While some of the world’s piping and drumming associations are struggling to what they have going with reductions, the Midwest Pipe Band Association stands in contrast by increasing the numbers of events by 50 per cent, and adding prize money substantially to the Chicago Highland Games in June.
According to MWPBA President Jim Sim, his organization will boast nine full outdoor contests this summer, an increase of three from 2000 when the organization started to have annual summit meetings with the Highland games. The MWPBA also expanded its indoor winter circuit of amateur events, which recently culminated in an indoor championship in Palatine, Illinois, featuring the best aggregate winners from the Rota.
The MWPBA will also run its first full piping and drumming summer school from in River Forest, Illinois, from June 16-20, in conjunction with the June 21st Chicago Highland Games. The Chicago games has substantially boosted its prize money, with first prizes of $1,500, $1,300, $1,200 and $500 in Grade 2 to Grade 5, respectively, with four cash prize places in each grade.
“We started having Annual Summits with our Highland games representatives about four years ago,” Sim said. “We only had six contests at that time, and since then we have added three outdoor contests that run from May to the end of September. This is in addition to the six regional solo events plus the finals in the spring and our summer school, which is new this year. Our calendar is pretty full. All of this is to better the playing level of all involved, bands and soloists. Some of our young soloists did well in contests in Ontario and the East last year. The increase in prize money at the Chicago Games shows that we have great cooperation with our games.”
The full schedule of MWPBA outdoor events:
- Springfield, Illinois – May 17
- Alma, Michigan – May 24-25
- Milwaukee – June 7
- Chicago – June 21
- St. Paul, Minnesota – July 12
- Orion Township, Michigan – July 26
- Waukesha, Wisconsin – August 30
- Central, Kentucky – September 20
- St. Louis – September 27