Published: May 27, 2020

First Peel Police solo contest gains nearly 150 entries

Judges John Cairns and Bob Worrall will have a very long day of work on Saturday. Still, it’s a good problem to have, as the first event in the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band’s online solo piping competition season gets underway on Saturday, May 30.

More than 140 competitors have entered worldwide to try their hands at live-streaming their performances for the judges. They could feel as if they are right there, but they will be as far away as 14,000 kilometres.

The organizers, based in Ontario, Canada, have received entries even from the southern hemisphere, presenting logistical challenges due to time zones. Where traditional in-person competitions only have to contend with players turning up on time, an online contest has to deal with complications like the International Dateline.

“This has made scheduling a little tricky,” said Cairns, pipe-major of the Peel Police Grade 2 band and the main organizer of the competitions. “We are contending with time zones from New Zealand to Germany and everything in-between. Thankfully, we have managed to make it work and will have a full 14-plus hours of live piping and drumming contests this Saturday.”

Not knowing the response to the first event, securing enough judges was tricky, especially when one adjudicator had to drop out. That left Cairns – the winner of both Highland Society of London Gold Medals in 1999 – stepping in to ensure things go well.

The next event in the Peel Police solo piping season will be on June 27. They have already secured three judges and expect the same day of more than 14 hours of contests.

The competitions across all grades, including Professional, will follow to playing requirements set out by the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and all judging will take place in real-time.

Cairns said that they plan to post authorized videos from the event on his band’s YouTube channel early in the following week.

Entries for the three remaining Peel Police events are still open. Contestants can enter for all four events for CAD$64, with entries accepted from anywhere, but with the proviso that the events are in the daytime during eastern daylight time. The online platform for the events will be Microsoft Teams.

As the coronavirus worldwide shutdown has necessitated the cancellation of piping and drumming competitions, new live-streamed and submitted video contests have emerged. A few piping and drumming associations have already adopted new rules and guidelines for how online events should operate.

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