Prairie Piping Invitational Draws Full House

Published: May 20, 2013
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Regina, Saskatchewan – May 18, 2013 - The revived Prairie Piping Invitational drew roughly 100 people for two hours of excellent piping. Organized by the Saskatchewan Highland Gathering & Celtic Festival, and sponsored by the City of Regina Pipe Band, the event featured six professional players competing with an 8-10 minute medley that had to include both the urlar of a piobaireachd, and also at least one tune by a Canadian composer.

A special feature of the contest was that the audience admission ticket was also a ballot, so that audience members got to select their favourite player. The six featured performers were Ann Gray, Calgary; Josh McFarlane, Winnipeg; Raphael Mercier, Saskatoon; Alex Rasmussen, Regina; Stewart Smith, Calgary; and Sean Somers, Calgary.

Adjudicator Bob Worrall selected three prizes, and a count of the audience ballots selected another.

1st Sean Somers
2nd Ann Gray
3rd Stewart Smith

Audience Favourite: Raphael Mercier

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers should avoid memorizing their music until the tune can be played from start to finish, fluidly, without error and at full speed. Once you memorize your music, it will become your reference every time you play. If your memory of the music has flaws in it, through repetition, you will permanently cement these flaws in your playing. Memorization is similar to the wood stain that would be added when building a bookcase – it would be the final touch to a finished product.
John Cairns, London, Ontario