December 31, 2010

Silver Medal Qualifier to continue for next two years

The Silver Medal qualifier implemented for the first time in 2010 is likely to happen again after the two relevant Scottish competitions – the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban and the Northern Meeting at Inverness – agreed to its continuation in 2011 and 2012. According to the Competing Pipers Association, the events will then be reviewed by Scotland’s Joint Committee for Judging to determine its future.

While the Silver Medal Qualifier competition took place, it was only after some confusion and last-minute alterations that saw all 12 entrants to the competition get a free pass to the Silver Medal, regardless of the result.

The event is again open to pipers graded “B” by the CPA, who have had their entry to the Silver Medal events rejected. Those with a B-minus grading are not eligible.

The 2011 qualifier event is expected to take place again on the weekend before the Argyllshire Gathering, which is scheduled for August 24-25.

While the qualifier competition was seen by most pipers concerned as a positive step forward, several non-UK-based competitors complained about the additional onus to make a special trip abroad with no guarantee of a successful outcome.

The Silver Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness were started in 1977 with the intent to alleviate entry in the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal events, which had been attracting nearly 60 competitors. Entry in the Silver Medal is restricted generally to about 30 competitors, with approximately 15 would-be competitors having their entry rejected.

The UK’s Joint Committee for Judging is a group that comprises members of the Piobaireachd Society, the Competing Pipers Association, the major gatherings and others. who collectively It is the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting who solely accept or reject entries to their events, usually over a single day of deliberation.


  1. Hi, I’d like to share my thoughts as I was personally selected to play in the Silver Medal Qualifier this year at the College of Piping in Glasgow. It was my first experience competing on the solo circuit in Scotland so I didn’t really know what to expect, except that there would be many excellent players all vying for the same goal. Maybe if it hadn’t been for the Silver Medals Qualifier, I wouldn’t have had a chance at all!! As they say, you’ve gotta be in it” and under the previous selection system I doubt that my playing record being only overseas

  2. It’s a good step forward and of course, if you’re from North America it does make it harder both in time and finances, but it is then your choice to try to make it or risk getting a great track record up for the next year. If not for the descision in 1977 to START the Silver Medal, I for one would have had to wait more years to try to have a shot at one of the medals. Bring that forward to today, and, according to the stat posted here ( 30 players and 15 in qualifier) that would leave 45 people unable to play in the event. At this time where so many contests struggle to get enough competitors or bands, we should be glad to have such a problem where there are just that many great players of that ability out there trying to win these coveted prizes. It’s the first step to what may end up being more qualifiers one hopes, and if it works successfully, perhaps they will take a better stronger look at a North American qualifier. Just remember though, while it does cost more to stay in Scotland for an extra week, if Kansas became a qualifier ( just a name) I know first hand that it costs approximately $600 to fly there from Halifax, plus 2 nights hotel, $200 plus the large entry fee ($50 per event I believe) plus the other basic food and travel costs so this is also a BIG expense. Keep the glass half full and realize that if it is your goal to play in and hopefully win the Silver or Gold Medals, there is a large investment of time and money needed. Yes it’s easier for local players for sure but that’s just the nature of the game. Look at golf, many Europeans are happy to play well in their country or their continental tour but if they want the biggest events, they have to put out alot of extra time and money to try to make it in America on the PGA tour. Good luck to all those attempting to qualify at next years event. Bruce Gandy

  3. Why do they not just accept those that got a prize at the biggest pibroch events around ther world and just get on with it instead of putting overseas people through yet another hoop of fire??? Maxville, KC, BC indoors, RU Brown etc these events have 20 and up playing in them including gold medalists no?



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