April 17, 2024

Eight entered for American Championships in Norfolk; three Australian bands in for tattoo

The seventh running of the American Pipe Band Championships is this Saturday, April 20th, once again at Scope Plaza in Norfolk, Virginia, and a total of eight will compete in the Grade 2 and Grade 3 events:

Grade 2

  • Carnegie Mellon University (Gr3)
  • City of Chicago
  • Great Lakes
  • MacMillan
  • Ulster Scottish

Grade 3

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • MacMillan-Birtles Memorial
  • Róisín Dubh
  • Siren City (Gr4)

Each band will compete in Medley and MSR events, and the panel of eight unnamed “highly acclaimed international judges” will assess all performances, a distinction of the competition, which started in 2016.

“We will again have a great panel of adjudicators, spanning four countries and three continents.” – Andrew Carlisle

“We started the ‘double panel’ with four piping, two ensemble, and two drumming judges back in our first year in 2016 and the bands really like getting the extra feedback, especially early in the season and have requested it each year since,” said Andrew Carlisle, the competition’s Artistic Director. “We will again have a great panel of adjudicators, spanning four countries and three continents.”

Only three aggregate prizes will be awarded in each grade, with prize money topping at US$2,000 for first in Grade 2 and $1,500 for the Grade 3 winner. There’s also a Drum Fanfare competition with a single $1,000 prize.

The whole competition is free and open to the public and, weather permitting held outside at Norfolk’s Scope Arena Plaza. The contests will be moved indoors to the 6,000-seat Scope Arena if the weather warrants it. Taking over as emcee is the well-known American piper Bob Mitchell, who succeeds Arthur McAra, who retired after the 2023 event.

The scene at the 2018 American Pipe Band Championships. [Photo De Ann Troen]
The competitions will be live-streamed via the Virginia International Tattoo’s Facebook page starting at noon Eastern time.

All competing bands will also perform in the Virginia International Tattoo from April 18-21, along with five other groups coming in for the shows: 51 ACU Swan Regiment (Australia), Camden County Emerald Society (USA), Scots College Sydney (Australia), Scots College Old Boys (Australia), and Tidewater (USA).

New to the Virginia International Tattoo is a Highland dancing competition that will coincide with the pipe band contests.

The events are part of the Virginia Arts Festival, an annual event that has been going on for 27 years and, according to organizers, brings in $25-million to the local economy.

Ulster Scottish of Philadelphia won Grade 2 at last year’s American Pipe Band Championships.






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