November 30, 2007

CPA forms ‘more international’ Grading Committee

With the deadline for applications on November 30th, the Competing Pipers Association (CPA) has revealed that the organization’s new Grading Committee “is as international as it has ever been,” according to new President John-Angus Smith (pictured right).

The Committee is responsible for assigning grades to CPA members so that they may be better assigned to compete in various UK competitions that require or consider CPA status for entry. Unlike the rest of the world, the UK solo piping scene has no formal grading process from competition to competition. Those older than 18 generally have to compete in a single “senior” grade, while those younger than 18 compete in “the juniors.”

Major competitions like the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting give consideration to CPA grading to most of their non-senior events. Qualification to enter contests like the Clasp and Silver Star Former Winners MSR at Inverness is strictly by having won previous events. While these competitors are generally graded “Premier” by the CPA, by they don’t have to be a CPA member to compete. The Scottish Piping Society of London’s competitions in November are one of very few that require competitors to be CPA members.

The CPA’s new Grading Committee consists of:

  • Colin MacLellan, Edinburgh (Chair)
  • Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia
  • Bill Livingstone, Whitby, Ontario
  • Donald MacPhee, Alexandria, Scotland
  • Malcolm McRae, Australia
  • James Murray, Cupar, Scotland
  • Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
  • Greg Wilson, Palmerston North, New Zealand

“Four of the panel are based overseas, and all are internationally renowned experts,” Smith said. “I think this should allay the concerns of the non-Scottish based players and allow a full internationally comparable assessment of pipers. All are or have been Premier-Grade competing pipers.”

Smith added that the CPA has updated its explanation of the grading process its website, and those wishing to be in touch with the organization should contact CPA Secretary Tracey Williams at

About 90 of the world’s solo pipers are accepted to the non-Junior events at the Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering. About 30 gain entry to each of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal and the Silver Medal competitions.


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