March 31, 2008

Pipers get the good and bad news from Oban

Click to enlarge.The Argyllshire Gathering at Oban has released its list of competitors accepted to its 2008 competitions and, as always, those who made the lists will be pleased, while those not included will be disappointed.

For the first time in several years, 30 pipers have been awarded a spot in the entry for the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal competition, with 31 this year making the cut. In past years, fewer than the competition’s maximum of 30 have been accepted, and last year only 27 were accepted, with no reason provided.

In a form-letter to applicants, Piping Steward Jamie Fraser stated that “It was agreed by the Joint Committee that as the standard of applications this year was high and that we usually have one competitor withdraw from each competition, we should notify 31 to give everyone the same opportunity but with the intention that the competitions will start with no more than 30 competitors on the day. This is a risk.”

The Joint Vetting Committee is run by Oban and Inverness, each chairing it in alternate years. The two parties invite others at their discretion, and generally include representatives from the Competing Pipers Association and a few judges.

This year’s committee consisted of Richard Cameron and Alison Harbison from the Northern Meeting; Jamie Fraser and Torquil Telfer from the Argyllshire Gathering; judges John MacDougall, Iain MacFadyen and Tom Speirs; and from the Competing Pipers Association Colin MacLellan, Grading Committee chairman, and Tracey Williams, secretary.

In the Gold Medal event, eight of the 31 accepted pipers do not live in the United Kingdom. Twenty of the 30 Silver Medal competitors reside in the UK.

“The number of entries was high and inevitably many people will be disappointed not to have been included,” Fraser added.

Of particular note was 16-year-old Faye Henderson of Kirriemuir, Scotland, being accepted to the Silver Medal. The Northern Meeting requires pipers in the non-Junior competitions to be at least 18 years old; the Argyllshire Gathering does not.

The total number of applications was not disclosed.


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