May 24, 2015

Big top-grades contest at Norfolk planned for April 2016

According to organizer Fraser Clark, as many as eight Grade 1 and four Grade 2 bands will have a good portion of their expenses covered to compete at a large competition in sync with the twentieth anniversary of the Virginal International Tattoo in Norfolk, Virginia, in April 2016.

Sanctioned by the EUSPBA, the contest would be under the direction of the Virginia Arts Festival, with “a staff of professionals running a world-class event,” Clark said, who is also hoping that competing bands would also agree to perform in the military tattoo.

Clark is a Captain with the Canadian Forces and a former member of several bands, including the Grade 1 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) and the Grade 2 48th Highlanders, and he also competed for a time in the Professional solo grade, winning, among other prizes, the Gold Medal for Piobaireachd at Maxville in 1998.

Clark confirmed that budget was approved in early-April to support seven North American Grade 1 bands and four Grade 2 bands each with a travel stipend of US$4,000 and US$2,500, respectively, with money guaranteed when they confirm their participation. The event also plans to bring in one Grade 1 band from the UK to compete.

“The event could be somewhat similar to the old Scottish World Festival from the 1970s in Toronto,” Clark said in his correspondence to bands to gauge their interest. “The difference here is that the competition is open to the public (no charge) albeit on a slightly smaller scale by necessity (and if we can create enough momentum by having some Grade 1 and 2 bands appear in 2016, then perhaps this will assist in the creation of a bigger pipe band event the following year or even years down the line).”

The Scottish World Festival was held for several years as part of the Canadian National Exhibition. Virtually every UK Grade 1 and many Grade 2 bands and Scottish Pipe Band Association officials and judges were flown via chartered jet to . . .





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