Oban Day 2: Johnston, Lee win A’s; Harper, Duncan win B’s

Published: August 25, 2016

Oban, Scotland – August 25, 2016 – The second day of competitions at the 2016 Argyllshire Gathering took the traditional turn outside for the remaining light music events. The day began with the traditional march to the games, with the winner of the Gold Medal, Ian K. MacDonald, leading the group of pipers, who played “The Argyllshire Gathering” into the games park.

In the first results, Callum Harper of Ontario and Ben Duncan of Edinburgh won the B-Grade March and Strathspey & Reel, respectively. The A-Grade March was then won by Finlay Johnston and Alastair Lee took the A-Grade Strathspey & Reel.

2016 Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medallist Ian K. MacDonald (front left) in the pipe-major position for the traditional march to the games at Oban, Scotland, with Silver Medallist Nick Hudson in the pipe-sergeant spot. Sean McKeown (second in the Gold Medal) and MacGregor Memorial winner Finlay Cameron make up the rest of the front rank.

The event marks to the day the fortieth anniversary of the gender breakthrough at the major Scottish piping competitions, when, in 1976, Patricia Henderson (nee Innes) and Anne Spalding (nee Stewart) became the first females to be permitted to compete, following the UK’s Sex Discrimination Act of 1975.

Ian K. MacDonald receives his Argyllshire Gathering Highland Society of London Gold Medal for piobaireachd.

1st Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
2nd Sean McKeown, Toronto
3rd Calum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland
4th Angus J MacColl, Iban, Scotland
5th Innes Smith, Glasgow
6th Jamie Troy, Victoria, British Columbia
Judges: Bruce Hitchings, Bill Livingstone, John Wilson

Strathspey & Reel

1st Alastair Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia
2nd Calum Beaumont
3rd Sean McKeown
4th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland
5th Derek Midgley, Tinton Falls, New Jersey
6th John Lee, British Columbia
Judges: Patricia Henderson, Iain MacFadyen, Willie Morrison

Nick Hudson is presented with the Argyllshire gathering Silver Medal.

1st Callum Harper, Bolton, Ontario
2nd William Rowe, Rata, New Zealand
3rd David Shedden, Glasgow
4th Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland
5th Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
Judges: Malcolm McRae, Ronnie McShannon, Bob Worrall

Strathspey & Reel
1st Ben Duncan
2nd Andrew Lewis, St. Paul, Minnesota
3rd Callum Moffat, Lockerbie, Scotland
4th Calum Watson, Lasswade, Ontario
5th Connor Sinclair
Judges: Colin MacLellan, Jack Taylor, Stuart Samson

Patricia Henderson and Anne Spalding at the Argyllshire Gathering 40 years to the date after they broke UK piping’s gender barrier.

Open Jig
1st Cameron Macdougall, Nigg, Scotland
2nd James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island
3rd Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh
4th Ben Duncan
5th Gordon McCready
Judges: Ian Duncan, Michael Grey, Rhona Lightfoot

Weather throughout the day was spectacular, and one of the finest enjoyed at the Argyllshire Gathering in recent memory.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the sister competition to the Argyllshire Gathering, the Northern Meeting, to be held at Inverness, Scotland, September 1st and 2nd, where the world’s elite solo pipers will compete for the Clasp, the Gold and Silver medals and the Silver Star MSR, among other events.


Oban: Ian K: Gold; Liddell: Sr.; Hudson: Silver

Published: August 24, 2016

Oban, Scotland – August 24, 2016 – The first day of solo piping competitions at the Argyllshire Gathering saw Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland, win the Senior Piobaireachd in the first result of the day. Later, Nick Hudson was announced the winner of the Silver Medal. And then Ian K. MacDonald won the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal after several times finishing second over the last 20 years. Four of the five in the Gold Medal prize list were North Americans.

The last prize of the day was the Silver Star MSR which was awarded to Alasdair Henderson. Of note, Bruce Gandy in the Silver Star played two of his own compositions, plus the event’s namesake march. The second day will see the remaining light music contests go outside to the Argyllshire Gathering grounds at Mossfield Park.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for further results from Oban as they become available.

Stuart Liddell with the Senior Piobaireachd spoils from the Argyllshire Gathering. [Photo: Derek Maxwell, used with permission.]

Senior Piobaireachd
1st Stuart Liddell, “A Son’s Salute to His Parents”
2nd Bruce Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, “The Earl of Ross’s March”
3rd Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, “MacLeod of MacLeod’s Lament”
4th Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, “Lament for Hugh”
5th Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairick”
Judges: Bill Livingstone, Colin MacLellan, Willie Morrison

Gold Medal
1st Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, “Mary’s Praise”
2nd Sean McKeown, Toronto, “Isabel MacKay”
3rd Cameron Drummond, Edinburgh, “The Stewarts’ White Banner”
4th Derek Midgley, Tinton Falls, New Jersey, “The Battle of Waternish”
5th Andrea Boyd, Ottawa, “I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand”
Judges: Patricia Henderson, Stuart Samson, Jack Taylor

Silver Medal
1st Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh, “The MacDonalds Are Simple”
2nd Cameron Macdougall, Nigg, Scotland, “Flame of Wrath”
3rd Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland, “Hector MacLean’s Warning”
4th Darach Urquhart, Glasgow, “Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg”
5th Anna Kummerlow, Germany, “Flame of Wrath”
Judges: Ian Duncan, Malcolm McRae, Robert Wallace

MacGregor Memorial
1st Finlay Cameron
2nd Calum Watson, Lasswade, Scotland
3rd John Dew, Perth, Scotland
4th Angus MacPhee, Inverness, Scotland
Judges: Michael Grey, Bruce Hitchings, Rhona Lightfoot, Ronnie McShannon

Silver Star MSR
1st Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
2nd Willie MacCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
3rd Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
4th Chris Armstrong, Airth, Scotland
5th Bruce Gandy, “Argyllshire Gathering,” “Winnie Roberts,” “Captain Mossie”
Judges: Iain MacFadyen, John Wilson, Bob Worrall


Trailing Drones: post-World’s crash n burn

Published: August 23, 2016

By Harry Tung

Well. That’ll be that. Harry enjoyed another two days ‘trolling The Green, ducking for shelter on Friday, duck the root word. After a summer of fun and frolics, concluding with the big week in Gleska, it’s a comedown for me. I’m only human. Or am I? It’s been a while and there’s much to catch you up on. Remember, this stuff is satire, not saltire, but, as they say, many’s a true word . . . so let’s see what’s in the old Harry malebag.

Wow. What an event. The World Pipe Band Championships continue to astonish even me. Runs like clockwork. The stewards are amazing at striking a balance of tough discipline and warm ease. They know bands are on edge and they get the tone just right. Special credit has to go to the really tall guy who looks like he’d crush you like so much Ronnie Lawrie jelly, but he’s always got a smile and a quip for pipe-majors as they approach the trigger. I could go on, but let me also talk about a few other items.

One day we’ll look back on all this and laugh. Or cry. Isn’t it time that the panel of judges in the top grades was expanded? Four people deciding the fate of these huge and hugely expensive bands is offering too much power, and risks one judge derailing a title by his/her one opinion. Inveraray & District was denied the Wold Championship mainly because of one slightly out-of-kilter piping placing. Yes, that can be said of most results, and the “what if?” scenarios are unending. But it’s time to take after the Breton Bagad Championships and have 10 or 15 judges. This mitigates the risk of rogue judging and lessens the power of each judge. And, while we’re at it, throw out the high and low scores from each of the three sections of judges. There’s way too much riding on these events to put it in the pens of single people.

I seem to recall one Ian Duncan allegedly being threatened with suspension from the RSPBA judging panel for competing with a Grade 6B band that he was teaching in Germany. This was strictly against the association’s rules. When Duncan got wind that he was going to be disciplined, he resigned in protest. Sad situation, that, with yet another Grade 1 leader being alienated from the organization. Anyway, that’s one standard applied. Now for the other: the current, actively competing Leading-Drummer of Grade 2 Lomond & Clyde judged at Bridge of Allan this year. Not only did he adjudicate, but he judged Grade 2. Now, I’m not saying that I condone or condemn either side, and I am sure that the guy is a fine and upstanding fellow who I’d imagine simply judged what he was assigned to, but double-standards like these happen too often at UK events.

They don’t, you say? Well, then how about the recently implemented rule that family should not judge family? Call it what it is: The Gordon Parkes rule, which has seen the drumming Parkes no longer assessing his brother, Pipe-Major Richard Parkes‘s band, Field Marshal Montgomery. Anyone who knows either of the Parkes know that they are some of the finest and most forthright, respected peeps out there. Not about them or their integrity. But wait! What is this now? We have RSPBA other adjudicators judging their close relatives playing in bands at the World’s. Ach, well, we all know those bands don’t really need to qualify, so it doesn’t matter, right? Well, no. It matters to many. A lot. There are other examples. Again, the point is not if you agree or disagree with the no family judging rule, but selectively applying it is ridiculous. Again, this is not about the judges and their integrity or honesty, it is about associations following their own rules and policies. You’re out of order! This whole courtroom is out of order!

Still not convinced? Then there’s the clampdown on media making videos of competing bands or the march past or the Grade 1 announcement. Strictly forbidden. In fact, an official walked up and down the pool of media at the prize-giving like a prison guard, reminding press photographers that they’d better not be taking any video . . . or else. (Or else what?!) So that’s standard one. And standard two is turning a blind-eye to the hundreds of social media (media being the operative word) videographers capturing performances and celebrations to post to their collective . . .


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Beaumont, Duncan, Walker big winners at Lochaber

Published: August 21, 2016

Fort William, Scotland – August 20, 2016 – Callum Beaumont won the top piobaireachd prize and also took the Open Hornpipe & Jig at the annual Lochaber Gathering held at the Nevis Centre. The competition attracted a reasonably good entry. The piobaireachd prize is a small, solid gold axe.

Ben Duncan, Gordon Walker and Callum Beaumont, the top winners at the 2016 Lochaber Gathering.

Premier & A-Grade
(An Tuagh Oir)
1st Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland
2nd Gordon McCready, Glasgow
3rd Euan MacCrimmon, Inverness
4th Derek Midgley, Tinton Falls, New Jersey

March (Lochaber Gathering Gold Medal)
1st Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
2nd Gordon Walker, Galston, Scotland
3rd Bill Geddes, Glasgow
4th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland

Strathspey & Reel (Leek’s Taxis Trophy)
1st Gordon Walker
2nd Ben Duncan
3rd Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh
4th Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland

B- & C-Grade
Piobaireachd (An Tuagh Airged)
1st Jason Craig, Australia
2nd Mael Sicard-Cras, Glasgow
3rd Andrew Donlon, Washington , DC
4th Bruce MacDonald, Portree, Scotland

MSR (Clydesdale Bank Trophy)
1st Matt Pantaleoni, St. Louis
2nd Duncan Beattie, Linlithgow, Scotland
3rd Andrew Bell, Catrine, Scotland
4th Greig Canning, Edinburgh

Open Hornpipe & Jig (Lochaber Gathering Shield)
1st Callum Beaumont
2nd Gordon Walker
3rd Gordon McCready
4th Ross Cowan, Motherwell, Scotland

Events were judged by Barry Donaldson, Alan Forbes, Andrew Frater, Archie MacLean, Niell Mulvie, and Robert Wallace.

Got results? Send them to pipes|drums!

Easton tops at Glenisla

Published: August 20, 2016

Stuart Easton

Glenisla, Scotland – August 19, 2016 – Stuart Easton of New Zealand had the best day overall in the senior solo piping competitions at Glenisla, where 13 pipers turned out, only one of whom was Scottish. The trend continues the years-long low attendance by solo pipers at many Highland games in Scotland. There was no piobaireachd and all events were judged by Ian Duncan, Murray Henderson and the mysterious Major Gibb, a person not on Scotland’s approved list of adjudicators.

1st Stuart Easton
2nd James Dyson, Halifax, Nova Scotia
3rd William Rowe, New Zealand
4th Austin Diepenhorst, San Diego
5th Jonathan Simpson, Bathgate, Scotland

Strathspey & Reel
1st Jason Craig, Australia
2nd James Dyson
3rd Stuart Easton
4th Chris Lee, Hong Kong
5th Jonathan Simpson

1st Jonathan Simpson
2nd Stuart Easton
3rd Emily Kate MacLellan
4th Briel Bozec, Brittany
5th James Dyson

Do you have results? Send them along to us with a photo or two by email!

Mackay of Lewis wins Pick The Six!

Published: August 18, 2016

Peter Mackay of the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, has emerged the winner of the 2016 pipes|drums Pick The Six competition!

Peter’s entry outlasted a tie-break random draw with multiple other entries that also got the first five prize-winners correct.

None of the several thousand entries managed to get the top-six Grade 1 World’s list in exact order, with Police Scotland Fife’s sixth prize adding surprising – and refreshing – element to the result. Twenty-six entries had the first five in order, and most of those chose either Simon Fraser University or Spirit of Scotland to finish sixth. Those two bands placed seventh and eighth, respectively.

For his amazing powers of pipe band prognostication, Peter Mackay receives a slew of prizes contributed by pipes|drums advertisers and pipes|drums itself.

Congratulations to Peter and thank you to our faithful readers for participating in our annual Pick The Six contest!

And thanks to our advertisers for their contributions and shrewd marketing prowess. Just take a look at what Peter will receive and click on each banner for more information!

BagpipeLessons.comA one-year membership to the Studio. Retail price: $315. A prize package including the Bagpipe Gauge, retail price: $130, and the brand-new, soon-to-be-released Piper’s Ultimate Reed Poker. Retail price: $39.

Campbell Bagpipes one Campbell Tunable Band Chanter. Retail price $239.

Elixir Piping & Drumming the winner’s choice of any book from the company’s wide range of piping and drumming instructional materials. Retail price: $33.

John Walsh Bagpipes One Walsh GHB Plastic Blowpipe with a built in spit trap, including an oval mouthpiece. Retail price: $225.

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LA Scots drummer uses score at World’s

Published: August 16, 2016

Richard Baughman using AirTurn TAP in the LA Scots’ MSR at the World’s.

Richard Baughman, a snare drummer with the Grade 1 Los Angeles Scots, might be the first to openly read a score while competing at the World Pipe Band Championships. While memorization is standard for pipe band, solo piping and pipe band drumming performances, only the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association has a rule that disallows the use of music in competition.

Baughman is the pipe band drumming instructor at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and served as leading-drummer for the LA Scots from 2006 until 2010 when he was replaced by Glenn Kvidahl over “philosophical differences.” Molly Steuber was made L-D of the band in September 2015 and, according to Baughman, she and Pipe-Major Colin Armstrong were fine with him using music.

“I did it because I feel more comfortable reading and the band didn’t cut me, even though it’s looked down on and in some cases illegal,” Baughman said. “I want my students to be able to read [music] if they don’t have time in their busy schedules to memorize the music, which isn’t very important, in my opinion. I prefer to focus on how the music is played and approached.”

Baughman pointed out that using the musical score is commonly used in most genres and is perfectly acceptable and accepted.

LA Scots competed in the medley and MSR events in the Friday qualifying round, and the band finished last in each event, but was ahead of a few bands in drumming, which was judged by Ciaran Mordaunt (MSR) and Mark Wilson (medley).

“[The judges] are not looking for it, [but] I was not hiding it,” Baughman added. “The judges are supposed to listen and luckily RSPBA judges . . . are highly respected by me and most intelligent folks.”

Baughman used a set-up for his iPhone 4s called AirTurn TAP, which allows the score to be displayed and the player taps a pad with a stick to turn the page when needed. He used Velcro to stick his iPhone to the rim of his drum, with the page-turning pads velcroed to his harness, connected to his phone by Bluetooth. To prepare for the bad weather, Baughman coated the device with a water-repellent wax that he purchased at a camping store in Glasgow.

LA Scots marching on at the World’s.

Baughman also used the application when competing with LA Scots at the Victoria Highland Games in British Columbia earlier in the season. He said that drumming judges Colin Magee and Bill Saul knew that he was sight-reading at that competition and there appeared to be no penalties from either adjudicator.

The Carnegie-Mellon band competes in the EUSPBA circuit, and Baughman said that he hopes that the association will rescind the rule against sight-reading while competing.

Baughman is a graduate of the prestigious Juilliard School of music in New York, holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts from the University of Southern California.


The World’s: the announcements

Published: August 15, 2016

We’re pleased to bring pipes|drums readers / viewers several of the big announcements from the World Pipe Band Championships on August 13, 2016, from Glasgow Green, Glasgow, including the big one with Field Marshal Montgomery.

Included are celebrations with Grade 2 winners Johnstone, and Pipe-Major Keith Bowes, as well as the final march-on with pipe band drumming legend Jim Kilpatrick.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more sights and sounds from the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships.

Our thanks to BBC Scotland for sharing some of their footage from the event.

Fergus bands washed out

Published: August 14, 2016

PPBSO Chief Steward Glenn Covert goes brogueless at Fergus. [Photo: Paul Wardell]

While most pipers and drummers on August 13th were either playing in or watching the World Pipe Band Championships take place in Glasgow in pretty good weather, the annual Fergus Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario, was almost a complete wash-out with torrential rain and thunderstorms forcing the cancellation of all band competitions.

The rain came after more than a month of drought-like conditions across Ontario, with temperatures consistently higher than 30 degrees Celsius.

The Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario adopted a bad weather policy several years ago, putting the safety of its members first.

Rivers of rainwater at Fergus. [Photo: Paul Wardell]

Inveraray 2016 Champs of Champs x 2


They might happily trade it for the World Championship title that they lost by one point, but Inveraray & District clinched the 2016 RSPBA Grade 1 Champion of Champions award for most overall points over the season’s five major competitions by finishing second at Glasgow Green. In a reversal of fortune, Inveraray tipped Field Marshal Montgomery for the Champion of Champions title by one point.

Inveraray & District also won the 2016 Champion of Champions aggregate for drumming for the first time under six-time World Solo Drumming Champion Leading-Drummer Steven McWhirter.

In Grade 2, the Police Service of Northern Ireland took the overall band prize by winning every championship but the World’s, where they finished second, in all likelihood assuring the band of promotion to Grade 1, along with Johnstone, which finished second in the aggregate, but won Grade 2 at the World’s for the second straight year. With a Grade 4A feeder band that won the Champion of Champions prize for both bands and drumming in the grade, Johnstone could be more likely to make a successful longer-term transition in the top grade than many.

RSPBA Champion of Champions 2016
Grade 1
Inveraray & District (Scotland)
Drumming: Inveraray & District

Grade 2
Police Service of Northern Ireland
Drumming: Glasgow Skye Association

Grade 3A
Aughintober (Northern Ireland)
Drumming: Aughintober

Grade 3B
Prestonpans Royal British Legion (Scotland)
Drumming: Bothwell Castle (Scotland)

George Watson’s College (Scotland)
Drumming: George Watson’s College

Grade 4A
Ullapool & District (Scotland)
Drumming: Ullapool & District

Grade 4B
Johnstone (Scotland)
Drumming: Johnstone

Novice A
Dollar Academy (Scotland)
Drumming: George Watson’s College

Novice B
Lochgelly High School (Scotland)
Drumming: Preston Lodge High School (Scotland)


Field Marshal Montgomery: 2016 World Champions

Published: August 13, 2016

FMM logo_newsGlasgow – August 13, 2016 – Field Marshal Montgomery gained the 2016 World Pipe Band Championship at Glasgow Green, the eleventh in the band’s storied history, in variable but mainly dry conditions rising to about 17 degrees, placing ahead of the 11 other Grade 1 bands that made the final round after a full day of competition on Friday. Each band competed in a march, strathspey & reel event first, then a medley in the afternoon.

A fourth in piping and a fifth in drumming – each uncharacteristic of the band’s results in 2016 – essentially cost Inveraray & District the title, losing to Field Marshal Montgomery by a single point. Inveraray had been the choice of many in the pipe band world to win the event. Inveraray was later announced the winner of the RSPBA’s Champion of Champions band and drumming prizes for most aggregate points at the association’s five major championships.

The Grade 1 medley marked the final competition for drummer Jim Kilpatrick, who concluded a career of more than 50 years in which he amassed more prizes by far than any drummer in pipe band history. The RSPBA did not acknowledge Kilpatrick’s contribution in any way, but his band, the Spirit of Scotland, paid homage to him by marching on as the final band in the hours-long march past with Kilpatrick and his drum section at the front of the group.

Johnstone won the Grade 2 event for the second year in a row, virtually guaranteeing the band an upgrade, and Police Service of Northern Ireland wrapped up a stellar season with a second in the same grade, also in all probability locking a move up. The final announcement of the Grade 1 results was not made until about 8:30 pm GMT, in near darkness, when the BBC trained its cameras directly on Field Marshal Montgomery and a fake decoy crew on Inveraray & District, raising each band’s hopes that they had won the event, and communicating to other contending bands that they had not.

Grade 1
(12 competed)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
2nd Inveraray & District (Scotland)
3rd St Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)
4th Shotts & Dykehead (Scotland)
5th ScottishPower (Scotland)
6th Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
7th Simon Fraser University (Canada)
8th Spirit of Scotland (Scotland)
9th Greater Glasgow Police (Scotland)
10th 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
11th Manawatu Scottish (New Zealand)
12th New Zealand Police
Drumming: St. Laurence O’Toole

1st Field Marshal Montgomery (1,1,4,2)
2nd Inveraray & District (4,2,2,1)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (2,4,1,4)
4th ScottishPower (2,5,3,8)
5th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (5,3,7,5)
6th Police Scotland Fife (6,7,6,7)
Judges: Harry Stevenson, Alan Ronaldson (piping); Gordon Craig (drumming); Jennifer Hutcheon (ensemble)

1st Inveraray & District (2,2,5,1)
2nd Field Marshal Montgomery (1,1,6,2)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (5,6,1,4)
4th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (3,8,3,3)
5th ScottishPower (4,3,8,6)
6th Police Scotland Fife (9,9,2,8)
Judges: Ronnie McShannon, Jim Wark (piping); Sandy Steele (drumming); John MacInnes (ensemble)

Grade 2
Overall Final
(medley, 12 competed)
1st Johnstone (Scotland) (1,1,6,2)
2nd Police Service Northern Ireland (2,4,1,3)
3rd Lomond & Clyde (Scotland) (4,5,4,5)
4th Bagad Brieg (Brittany) (7,2,9,1)
5th Glasgow Skye (Scotland) (5,8,2,4)
6th Buchan Peterson (Scotland) (3,3,7,8)
Judges: Dixie Ingram, Colin Moffett (piping); Gordon Parkes (drumming); Peter Snaddon (ensemble)

Grade 3A
1st Worcester Kilties (USA) (1,1,1,2)
2nd Aughintober (Northern Ireland) (3,2,4,1)
3rd Kintyre Schools (Scotland) (2,5,8,4)
4th Portlethen & District (Scotland) (6,4,6,5)
5th Cameron Highlanders of San Diego (5,6,7,7)
6th Vale of Atholl (Scotland) (ens.pref.) (7,7,9,6)
Judges: John Wilson, Jim Semple (piping); Willie Black (drumming); John Moles (ensemble)

Grade 3B
1st Perth Metro (Australia) (2,1,8,1)
2nd Wallacestone & District (Scotland) (4,2,4,4)
3rd St. Joseph’s (Ireland) (5,5,3,8)
4th Prestonpans Royal British Legion (Scotland) (ens.pref.) (10,6,5,2)
5th Bothwell Castle (Scotland) (9,9,2,3)
6th 2622 (Highland) Squadron R.A.F (Scotland) (7,7,1,9)
Judges: Robert Pollock, Tom Brown (piping); Lee Innes (drumming); Ciaran Mordaunt (esnsemble)

1st George Watson’s College (Scotland) (1,3,1,2)
2nd Dollar Academy (Scotland) (3,1,3,1)
3rd George Heriot’s School (Scotland) (4,2,2,3)
4th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland) (2,5,6,4)
5th West Lothian Schools (Scotland) (5,4,4,6)
6th Preston Lodge High School (Scotland) (6,6,5,5)
Judges: Harry Stevenson, Alan Ronaldson (piping); Gordon Craig (drumming); Jennifer Hutcheon (ensemble)

Grade 4A
1st Ullapool & District (Scotland) (5,1,6,4)
2nd Cleland Memorial (4,4,7,2)
3rd Portavogie (ens.pref. (8,6,1,3)
4th Burntisland & District (Scotland) (2,2,9,5)
5th Tullylagan (3,11,2,7)
6th Cullybackey (Northern Ireland) (9,5,5,6)
Judges: Terry Lee, Donald MacPhee (piping); Paul Brown (drumming); Robert Mathieson (ensemble)

Grade 4B
1st Johnstone (Scotland) (3,2,3,1)
2nd Clontibret (Ireland) (5,6,2,3)
3rd St Marys, Derrytrasna (1,1,9,6)
4th Lochryan (Scotland) (2,4,8,4)
5th Davidson’s Mains & District (Scotland) (6,7,15,2)
6th Gilnahirk (Scotland) (8,8,4,12)
Judges: Ken Eller, Gordon Lawrie (piping); Mark Wilson (drumming); Jim Campbell (ensemble)

Novice A
1st North Lanarkshire Schools (Scotland) (4,1,1,3)
2nd Dollar Academy (Scotland) (ens.pref.) (3,5,5,1)
3rd Oban High School (Scotland) (1,2,7,4)
4th George Watson’s College(Scotland),(2,4,3,6)
5th Scots College (Australia) (6,3,10,2)
6th George Heriot’s School (Scotland) (5,9,2,7)
Judges: Ian Wood, Cameron Edgar (piping); Stuart Coils (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

Novice B
1st Troon Boys Brigade (Scotland) (ens.pref.) (2,3,7,1)
2nd Bucksburn & District (Scotland) (1,2,6,4)
3rd Sgoil Lionacleit (3,1,13,5)
4th Lochgelly High School (Scotland) (4,13,3,3)
5th North Lanarkshire Schools Development (Scotland) (6,9,1,10)
6th MacKenzie Caledonian (Scotland) (5,5,11,7)
Judges: Ian Wood, Cameron Edgar (piping); Stuart Coils (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

(Video) World’s finalists announced

Published: August 12, 2016

Inveraray & District marching on in the medley qualifier event in the rain-soaked afternoon.

Glasgow – August 12, 2016 – The 12 bands to qualify for the Grade 1 Final of the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships were determined at a very wet Glasgow Green today, with a total of 21 bands vying for the dozen places. Every band competed in a Medley and MSR event in groups of 11 and 10, using the same order-of-play in each contest.

Those going on to compete for the World Championship on Saturday, August 13, are, in alphabetical order:

  • 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
  • Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
  • Greater Glasgow Police Scotland (Scotland)
  • Inveraray & District (Scotland)
  • Manawatu Scottish (New Zealand)
  • New Zealand Police (New Zealand)
  • Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
  • ScottishPower (Scotland)
  • Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
  • Simon Fraser University (Canada)
  • Spirit of Scotland (Scotland)
  • St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)

Also competing, but not making the final were:

  • 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (Canada)
  • Bagad Cap Caval (Brittany)
  • Bleary & District (Northern Ireland))
  • Los Angeles Scots (USA)
  • Ottawa Police Service (Canada)
  • Peel Regional Police (Canada)
  • Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
  • Ravara (Northern Ireland)
  • Vale of Atholl (Scotland)

The New Zealand Police, along with Manawatu Scottish one of two Kiwi bands to qualify, competing in the medley event.

Two panels of judges assessed each group once, swapping events:

Group 1 MSR and Group 2 Medley: Jim Campbell, Sam Young (piping); Ciaran Mordaunt (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

Group 1 Medley and Group 2 MSR: George Wilson, Bill Garrett (piping); Mark Wilson (drumming); Peter Snaddon (ensemble)

The order of play for the Grade 1 Final:

  1. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
  2. Inveraray & District
  3. New Zealand Police
  4. SImon Fraser University
  5. Police Scotland Fife
  6. Spirit of Scotland
  7. Greater Glasgow Police
  8. St. Laurence O’Toole
  9. 78th Fraser Highlanders
  10. Manawatu Scottish
  11. Field Marshal Montgomery
  12. ScottishPower


Piping Live! Day 4 video highlights


pipes|drums Magazine is pleased to bring you our last installment of video highlights from the Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival, the biggest week of the piping and drumming year.

It’s on now to the World Pipe Band Championships, and we look forward to bringing you news, images and highlights from that event.

As always, stay tuned!

Liddell wins P-M Alasdair Gillies Memorial

Published: August 11, 2016

Glasgow – August 11, 2016 – The eve of the first day of the World Pipe Band Championships didn’t deter enthusiasts from packing the Strathclyde Suite of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall to hear Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland, win the first annual Pipe-Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge.

Stuart Liddell playing in the P-M Alasdair Gillies Memorial Challenge.

Liddell won against three other invited top-tier soloists, Callum Beaumont of Linlithgow, Scotland; Alasdair Henderson of Dunoon, Scotland; and Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland.

The format of the event enables players to perform their favourite music over approximately 30 minutes, and each must include a competition-style march, strathspey & reel and the ground of a piobaireachd.

The winner is picked by an undisclosed panel of pre-selected judges in the audience.

The roots of the contest are from essentially the same event held at the Lord Todd Bar at the University of Strathclyde, which was a precursor to the Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival, and which is cited by many as the inspiration for the week-long extravaganza that now takes over much of the city of Glasgow every August.

Callum Beaumont.

Alasdair Henderson.

Angus MacColl.

Some magical stuff


Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band
Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Presented by the Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band
August 10, 2016, £20

Reviewed by Euan Anderson

Another sell-out concert and clearly there is still a demand to see one of the top bands in the world strut their stuff. Over the years the one common thread running through these events is that they are generally too long with the bands on show desperately trying to cram everything they can into one performance. Less is more, but, for sure you always get value for money at the Pre-World’s concert.

It was 2007 when Field Marshal Montgomery last took to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with their RE:CHARGED performance, and this was the fourth time that the band has taken to the stage for this pre-world’s event. The band has a pedigree in recent times that is unrivalled, winning every major pipe band championship title, including 10 World Championships, three Grand Slams (taking five majors in one season), 13 RSPBA Champions of Champions titles, 21 All-Ireland Championships and a staggering 60 RSPBA major championship titles in total. The band won the World’s four years on-the-trot from 2011 to 2014. Remarkable, but in recent competitions they have not been getting it all their own way and Saturday’ Grade 1 contest will be tighter than a drummer’s wallet.

Bob Worrall

In a recent chat with pipes|drums, Pipe-Major Richard Parkes gave the insight, “Our musical program will comprise some new and exciting arrangements, showcase the talents of our soloists and feature some of the tunes that were voted for online by our followers on social media as FMM favourites. We will be lucky enough to be accompanied by some of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians whose creativity and talents have helped add a new dimension to our previous concert performances.”

So, let’s see how the IMPACT concert went. I was in a prime seat at ground level just behind the sound board. The fear-an-tigh for the evening was Bob Worrall, the consummate professional. We knew we were in good hands and clever, subtitle stage lighting added to the relaxed ambience.

The showed opened with “Maxwell’s Bonnet” and jig arrangement of “The Piper’s Bonnet” thrown in for good measure. A great start with a clear chanter and snare sound with the usual resonant FMM drone-sound. What surprised me was . . .


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Piping Live! Day 3 – a piob crawl


Here comes the rain again, falling on my head like a memory. Wasn’t it Wet Wet Wet that sang that? No, it was Eurhythmics, and it was all about rhythmical memories in and out of the wet on the third day of the Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival, where crowds seemed to thin a bit due to the changed conditions.

While the first two days were mostly blessed sunshine, familiar weather set in a bit, but never dampened the spirits of all the pipers and drummers going round and about the toon, checking out the many options for listening pleasure.

Bourdon Collecteif

Things overall, at least during the day, felt a bit more classic, starting with the sultry sounds of Bourdon Collecteif, a five-piece from Belgium playing original Flemish music from the 16th and 17th centuries. Complete with harpsichord and two sets of Belgian smallpipes, the group put on a very much unplugged show at the Street Café to interested listeners who left a bit more enlightened.

(Here’s a video of a few highlights from the day.)

Next on was the David Shedden Trio, part of the “Emerging Talent” section of Piping Live! Armed with Highland pipes, smallpipes and whistles, Shedden reeled off an hour’s worth of stuff, including many of his own very fine compositions.

David Shedden at the low-D whistle.

The rain kept at it in a consistently dreachy way. There are plenty of sounds at Piping Live! of course, but there is a certain smell that has become unmistakably connected to the festival: the smoky hamburger grill in front of the National Piping Centre. It . . .


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(Video) Piping Live! Day 2: all round the world

Published: August 10, 2016

Tuesday at Piping Live! went all international on us throughout a sunny and brisk day with only a patch of rain in between acts. A full slate of events kept the tens of thousands of pipers, drummers and enthusiasts hopping around the world across the day and night.

Lubormir Tatarka doing his Slovakian thing at the Street Cafe.

Start with the dulcet tones of the Slovakian pipes and fujara as played by the master exponent of the art, Lubormir Tatarka, who woke up the crowds forming at the Street Café at the National Piping Centre with a selection of traditional Slovak music. Bleary-eyed late-nighters might have been rubbing the sleep from their eyes when they saw Tatarka with what appeared to be a full goat under his arm and then suddenly belting out a few vocals for good measure.

(Check out our highlights video below.)

Then on to more familiar sounds, with the duet of Charlie Stewart on fiddle and Inveraray & District piper Ross Miller on various small pipes, doing their thing for an hour to a growing crowd, attracted to their great sounds and also jockeying for seat for the 2 pm show.

Charlie Stewart and Ross Miller on stage at 1 pm.

While that was happening outside, inside Stuart “The Lid” Liddell was in full flight at his sold-out Lunchtime Recital in the National Piping Centre’s Auditorium. What can we say that has not already been said about this genius? It was typical spell-binding stuff for the better part of any hour.

The overflow crowd at Pipes+Drums 2016 [photo courtesy of Piping Live!]

The 2 pm show that folks were positioning themselves for at the Street Café was pipes|drums’ annual Pipes+Drums Recital, this year featuring three duos of Grade 1 leaders, starting with Pipe-Major Andrew Hayes and Leading-Drummer Brendan Kelly of . . .


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Inveraray wins 2016 International Quartets

Published: August 9, 2016

Glasgow – August 9, 2016 – The Inveraray & District foursome of pipers Jamie Elder, Daniel McDermott, (leader), Ross Miller and Eric Ouellette won the annual International Quartet Competition at a packed Strathclyde Suite of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, part of the 2016 Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival. It was the second consecutive year that Inveraray & District has captured the award. The one-prize, winner-take-all event comprises an MSR and Medley section of each quartet’s choosing, and is recognized as perhaps the most nerve-racking competition in the pipe band world.

Inveraray & District, winners of the 2016 International Quartet Competition at Piping Live! (L-R): Daniel McDermott, (leader), Eric Ouellette, Ross Miller and Jamie Elder.

The competition is judged by two panels of “secret” judges placed across the audience, each panel taking one of the events. The judges put in their picks for placing (one point for first, two for second, etc.), and the winner is determined from the lowest aggregate points.

Other bands putting in quartets but not winning the prize, in alphabetical order: 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (Canada); Bagad Cap Caval (Brittany); Dowco Triumph Street (Canada); Johnstone (Scotland); New Zealand Police; Police Scotland Fife (Scotland); and Spirit of Scotland (Scotland).


Jim Kilpatrick to retire after World’s (video)


Jim Kilpatrick, 2016.

The World Pipe Band Championship will be the final competition for Jim Kilpatrick, without doubt the greatest pipe band drummer in history in terms of sheer number of competitions won.

Kilpatrick confirmed his decision with pipes|drums, saying that he will no longer compete following Grade 1 Spirit of Scotland’s last event over the weekend at Glasgow Green.

“It’s the right time for me to bow out,” Kilpatrick said. “I feel I’m playing as well and maybe better than ever, but I wonder if everybody thinks that way about their performance levels. I feel I still have a lot to offer the pipe band drumming world, and could be even more effective if I am not actually competing.”

Kilpatrick has won the World Solo Drumming Championship 16 times, by far the most victories of the event by any pipe band drummer, and, with bands, he has led Grade 1 corps to 17 World Pipe Band Drumming Championships, with one stretch of 11 consecutive World’s wins. He remains the only lead-drummer to have won all five championships in a single year, when he accomplished the feat with his Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia section in 1991, which was also part of a record 11 consecutive drumming championship victories.

After more than 50 years in competing pipe bands and such success, the decision did not come easily for Kilpatrick.

Kilpatrick plans to continue his work as an executive with Pearl Percussion and with his own business, Jim Kilpatrick Percussion, teaching workshops around the world and privately from his home in Ashgil, Scotland.

Kilpatrick in 2010 with one of his 88 championship awards as a leading-drummer.

Kilpatrick came up through one of the first teaching systems developed, with Whitrigg Juvenile in his home town of Whitburn, West Lothian, Scotland. Whitrigg served as a feeder band in the 1970s for the Grade 1 Polkemmet Colliery Pipe Band, producing other famous players, including Robert Mathieson.

Kilpatrick would eventually join Shotts & Dykehead and Lead-Drummer Alex Duthart (last year chosen the greatest drummer of all-time no longer living by pipes|drums panel of experts) in 1972 at the age of 16. Kilpatrick would remain with one of the great drum sections of all time at Shotts, featuring the likes of Drew Duthart, Jim Hutton, John Scullion and Eric Ward, until he took the L-D position with Polkemmet in 1983, a band that fellow Shotts players Mathieson and Iain Roddick, to name a few, would also move.

Along with Mathieson, who succeeded Johnny Barnes as pipe-major in 1983, Polkemmet would emerge as one of the few threats to the great era of the Strathclyde Police under Pipe-Major Iain MacLellan, consistently finishing in the top-three by the time Kilpatrick and Mathieson were recruited back to Shotts to resurrect the renowned, but nearly-defunct, band in 1986.

At Shotts, Kilpatrick would be part of six World Pipe Band Championship victories over the 29 years he led the drum section, until he departed the band in 2015 following Shotts’s most recent World’s win.

In early 2016, Kilpatrick, along with many recent and former members of his Shotts corps, became part of the re-formed Grade 1 Spirit of Scotland, the band of well-known available players that first came together for one week to compete at the 2008 World Championships, where it qualified for the Grade 1 Final and ultimately finished eleventh. [Disclosure: the editor of pipes|drums is a member of Spirit of Scotland.]

In 2016, Spirit of Scotland has played at all four championships so far, placing at three, and winning the drumming at the UK Championships at Belfast in June.

“For many reasons, this has been one of the best years ever in my pipe band career,” Kilpatrick concluded. “This is down to all of the genuine people that are part of the band and the fact that every single player knows what to do and how to do it. I get goosebumps when I look at the pipe corps standing in front of me in the circle. Another reason is the loyalty the drum corps has shown, not only to me, but to each other. Nobody will realize the depth of friendship and support that we all have for each other.

Jim Kilpatrick will have a bit more time to enjoy his vacation home in Spain.

“I think we all learn never to say ‘never,'” Kilpatrick added, “but I am definitely going to retire from the competitive side of drumming, and the 2016 World’s will be my last performance.”

Accompanied by Spirit of Scotland Pipe-Major Roddy MacLeod, Jim Kilpatrick will perform solo likely for the last time while still active in competition at the annual Pipes+Drums recital, sponsored by pipes|drums and free to all, at Piping Live!, at 2 pm, Tuesday, August 9th, at the Street Café outside of the National Piping Centre.

Readers are invited to leave a comment about Jim Kilpatrick’s career and contributions to pipe band drumming using either our own system or Facebook below.


Piping Live! Day 1: At the Centre of the universe


If it’s the Monday after Bridge of Allan, well, then if you’re not at the centre of the piping and drumming galaxy, then you’re not at Ground Zero, which is of course the National Piping Centre, the focal point of Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival 2016, which kicked off in grand style with the Piping Live! Big Band, a massed band of all manner of players, including greats Roddy MacLeod and Jim Kilpatrick, leading a parade from the Centre all the way to George Square.

The Piping Live! Big Band.

It was all in aid of, drawing attention to drawing healthy breath, adding a great new charitable element to the festivities, launched on a mainly sunny and breezy 15-degree across Glasgow’s city centre.

Once we checked in to our digs we checked out a rare appearance by William Donaldson at the College of Piping on Otago Street at noon. The author of the once-controversial book The Highland Pipe & Scottish Society, Donaldson led an illuminating discussion about the earlier days of the Piobaireachd Society and, especially, its early leader Archibald Campbell, Kilberry.

Willie Donaldson address the audience at the College of Piping.

Essentially, Donaldson discussed the regression of an art-form that was flourishing at the turn of the 19th century, only to be meddled with by Campbell-Kilberry, who almost single-handedly made ceol mor boring and slow with “interventions that were frequent and disruptive, making “arbitrary” changes to standardize settings of the vibrant and thriving music to eventually create the state it’s in today, as part of a “musical monoculture.”

Safe to say, this sort of talk would never be permitted through the stodge-tight doors of the College of Piping of only a few years ago. Today, it’s evident that pipers of almost all ages and pedigree are more accepting / less frightened of alternate opinions, particularly when they’re couched in well-researched fact. And it would have once been a career-ending move for a master piper and adjudicator like Jim McGillivray to provide musical illustrations on not just any bagpipe, but on a pipe once owned and played by Robert Urquhart Brown, which is exactly what happened. And the Piobaireachd Society actually sponsored the event.

Donaldson pulled no punches on Archibald Campbell and his brothers, saying that the Campbells funded the Piobaireachd Society, controlled its membership, convinced themselves that piobaireachd is in danger, and only their own intervention could save it.

This was heady and courageous stuff, and to the 50 or so who turned up to listen to the session, they saw what could be the big bang that reinvigorates the big music of the Highland pipes.

Jim McGillivray illustrates examples of what piobaireachd probably sounded like pre-1900.

And then back at the Street Café outside the National Piping Centre, the first round of Pipe Idol got under way, with four under-21 pipers vying to go through to the Thursday final. Ultimately Scotland’s 15-year-old Callum Craib got the nod, with Rebecca Tierney  (19, Scotland). Connor Jardine  (18, Scotland) and Jack Williamson  (19, USA) looking again to next year.

Craig Sutherland at the Masters Solo Piping Competition.

Throughout the day the Masters Solo Piping Championship went on at a packed Piping Centre auditorium, with 15 in the Piobaireachd and 18 in the MSR later on, and the formidable Angus MacColl took home the overall trophy against another impeccably high standard of playing.

Hey, don’t forget to enter our $4,000-plus prize-pack Pick the Six contest! Check out the prizes and the rules and send us your entry!

Ultimately, it means absolutely nothing and is only for fun, but according to the more than 13,000 readers who participated in the pipes|drums Poll, these 12 bands will be in the Grade 1 World’s final:

  • Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (7.80%)
  • Field Marshal Montgomery (7.78%)
  • Inveraray & District (7.77%)
  • Simon Fraser University (7.70%)
  • Laurence O’Toole (7.70%)
  • ScottishPower (7.62%)
  • Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (7.36%)
  • Spirit of Scotland (7.27%)
  • 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (6.41%)
  • Police Scotland Fife (6.36%)
  • Greater Glasgow Police (6.26%)
  • 78th Fraser Highlanders (5.91%)

Check out the current Poll that asks you to choose which of all 21 bands entered will win the big title on Saturday! In the past, our readers have been pretty consistently damned-near almost sometimes correct!

On to Day 2 of Piping Live!, where the weather looks bright for another full schedule of events at the centre of the piping and drumming universe.

Stay tuned!


Angus MacColl wins Masters Solos

Published: August 8, 2016

Glasgow – August 8, 2016 – Angus MacColl was the overall winner of the 2016 Masters Solo Piping Competition, held throughout the day in the auditorium of the National Piping Centre, which was packed for the evening light music section. It’s the second time that MacColl qualified for the 2016 Glenfiddich Championship, having won the 2015 Glenfiddich, automatically gaining an entry this year.

Angus MacColl competing in the MSR at the 2016 Masters.

1st Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, “MacLeod of Colbeck’s Lament”
2nd Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
3rd Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland, “”The Earl of Ross’s March”
4th Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland, “Scarce of Fishing”
Judges: Malcolm McRae, Jack Taylor, Bob Worrall

Also competing in the Piobaireachd section: Glenn Brown, Brian Donaldson, Bruce Gandy, Andrew Hayes, Jack Lee, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Donald MacPhee, James Murray and Gordon Walker.

1st Gordon Walker, Galston, Scotland
2nd Angus MacColl
3rd Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
4th Craig Sutherland, Creiff, Scotland
Judges: Ian Duncan, Iain MacLellan, Jim McGillivray

Also competing in the MSR section: Glenn Brown, Brian Donaldson, Cameron Drummond, Alex Gandy, Bruce Gandy, Andrew Hayes, Peter Hunt, Finlay Johnston, Jack Lee, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Gordon McCready, Donald MacPhee and James Murray.

Angus MacColl with the Masters trophy. [Photo: Derek Maxwell]

Lorient MacCrimmon Trophy goes to Morrison

Published: August 7, 2016

Top three finishers at the MacCrimmon Trophy 2016 competition at Lorient (L-R): Robert Watt (second), Stuart Easton (second) and champion Fred Morrison.

Lorient, Brittany – August 7, 2016 – Fred Morrison of Bishopton, Scotland, was the winner of the annual MacCrimmon Trophy at the Festival Interceltique de Lorient. The competition pits competitors who have qualified in various competitions around the world in sections for Breton, Irish and Scottish Highland pipe music.

Overall (11 competed)
1st Fred Morrison (5,6/1,1/1,1)
2nd Robert Watt, Northern Ireland (3,4/2,2/2,2)
3rd Stuart Easton, New Zealand (4,2/6,6/3,4)
4th Quentin Meunier, Brittany (1,3/8,9/8,5)
5th Cedric Lebozec, Brittany (2,1/3,7/11,11)
Judges: Steff Kermabon, Pierre Gallais (Breton); Brian MacMahon, Eamonn Curran (Irish); Bruce Hitchings, Andrew Frater (Scottish)

Also competing: Gwenael La Corronc (Brittany); Christopher McLeish (Australia); Callum Moffat (Scotland); William Rowe (New Zealand); David Shedden (Scotland); and Andrew Wilson (Ireland).


Livingstone memoir nears publication


Autobiographies by great pipers are few and far between, with scant examples like Angus MacPherson’s A Highlander Looks Back and John Wilson’s A Professional Piper in Peace and War, and shortly the legendary Bill Livingstone will release Preposterous: Tales to Follow, a memoir of his life so far professionally published by the well-established Friesen Press, of Victoria, British Columbia.

The Ontario-based piper and pipe band leader is one of the greatest in history, and he remains the first and only person to have won both a Clasp at the Northern Meeting (twice) and lead a band to a World Pipe Band Championship, in 1987 with the 78th Fraser Highlanders.

Livingstone withholds almost nothing in the book, as he traces his life from his childhood growing up in the remote North Ontario town of Copper Cliff, to his complicated family life, to his teenage life as a keyboard player with the rock band The Coppertones, through his formative piping years and on through the decades.

Bill Livingstone competing with the Toronto Police at Cambridge, Ontario, July 2016.

“I detail the remarkable story of my growing up in a company town, Copper Cliff, class separation, full-on paternalistic control of the denizens, my amazing and, some will say, fairly weird family life, which in all was/is a blessing,” Livingstone said about the book. “I was perhaps one of the only pipers ever to have tuition from many greats: John Wilson, John MacFadyen, Capt. John MacLellan, Donald MacLeod and Andrew MacNeill. These encounters are richly detailed.”

Livingstone adds that “there are many crazy stories of weird and wacky encounters with major and minor characters in the world of piping and pipe bands. I duly rant against the artistic strictures and monetizing caused by the World Pipe Band Championship.”

Preposterous: Tales to Follow promises a detailed section on his approach to music composition generally and especially for the bagpipe. Livingstone is one of the more successful composers and arrangers of pipe music.

“I have tried to be what I am, which is a guy with strong beliefs, and unafraid to share them,” he continued. “In the telling of so many anecdotes about people it’s been my intention to get to the truth, but not to hurt anyone recklessly.”

Livingstone’s 2008 “Northern Man” solo recording.

He said that the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band, of which he was pipe-major from 1981 until 2010, gets “a lot of attention, especially to that indefinable quality which made the band unique.”

Those who know Livingstone, will recognize his ability to recount hilarious stories and a razor-wit, with plenty of anecdotes, including his famous and shocking confrontation with the great Robert Nicol in a post-contest beer tent, being told by Nicol that he was playing a piobaireachd “wrong.”

“It’s been both fun and painful to write, and I had no idea that it would take five years of effort to get it here,” Livingstone said. “Writing, re-writing, researching, following professional editorial advice, and re-writing again. And I still have to choose from the hundreds of photos I want included.”

Preposterous: Tales to Follow will be available in various format, with a release of October 2016 targeted.

Livingstone also said that he is working on remastering various existing solo recordings, including his 2008 Northern Man project, and is also recording the sixth, seventh and eighth installments to his Piobaireachd Diary of commentary on and playing of his favorite piobaireachds.

At age 74, Bill Livingstone shows no sign of stopping competing, and is currently a member of the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band.

Disclosure: the editor of pipes|drums assisted Livingstone with editorial and professional advice through the first-draft of the book.


(Updated) Shotts wins at Bridge of Allan


Shotts_logoBridge of Allan, Scotland – August 7, 2016 – Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia took the last small contest before the World Championships with a win at Bridge of Allan, near Stirling. MacKenzie Caledonia, one of several Grade 2 bands that played up, finished fourth. Grade 1 bands Greater Glasgow Police Scotland, Los Angeles Scots and Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate had entered, but did not attend. St. Thomas Alumni of Houston, Texas, won Grade 2 for the second straight day, after taking the event at North Berwick. The weather was windy all day, but stayed dry until the march past.

Grade 1 (medley, eight competed)
1st Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (2,1,1,1)
2nd ScottishPower (1,2,2,2)
3rd Manawatu Scottish (3,3,3,3)
4th MacKenzie Caledonian (Gr2) (4,6,4,4)
5th St. Thomas Alumni (Gr2) (6,4,5,5)
6th City of Discovery (Gr2) (8,5,6,7)
7th Portland Metro (Gr2) (7,7,7,6)
8th Oban (Gr2) (8,8,8,8)
Judges: George Wilson, Brian Switalla (piping); David Brown (drumming); Gordon Craig (ensemble)

Grade 2 (MSR)
1st St. Thomas Alumni (1,1,2,3)
2nd George Watson’s College (Juvenile) (3,3,1,2)
3rd MacKenzie Caledonian (2,2,7,1)
4th Portland Metro (4,4,5,4)
5th City of Discovery (5,5,4,6)
6th Oban (6,6,6,5)
7th Royal Burgh of Stirling (9,7,3,7)
8th Portlethan & District (7,9,8,8)
9th Wallacestone & District (8,8,9,9)
Judges: Jim Semple, Tom Brown (piping); Allan Craig (drumming); Paul Turner (ensemble)


New Zealand Police wins at Moira


Moira Demense, Northern Ireland – August 6, 2016 – The New Zealand Police travelled a long way to compete in and win the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Championships, put on by the RSPBA’s Northern Ireland branch against four other bands in the Grade 1 event. Tow Grade 2 bands played up in the event.

Grade 1 (medley, five competed)
1st New Zealand Police (1,1,1,1)
2nd Bleary & District (2,4,3,2)
3rd Police Service of Northern Ireland (Gr2) (4,2,2,4)
4th Ravara (3,5,4,3)
5th Closkelt (Gr2) (5,3,5,5)
Judges: Ian Wood, Ken Eller (piping); Gordon Parkes (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

New Zealand Police at the line at Moira.

Grade 2 (MSR, seven competed)
1st Police Service of Northern Ireland (2,1,1,1)
2nd Closkelt (1,3,3,4)
3rd Aughintober (Gr3A) (4,2,4,2)
4th Thiepval Memorial (6,4,2,3)
5th Colmcille (Gr3A) (3,5,5,5)
6th New Ross & District (Gr3A) (5,6,6,6)
7th Ballybriest (Gr3A) (7,7,7,7)
Judges: Ian Wood, Ken Eller (piping); Gordon Parkes (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)


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UPCOMING EVENTS August 27, 2016Cowal Pipe Band ChampionshipCowal Park, Dunoon

August 27, 2016Foothills Highland GamesFoothills Composite High School in Okotoks, Alberta.

August 27, 2016The North Lanark Highland GamesN.L.A.S. Fairgrounds, Almonte, Ontario

September 3, 2016Calgary Highland GamesSpringbank Park

September 3, 2016CANMORE HIGHLAND GAMESCanmore, AB

The more you play, the better you get; the better you get, the more you enjoy it; the more you enjoy it, the more you play.
Anne Spalding, Broughty Ferry, Scotland