were told that the pipes would be held for a week. But while pipes|drums was speaking with Campbell and Lezlie Webster, they received the devastating news that neither set of pipes would be returned.

Ever.

But the two were later informed that their pipes would in fact be returned to them, in what they hope would lead to the ultimate end in the roller-coaster two days.

“We were asked [by the Canadian official] our reason for travel, so I said ‘Maxville and Montreal games,’ ” Campbell Webster said about their trip out of the USA. “They asked if we had pipes. I said yes and also that they had ivory and we had CITES certificates. I knew I was flagged. I had spoken with a US Fish & Wildlife Department agent in Champlain, New York, and she informed me I needed an amendment to my CITES permit. I couldn’t get one in time to cross the border for Maxville games.”

Campbell Webster playing his father’s 1936 Robertsons.

So they decided to travel to Canada anyway, and got into the country with no trouble. But when they returned to the United States they were easy pickings for the US officials.

Having all paperwork in place – a CITES permit and the additional amendment – will cost a total of $238 each time an American takes an ivory instrument into Canada. When travelling abroad to places such as Scotland, Americans must schedule an appointment with an official at a “designated” port and make a declaration on their customs form, but there is no fee.

For an American piper with drones that feature ivory, the cost will be nearly $500 and a lot of hassle, even after doing everything by the current letter of the law.

Webster’s mother, Lezlie, who is also a prominent piper, has gotten State Senators involved, but so far even they have had no success.

“The boys are absolutely sick to their stomachs,” Lezlie Webster said upon receiving word that they might never recover the instruments.

The crackdown by US officials couldn’t come at a worse time, when dozens of the United States’ best pipers are about to travel to compete at the World Championships in Glasgow. They are now scrambling either to complete documentation or find replacement instruments that do not feature ivory mounts.

“No piper I know of supports the use of ivory today for new bagpipes,” said one piper who commented but did not wish his name to be used. “This looks like some sort of effort by officials to seize as much ‘contraband’ as possible to fulfill their job quotas. It’s absolutely idiotic.”

Webster said that he is worried the matter has alerted other smaller ports to be on the lookout for bagpipes.

“The CITES certificate is only good at main ports like airports,” he added. “We need to work on getting smaller port crossings without fees and extra paperwork. They’re going to have a lot of bagpipes very soon – enough to start their own pipe band.”

Campbell Webster said that Wallace Bagpipes of Glasgow has already stepped up to loan him an instrument when he competes in Scotland in August, should he need it.

 

Ferguson soaks up Aboyne glory

Published: August 3, 2014

Gavin Ferguson

Aboyne, Scotland – August 2, 2014 – Gavin Ferguson had a fine day in the senior solo piping at the Aboyne Games, where 16 competed on a dry morning but rainy in the afternoon.

Piobaireachd
1st Allan Russell, “Lament for the Only Son”
2nd Gavin Ferguson, “The Groat”
3rd Anna Kummerlow, “Corrienessan’s Salute”
4th Craig Sutherland, “Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute”
Judges: Ronald Clark, Norman Mathieson, Malcolm McRae

March
1st Gavin Ferguson
2nd Greig Canning
3rd Allan Russell
4th Craig Sutherland
Judges: Jimmy Banks, Bill Wotherspoon

Strathspey & Reel
1st Greig Canning
2nd Gavin Ferguson
3rd Craig Sutherland
4th Allan Russell
Judges: Jimmy Banks, Bill Wotherspoon

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Craig Sutherland
2nd Robert Gibb
3rd Ursa Beckford
4th Allan Russell
Judges: Duncan Watson, Bill Wotherspoon

HD video: 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel): 2014 North American Champions

Published: August 2, 2014

Maxville, Ontario – August 2, 2014 – The 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) won the 2014 North American Pipe Band Championship at the 67th annual Glengarry Highland Games in very warm weather, with thunderstorms threatening later in the afternoon, but which never materialized. In Grade 2, the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band continued its glide to Grade 1 status with a win of both events, and Dunedin from Florida took the Grade 3 contest. Bruce Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, gained the overall award in the Professional Solo Piping, and thus North American Champion. Derek Cooper won the equivalent for Professional Solo Drumming.

78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) competing in the Grade 1 MSR, on their way to winning the 2014 North American Championship.

Bands
Grade 1

Overall
1st 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel)
2nd 78th Fraser Highlanders
3rd Toronto Police
4th Peel Regional Police
Drumming: 78th Fraser Highlanders

Medley
1st 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (3,1,1,1)
2nd 78th Fraser Highlanders (1,3,2,3)
3rd Toronto Police (2,2,4,4)
4th Peel Regional Police (4,4,3,2)
Drumming: 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel)
Judges: Glenna MacKay-Johnstone, Bob Worrall (piping); Greg Dinsdale (drumming); John Elliott (ensemble)

We are pleased to provide high-definition audio-video from the Grade 1 competition. Regrettably, due to a distraction, we did not capture the medley of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel). Our thanks to Richard King for providing his own video of the band’s performance.

MSR
1st 78th Fraser Highlanders (ensemble preference) (3,4,1,1)
2nd 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (2,2,3,2)
3rd Toronto Police (1,1,4,4)
4th Peel Regional Police (4,3,2,3)
Drumming: 78th Fraser Highlanders
Judges: Colin MacLellan, Iain Symington (piping); Ciaran Mordaunt (drumming); Reay Mackay (ensemble)

Grade 2 (four competed)
Overall
1st Ottawa Police Service
2nd Greater Midwest
3rd Fredericton Society of St. Andrew
4th City of Regina
Drumming: Greater Midwest

Medley
1st Ottawa Police Service (1,1,2,1)
2nd Greater Midwest (2,2,1,2)
3rd Fredericton Society of St. Andrew (4,4,3,3)
4th City of Regina (3,3,4,4)
Judges: Colin MacLellan, Iain Symington (piping); Ciaran Mordaunt (drumming); Reay Mackay (ensemble)

MSR
1st Ottawa Police Service (2,1,3,1)
2nd Greater Midwest (1,4,2,2)
3rd Fredericton Society of St. Andrew (3,2,1,3)
4th City of Regina (4,3,4,4)
Judges: Glenna MacKay-Johnstone, Bob Worrall Charlie MacDonald (piping); Greg Dinsdale (drumming); John Elliott (ensemble)

Grade 3 (MSR, 12 competed)
1st Dunedin (2,1,3,1)
2nd MacMillan (1,2,9,2)
3rd Paris/Port Dover (3,4,5,4)
4th Ulster Scottish (6,7,1,3)
5th Toronto Police (4,5,4,5)
6th Dartmouth & District (7,3,6,6)
Judges: Charlie MacDonald, Dan Lyden (piping); Dave Coleman (drumming);
Bob MacCrimmon (ensemble)

Grade 4 (march medley, 14 competed)
1st Rob Roy (2,2,3,2)
2nd St. Columcille United Gaelic (3,4,5,1)
3rd Dunedin (8,1,2,3)
4th Arnprior MacNab (1,5,8,4)
5th Guelph (5,7,1,5)
6th Grand Celtic (4,3,9,7)
Judges: Glenna MacKay-Johnstone, Bob Worrall (piping); Greg Dinsdale (drumming); John Elliott (ensemble)

Grade 5 (march medley, nine competed)
1st Hamilton Police (2,1,1,1)
2nd Lindsay (1,2,2,3)
3rd Grand Celtic (3,3,6,2)
4th White Heather (5,5,4,4)
5th Durham Regional Police (4,4,5,9)
6th Glengarry (6,6,7,7)
Judges: Iain Symington, Charlie MacDonald (piping); Dave Coleman (drumming);
Bob MacCrimmon (ensemble)

Professional Solo Piping
Piobaireachd
A-Grade
(13 competed)
1st Andrew Berthoff, “The Old Men of the Shells” #1
2nd Andy Rogers, “The Blue Ribbon”
3rd Ian K. MacDonald, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
4th Bruce Gandy, “The Big Spree”
5th Alex Gandy, “MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart”
6th Glenn Walpole, “In Praise of Morag”
Judge: Bob Worrall

B-Grade (14 competed)
1st Nick Hudson
2nd Dylan Whittemore
3rd Alan Clark
4th Steven Tripp
5th Michael MacDonald
6th Dan Lyden
Judge: Reay Mackay

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Dicker wins Gold; McKeown hits the Bar in Maxville Friday Piob events

Published: August 1, 2014

Jacob Dicker

Maxville, Ontario – August 1, 2014 – Jacob Dicker of Kingston, Ontario, won the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) at the Glengarry Highland Games against 14 other contestants on the Professional-grade contest. Sean McKeown of Toronto was the winner of the Bar to the Gold Medal competition, reserved for previous winners of the Gold Medal contest. Conditions were warm at the indoor competition.

Colin MacLellan judged both events.

Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) (15 competed)
1st Jacob Dicker, “The Bells of Perth”
2nd Dylan Whittemore, Kitchener, Ontario, “The Red Speckled Bull”
3rd Andrea Boyd, Ottawa, “The Big Spree”
4th Elizabeth Sheridan, Oakville, Ontario, “Black Donald’s March”
5th Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh, “MacLeod of Raasay’s Salute”

Also competing but not in the prizes: Daniel Carr, Alan Clark, Dan Lyden, Eilidh MacDonald, Michael MacDonald, Andrew Mackay, Steven Tripp, MacGregor van de Ven, Glenn Walpole and Robert Wilson

Sean McKeown

Bar to the Medal (eight competed)
1st Sean McKeown, “The Battle of Aldearn” #2
2nd Andrew Berthoff, Toronto, “Lament for Captain MacDougall
3rd Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee”

Also competing but not in the prizes: Andrew Hayes, Ian K. MacDonald, Doug MacRae, Scott McIntosh and Andy Rogers.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the Saturday solo piping and drumming and pipe band competitions as they become available.

 

Gillies Collection officially opens at Piping Live!

Published: July 31, 2014

New printed collections of pipe music are becoming less and less frequent, and one that represents the compositions of three generations of one piping family is unique. The Gillies Collection, a new compilation featuring the tunes Norman, Alasdair and Norrie Gillies, will be unveiled at Piping Live! at 11 am, August 14th, with performances by former members of the Queens Own Highlanders, the great solo piper Gordon Walker, Darach Urquhart and the Ullapool & District Pipe Band.

The Gillies Collection features compositions and arrangements from my family and includes a varied range of tunes,” said Norrie Gilles. “Most of these tunes are easy enough for the average piper and are all set out in an easy-to-read format. The book itself has been a plan in my family for years and was previously started by my father, Alasdair Gillies, before a computer malfunction set him back.”

Norrie Gillies said that his friend Gary Nimmo, a piping tutor . . .

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Midges an extra test for pipers at Arisaig

Published:
Bova_Andrew_2014

Andrew Bova, winner of the Strathspey & Reel at Arisaig

Arisaig, Scotland – July 30, 2014 – Decker Forrest was the overall winner, but the prizes were generally spread around, with 11 pipers competing in the senior events in cool and rainy weather in the morning and early afternoon, giving way to warm and sunny conditions later on. The midges were in full force.

Piobaireachd
1st Decker Forrest
2nd Caitlin MacDonald
3rd David Richsmiller
4th Andrew Hall
5th Neil Clark
Judge: Archie MacLean

March
1st Callum McColl
2nd Decker Forrest
3rd Dan Nevans
4th Andrew Hall
Judge: Iain MacFadyen

Strathspey & Reel
1st Andrew Bova
2nd Dan Nevans
3rd Jonathan Simpson
4th Neil Clark
Judge: Iain MacFadyen

Jig
1st Decker Forrest
2nd Jonathan Simpson
3rd Andrew Bova
4th Caitlin MacDonald
Judge: Iain MacFadyen

From Winnipeg, a patented new twist on chanter-tuning

Published: July 30, 2014

The inner-workings of the patented Campbell tuning mechanism.

When tuning a pipe section, many a good reed has been ruined after hearing the dreaded nick of a delicate corner of cane against the chanter stock, but Kyle Campbell of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, has seemingly solved that and all the other adjustment hassles with a patented new mechanism.

It allows for reed adjustments without having to remove the instrument or touch the reed. A series of gears and an external knob allow the reed to be moved slightly sharper or flatter, saving time, aggravation and risk. Campbell said the integrated mechanism is corrosion-proof.

The Campbell tuning mechanism integrated into a finished McCallum Mark 3 chanter.

After 10 years of research and development, Campbell will finally officially launch his chanter in Glasgow at Piping Live! on August 12th with Willie McCallum and Craig Muirhead demonstrating, each representing McCallum Bagpipes, which has licensed the mechanism for a new “Campbell” model, integrated with a McCallum Mark 3 plastic chanter.

Campbell worked with McCallum Bagpipes to design the logo, website and literature for the product, modified to fit the components.

“It sounds fantastic and works flawlessly,” Campbell said. “The chanter is based on . . .

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Rudolph reigns dear on PBASA Solo Invitational

Published: July 29, 2014

Gareth Rudolph

Johannesburg – July 27, 2014 – Gareth Rudolph was the overall winner of the Pipe Band Association of South Africa’s Invitational Solo Piping Competition held at The View in Parktown. Nine competitors played and Bob Worrall judged everything.

Piobaireachd
1st Gareth Rudolph, “The End of the Great Bridge”
2nd Nicholas Taitz, “Lord Lovat’s Lament”
3rd Bradley Boxall, “The Glen is Mine”
4th Richard Payn, “Park Piobaireachd No. 2″
5th Chris Couperthwaite, “A Flame of Wrath for Patrick Caogach”
6th Thomas Fuller, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”

March, Strathspey & Reel
1st Richard Payn, “The Crags of Stirling,” “The Doune of Invernochty,” “Loch Carron”
2nd Thomas Fuller, “Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban,” “The Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “The Sheepwife”
3rd Gareth Rudolph, “The 91st at Modder River,” “Bob of Fettercairn,” “Champion Piper”
4th Chris Couperthwaite, “Lady Lever Park,” “John Roy Stewart,” “Lt. Colonel DJS Murray”
5th Bradley Boxall, “Hugh Kennedy BSc,” “Dora MacLeod,” The Sheepwife”
6th Malcolm Chadwick, “Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band,” “Dornie Ferry,” “Thomson’s Dirk”

Benoni MacTalla takes South African Championship

Published: July 28, 2014

Benoni, South Africa July 26, 2014 – On a warm sunny day at Benoni High School, Grade 2 Benoni MacTalla delivered two winning performances in both events to take the title South African Champions 2014. African Skye’s overall undefeated streak came to an end as a result, but won the aggregate Champion of Champions title for the year. The Transvaal Scottish Drum corps took the South African Drumming Champions title and was named crowned Champion of Champions 2014.

Grade 2
MSR
1st Benoni MacTalla (1,3,3,1)
2nd Transvaal Scottish (4,1,1,2)
3rd African Skye (3,2,4,3)
4th MacChamberlain Richmond Avenue (2,5,2,5)
5th 1 Medical Battalion (5,4,5,4)
Judges Roy Blevins, Laurence Davies (piping); Gareth McLuckie (drumming); Bob Worrall (ensemble)

Medley
1st Benoni MacTalla (1,2,3,1)
2nd African Skye (2,1,2,3)
3rd Transvaal Scottish (3,4,1,2)
4th 1 Medical Battalion (4,3,5,4)
5th MacChamberlain Richmond Avenue (5,5,4,5)
Roger Davies, Geoff Irvine (piping); Kevi Levin (drumming); Bob Worrall (ensemble)

Benoni MacTalla in a celebratory mood after winning the 2014 South African Pipe Band Champions title.

Grade 3
1st Sandton Scottish (2014 Champion of Champions)
2nd Glen Allen
3rd SA Irish Regiment

Grade 4
1st Knysna & District (2014 Champion of Champions)
2nd African Skye Grade 4
3rd Transvaal Scottish Grade 4

Juvenile
1st Pretoria Boys Juvenile (2014 Champion of Champions)
2nd St. Benedict’s Juvenile
3rd Benoni Juvenile

Novice Juvenile
1st Jeppe CBC Boksburg (2014 Champion of Champions)
2nd King Edward VII
3rd Benoni Novice Juvenile

Nearly 220 contestants readying for 2014 North American Championships

Published:

The 2014 North America Championships at the Glengarry Highland Games won’t quite reach the record entry of bands and soloists of 2011, but this year’s events on August 1-2 in Maxville, Ontario, will see 47 bands and more than 170 solo pipers and drummers hit the event, Maxville_logo_2014the world’s largest in terms of separate contestants.

According to the event’s Director of Bands, Gilbert Young, almost a third of the bands entered are travelling from outside of the home province of Ontario, including eight from the USA. The Peel Regional Police will defend their North American Champions title, while in Grade 2 the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band will do the same.

The Grade 2 event has shrunk to five bands, down from the double-digit entries of the early-2000s, and Grade 1 will feature four bands, with only the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) coming in to compete against the three Ontario-based bands of Peel, the 78th Fraser Highlanders and the Toronto Police. But the four-band Grade 1 contest will be one more than in 2013.

For the first time, the entry to the traditional Friday Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada), Competition is being limited to 23 competitors, accepted on a first-come, first-entered basis. The games are bringing in one-time Maxville resident Colin MacLellan, who now lives in his native Edinburgh, to adjudicate the Gold Medal and former winners Bar to the Medal events.

Similarly on Saturday RSPBA judge Ciarán Mordaunt of Dublin will judge the solo snare drumming and bands.

Weather forecast for Friday and Saturday is mainly sunny, with a chance of thundershowers and a high of 26 degrees.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the 2014 North American Championships as they become available and HD video from the pipe band events.

Duncan narrowly misses St. Andrew’s course record

Published: July 27, 2014

Ben Duncan

St. Andrew’s, Scotland – July 27, 2014 – Ben Duncan had the most success, with two first and a third, at the annual St. Andrew’s Highland Games. Weather was changeable in the early afternoon with intermittent heavy showers, but cleared up and ended with a warm, sunny evening. Roderick Barron judged everything.

Senior (eight competed)
March
1st Ben Duncan
2nd Andrew Bova
3rd Ross Millar
4th Nils Michael

Strathspey & Reel
1st Ben Duncan
2nd Jonathan Simpson
3rd Ross Millar
4th Andrew Bova

Jigs
1st Andrew Bova
2nd Jonathan Simpson
3rd Ben Duncan
4th Ross Millar

Junior (six competed)
March
1st Ciaren Ross
2nd Connor Jardine
3rd John Dew
4th Harris MacLennan

Strathspey & Reel
1st John Dew
2nd Ciaren Ross
3rd Connor Jardine
4th Ewan Cameron

Triumph Street stops 20 years of SFU North American domination

Published:

Triumph_Street_logo09Enumclaw, Washington – July 26-27, 2014 – Simon Fraser University Pipe Band’s run of 20 straight years of victories in North America came to an end with Dowco Triumph Street’s wins in each of the MSR and Medley on separate days. The two-day event called for an MSR and a Medley competition on both days. Each band finished first on one of the days in each event. The last time that SFU lost a circle in North America was in 1995 when the 78th Fraser Highlanders beat them at Vail, Colorado.

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

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

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

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

Judges for all four competitions were John Toohey, Colin Mackenzie (piping); Scott Robertson (drumming); Rene Cusson (ensemble)

Do you have results from a piping, drumming and/or pipe band competition? pipes|drums welcomes all results. Please send them in an e-mail in the format above, along with information on judges and, preferably, a good photo: editor@pipesdrums.com

Field Marshal Montgomery wins 2014 Scottish Championships

Published: July 26, 2014

FMM-logoDumbarton, Scotland – July 26, 2014 – In very warm conditions that held until later in the afternoon when heavy rain fell, cancelling the march-past, the 2014 Scottish Pipe Band Championships went on. The Scottish was the penultimate RSPBA major of the year, with only the World Championships remaining. Field Marshal Montgomery won the event, virtually locking up the 2014 Champion of Champions overall title, with three firsts out of the five major contests. Inveraray & District, which won the European Championships in late June, dropped down to a fourth prize. Ballycoan entered in Grade 1 but did not compete.

ScottishChamps_IndoorMarquee

The scene from the tent, where due to the rain the prizes were announced at the Scottish Championships.

The RSPBA started random audits of bands to ensure their rosters were accurate, a crackdown on contestants potentially fiddling the system that requires all competing members to be released/registered within two weeks of the event. About two bands were randomly checked at the final tuning areas in each grade, with no apparent concerns.

Grade 1 (MSR, 12 competed)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (2,1,5,1)
2nd ScottishPower (4,3,3,3)
3rd Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (3,2,1,7)
4th Inveraray & District (1,4,6,4)
5th St. Laurence O’Toole (6,6,4,2)
6th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (7,5,2,6)
Drumming: Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate
Judges: John Wilson, Jim Campbell (piping); Sandy Steele (drumming); Alan Ronaldson (ensemble)

Grade 2 (medley, 15 competed)
1st Bleary & District (1,1,2,2)
2nd Lomond & Clyde (5,2,3,3)
3rd Torphichen & Bathgate (2,4,5,4)
4th Buchan Petersen (7,7,1,1)
5th Police Service of Northern Ireland (4,3,8,6)
6th Manorcunningham (6,5,6,5)
Drumming: Buchan Petersen
Judges: Ken Eller, Malcolm Mackenzie (piping); Gordon Parkes (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

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MacColl, Dunn, Liddell lock up Inveraray

Published: July 25, 2014

Connor Sinclair competing in the B-Grade March event at Inveraray Games. [Photo: Inveraray Games]

Inveraray, Scotland – July 22, 2014 – The Inveraray Games are probably the most major of all non-indoor solo piping events in Scotland, and the 2014 edition drew the usual large entry, playing in dry and sunny conditions. Argyllshire pipers seemed to like the local contest. Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland, Stuart Liddell of Inveraray and Margaret Dunn of Glasgow took home the top prizes in the top categories.

Premier & A-Grade Piobaireachd
1st Angus MacColl, “The End of the Great Bridge”
2nd Faye Henderson, “Donald Gruamach’s March”
3rd Callum Beaumont, “Lament for the Union”
4th Margaret Dunn, “Lady Margaret MacDonald Salute”
5th John Angus Smith, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
6th Derek Midgley, “The Vaunting”
Judges: Stuart Shedden, Jack Taylor

A-Grade
March
1st Margaret Dunn
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Gordon Walker
4th Alasdair Henderson
5th Alan Russell
6th Callum Beaumont
Judges: Andrew Frater, Iain MacLellan,

Strathspey & Reel
1st Stuart Liddell
2nd Alasdair Henderson
3 Gavin Ferguson
4th Margaret Dunn
5th Finlay Johnston
6th Peter Hunt
Judges: Walter Cowan, Ronnie McShannon

B-Grade
Piobaireachd
1st Ben Duncan, “The Desperate Battle”
2nd Gavin Ferguson, “Duntrune’s Salute”
3rd Connor Sinclair, “Lament for Captain MacDougall”
4th Sandy Cameron, “Battle of Auldearn”
5th Ashley McMichael, “MacKay’s Banner”
6th George Stewart, “Too Long in this Condition”
Judges: Chris Armstrong, Alan Forbes, Colin MacLellan

March
1st Ben Duncan
2nd Callum Moffat
3rd David Shedden
4th Connor Sinclair
5th Chris Gray
6th Bradley Parker
Judges: Walter Cowan, Ronnie McShannon

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“Abercairney’s Salute” – the latest in Dr. William Donaldson’s 2014 Set Tune Series

Published: July 24, 2014

Exclusive to readers of pipes|drums Magazine, we bring you the latest installment in Dr. William Donaldson’s 2014 Set Tunes Series, an analysis of the piobaireachds set for this year’s major solo piing competitions.

Simply click on the first page below to go to the full tune and MP3 audio file, and the complete archive of the more than 140 piobaireachds in the series.

Click on the image to go to the full Set Tunes Series.

Another p|d first: HD video from within the competition circle

Published: July 22, 2014

With only two Grade 2 bands on the Ontario circuit, the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band was the only entrant in the grade at the 2014 Cambridge Highland Games at Cambridge, Ontario, on July 19th. While this is normally a disappointment for the listeners, pipes|drums recognized a potential opportunity.

What if we captured video not only around the band, but inside the actual circle while the band performed in the event?

We couldn’t recall this perspective occurring before in a video of a band competing, since under normal competition circumstances it could be a distraction to the players. Even the BBC relies on state-of-the-art booms to minimize the chance of distraction to the competitors at the World Championships.

With the Ottawa Police playing well – even at a proven Grade 1 standard – and the event calling for a medley, the single-entry contest might be salvaged by making a bit of history.

We ran the idea past Pipe-Major Andrew Hayes, and he was quick not just to say yes, but to video “whatever you want,” placing complete trust in us. He made an announcement to his band, and they, too, welcomed it. Next, we ran it by the PPBSO steward on duty, and he confirmed that, as long as the band was okay with it, he saw no problem. We also asked the judges if would be okay, and they confirmed: no problem.

So, what you see here is another first by pipes|drums: a top-flight band captured in top form from inside the actual circle during a contest performance.

We start with excerpts from the band’s final tuning, progress to their march to the contest area, and finish with their full performance in the Grade 2 event.

Note the instant change in the quality of sound when we go inside the circle. If there were ever good evidence for why a pipe band should face the judges and the audience, this must be it. The projection from all instruments is dramatically better. It’s a completely different experience and sound from the relatively muffled effect of pipers and drummers huddled together with their backs to the audience.

Inside the circle of a well-tuned top-grade band is a vortex of tone, and we hope that you enjoy the experience as much as we did.

Our thanks to the PPBSO, the adjudicators, Pipe-Major Andrew Hayes and all of the members of the Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band for allowing us to bring you something new, and make just a little history along the way.

  

American pipers scrambling for CITES permits before heading to Glasgow

Published: July 21, 2014
Drones_small

A classic set of Highland pipes with real ivory mounts are increasingly at risk of being confiscated by US Customs authorities.

With rare exceptions, newly harvested elephant or “marine” ivory has not adorned new sets of Highland pipes since the early-1980s, but instruments made before that time frequently used the now-banned material for projecting mounts, ferules, soles and rings.

And American pipers travelling with older drones with ivory ornamentation are concerned that a recent crackdown by their government will result in the permanent confiscation of their precious instruments. With dozens of American pipers planning to travel to both the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, Canada, and the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow concerns are spreading as fast as wildfire.

Ron Bowen of St. Catharines, Ontario, who operates a website called The Bagpipe Place is trying to make things easier for pipers, with information on the matter, and even a program to assess and certify pipes with older ivory manufactured before the US government’s June 2014 strict enforcement of what they consider to be an illegal use of ivory.

Penalties if caught can not only result in the confiscation of an instrument, but fines and even imprisonment, although there is no known case of the latter two punishments.

The last page of Ron Bowen’s assessment of Scott MacDonald’s MacPhee drones.

Essentially, pipers with ivory adorned instruments need a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permit that proves either that the instrument was imported before 1990 in accordance with CITES regulations, or imported prior to 1976, before relevant CITES regulations were enacted, and that the pipes were acquired before February 25, 2014.

Bowen warns that if pipes are seized by US Customs officials, there is little chance of their return.

“They are often donated to museums or used in public displays to educate travelers about the risks of travelling with endangered species products without the required permits,” Bowen said. “You may see displays like this at many large airports. In some cases, seized items are destroyed.”

In preparation for his trip to Scotland with the Grade 1 Los Angeles Scots Pipe Band, Scott MacDonald is taking every precaution, starting with an assessment of his circa-1880 Donald MacPhee silver and ivory-mounted drones by Bowen, and now with the recent delivery of his CITES permit.

MacDonald recently learned that each time he travels out of and back to the United States with his pipes he will need to arrange an interview and a . . .

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Video demonstration: Chris Armstrong goes to the X-TREME with new hydrophobic drone reeds

Published:

Chris Armstrong’s X-TREME Premium drone reeds are made from a moisture-resistant material.

Since Mark Wygent introduced the first all-synthetic drone reeds back in the early-1990s, the market has become busy with varieties in all manner of shapes, sizes and prices. But, if Gold Medallist and ScottishPower Pipe-Major Chris Armstrong is right, his new X-TREME reeds will take things to a whole different level.

Armstrong launched the reeds exclusively with pipes|drums on July 21, 2014, after more than a year of research and development, culminating with him successfully using the Premium version of the reeds in his own instrument in several solo and band competitions in covert tests.

The reeds, which Armstrong said feature a “zing” from the tenors and a reliable and rich bass, are offered in two varieties, with the £85 X-TREME Premium model constructed of moisture resistant – or hydrophobic – material, and a £65 X-TREME Standard version for those less concerned with wetness issues.

The branding of the reeds continues from Armstrong’s all-digital X-TREME music collection.

Armstrong is making the reeds available at the outset exclusively from his online store at chrisarmstrong.co, but plans to add at least one major retailer in each piping-rich country “in the near future.” He will also introduce them at a recital at the Street Café at Piping Live! on August 13th at 11 am, where he and a ScottishPower quartet will play a several sets, with the reeds on sale to those sold by the tone.

“There are details about the design such a finer-pitched thread on the tuning screw that makes them more airtight and a finer level of precision in achieving the same height on the tuning pins than other brands on the market,” Armstrong said. “I wanted to create something that used a proper hydrophobic/moisture resistant material, and the reeds had to sound as good as or better than the reeds that I had been playing previously. In a nutshell, I had to be happy that what I have created would stand the test of me potentially playing on the stage at the Glenfiddich – and I am.”

He stressed that both versions of the reeds “give the same rich sound and are manufactured to the same levels of precision the only difference being the moisture resistance created by the hydrophobic material in the Premium sets. The material itself is more expensive and this is reflected in the price.”

Armstrong said that a few prominent solo pipers are using the reeds, but would not divulge their names. He added that several pipers with ScottishPower have the reeds in their pipes, but that he has no plans to require the entire band to use them.

pipes|drums connected with Chris Armstrong for a brief interview on the research and development of the reeds, and a video demonstration of the X-TREME Premium model in his own pipes:

 

Inverness Gathering goes to McCalister

Published: July 20, 2014

Peter McCalister

Inverness, Scotland – July 19, 2014 – Peter McAlister was the overall winner at the Inverness Piping Society’s solo piping events at the Inverness Highland Gathering in warm temperatures but mixed with very heavy showers in the afternoon. Twelve competed in the Senior MSR and 11 in the piobaireachd.

Piobaireachd
1st Peter McCalister
2nd Decker Forrest
3rd Jenny Hazzard
4th Stephen Spencer
5th Neil Clark
Judges: James Jackson, Iain MacFadyen

MSR
1st Colin Campbell
2nd Euan MacCrimmon
3rd James MacPhee
4th Duncan Beattie
5th Decker Forrest
Judges: Rona Lightfoot, Andy Venters

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Euan MacCrimmon
2nd James MacPhee
3rd Decker Forrest
4th Neil Clark
5th Jenny Hazzard
Judges: Rona Lightfoot, Andy Venters

Junior
Piobaireachd
1st Cameron MacDougall
2nd Brighde Campbell
3rd Angus MacPhee

MSR
1st Brighde Campbell
2nd Cameron MacDougall
3rd Angus MacPhee
4th Ruben Green
5th Thomas MacLean

HD videos: 78th Frasers first at rainy Cambridge

Published: July 19, 2014

Crowds crammed into the beer tent at the rain-soaked Cambridge Highland Games following the Grade 1 band competition.

Cambridge, Ontario – July 19, 2014 – The 78th Fraser Highlanders continued their perfect season in Ontario with another win in Grade 1, this time at the annual Cambridge Highland Games. Despite two firsts in piping, the Toronto Police finished third in the four-band event. Weather was overcast all day, and rain held off for the most part until about 3:30 pm when the skies opened up, hitting the Grade 1 band contest hard. Ian K. MacDonald once again came away with the Professional Piper of the Day aggregate prize. Elizabeth Shaw was Professional Snare Drummer of the Day.

Bands
Grade 1 (MSR, four competed)
1st 78th Fraser Highlanders (2,2,1,2)
2nd Peel Regional Police (3,3,2,1)
3rd Toronto Police (1,1,4,4)
4th Ottawa Police (Gr2) (4,4,3,3)
Judges: John Elliott, Ed Gorman (piping); Mike Hunter (drumming); Ken Eller (ensemble)

Grade 2 (medley, one entered)
1st Ottawa Police
Judges: Ed Gorman, John Elliott (piping); Mike Hunter (drumming); Ken Eller (ensemble)

Grade 3 (medley, eight competed)
1st Paris Port Dover (1,1,2,1)
2nd Toronto Police (Gr3) (2,2,3,4)
3rd Hamilton Police (5,4,1,2)
4th Niagara Police (3,5,4,3)
5th Windsor Police (4,6,5,7)
6th Glengarry (6,3,8,8)
7th Durham Regional Police (7,7,7,5)
8th Chicago Celtic (8,8,6,6)
Judges: Ed Gorman, John Elliott (piping); Mike Hunter (drumming); Ken Eller (ensemble)

Grade 4 (medley, seven competed)
1st Rob (1,3,1,1)
2nd Grand Celtic (2,1,4,4)
3rd Guelph (3,2,6,2)
4th Chatham Kent Police Services (4,6,3,5)
5th Lindsay (7,4,5,3)
6th York Regional Police (6,5,2,6)
7th Forest City Celtic (5,7,7,7)
Judges: Gail Brown, Lynda Mackay (piping); Brian McCue (drumming); Peter Sinclair (ensemble)

Grade 5 (march medley, 11 competed)
1st Hamilton Police (Gr5) (4,2,1,3)
2nd Paris Port Dover (Gr5) (6,1,4,1)
3rd Lindsay (Gr5) (5,4,2,4)
4th Cambridge (3,6,6,2)
5th Barrie (1,3,9,5)
6th Grand Celtic (2,5,5,6)
7th Durham Regional Police (Gr5) (8,8,3,9)
8th Ryan Russell Memorial (9,9,8,7)
9th Scarborough (7,11,7,8)
10th Windsor Police (Gr5) (10,7,10,10)
11th Dundas (11,10,11,11)
Judges: Gail Brown, Lynda Mackay (piping); Brian McCue (drumming); Peter Sinclair (ensemble)

Professional Solo Piping
Piobaireachd
A-Grade (10 competed)
1st Ian K. MacDonald, “His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie”
2nd Andrew Berthoff, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
3rd Andrew Hayes, “Lament for the Laird of Annapool”
4th Ed Bush
5th Andrea Boyd
6th Doug MacRae
Judge: Peter Aumonier

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February 27, 2015MacKenzie Caledonian in Concert

TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: Need to manipulate your pipe chanter reed? – use a pen knife or Xacto knife instead of sandpaper. You have much more control on the amount of cane you take off with a knife vs. sandpaper. And it is much better for the cane itself; other woodworkers call this technique “feathering.”
Donald MacPhee, reedmaker, Alexandria, Scotland

FROM THE ARCHIVES