March 31, 2011

More than 100 entries to first online-only solo piping contest

More than 100 entries from every continent but Antarctica resulted in the world’s first known digital-only competition being deemed a success by organizer Jori Chisholm, making winners of David MacNeil (Canada), Ernesto Góngora Acosta (Mexico), Colleen Poe (USA), Bill Urquhart  (USA), George Low (USA) and Fred Arnold (Canada).

Contestants submitted their entries across six amateur grades via YouTube or audio recording. The judges were Alan Bevan, Surrey, British Columbia; Andrew Hayes, Ottawa; and James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island.

A total of 13 “events” were on offer, including “Best Background,” “Best Video Quality” and “Best Dress & Deportment,” in addition to traditional competition playing requirements.

Each judge received notice of the video and audio entries, assessed and returned a score sheet for each one. Chisholm then compiled the results.

“The competition was a great opportunity for many pipers to compete, to gain valuable feedback from the judges, and to participate in the wider piping community,” Chisholm said. “Many of the pipers live in places that require long distance travel to get to traditional competition locations. Several pipers – including some of the prizewinners – competed for the first time.”

Chisholm said that he is already planning another Online Piping Competition for April.

Winners received prizes related to the organizer’s teaching business.

The full results of the event:

Grade 1

David MacNeil, Canada

Grade 2

Ernesto Góngora Acosta, Mexico

Grade 3

Colleen Poe, USA

Grade 4

Bill Urquhart, USA

Grade 5

George Low, USA


Fred Arnold, Canada

Best Background: Peter Schmidt, USA
Best Dress & Deportment: Bill Urquhart

Best Video Quality: Kevin McSwiggan

It is not known how or if the competition safeguards against pipe-syncing.

The Competing Pipers Association for more than a decade has allowed video examples for its grading of applicants.


  1. Congrats to all involved. I think it’s understated that so many participants were able to compete from around the world — a monumental feat that speaks to the progressiveness of our historic” instrument. This will only augment our instrument and enrich the “live

  2. Curious to know if there is a way to view the competitors performances – at the very least, those that placed. The article did not share if that was possible.



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