September 08, 2021

MWPBA-run Wisconsin games a sign of things to come?

Delafield, Wisconsin – September 4, 2021 – A historical rarity happened on September 4th when the Midwest Pipe Band Association ran a full outdoor pipe band and solo competitions at St. John’s Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin, a possible portent of things to come for world piping and drumming.

The MWPBA stepped in to save the Wisconsin Highland Games after games organizers had to pull the plug on the event in nearby Waukesha due to a shortage of workers to staff concessions and other ancillary features of a typical Highland games.

MWPBA President Jim Sim congratulates Pipe-Major Patrick Lynch of the City of Chicago Pipe Band at the 2021 Wisconsin Games.

While indoor competitions run completely by associations are relatively common, piping and drumming associations rarely, if ever, stage an outdoor games without a third-party group underwriting overall event. An association’s role is generally limited to running only the competitions, not securing the venue and all of the needs that go along with hold public pipe band and solo competitions and massed bands.

“The contest went off and it went very well,” said MWPBA President Jim Sim. “We were able to pull it off in two weeks with the help of several people volunteering as well as several generous donors. It cost about US$12,000 to put on, so we needed every dime we could get.”

2021 Wisconsin Games massed bands.

Traditional Highland games outside of Scotland, and even those within the country that invented them, could be increasingly threatened by a lack of attendance, high costs, and a shortage of volunteers. Most competitions around the world are held together by a razor-thin margin, and the COVID-19 pandemic will likely place even more stress on them. Some events are in reality one day of bad weather away from folding.

The Cobourg Highland Games in Cobourg, Ontario, are scheduled for Saturday, September 11th, at Victoria Park in the idyllic lakeside town. The outdoor event is the first in Ontario since 2019, and continues to be organized by the local town committee, with piping and drumming and band competitions run by the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario.

With autumn closing in on Canada, the forecast for the day in Cobourg is fortunately for sunshine and a high of 25 degree Celsius.

The Wisconsin Games also benefitted from excellent weather.

“It was great to see all of the smiling faces of friends again,” Sim added. “Of course, it was also great to hear bands live again. I think everyone enjoyed the day and we had a pretty good crowd of spectators watching.”

The drummers of Turlach Ur.

Grade 3 (MSR)
1st Turlach Ur
Judges: Chris Apps, Tad Myers (piping); Jim Sim (drumming); Tom Ogilvy (ensemble)

Grade 4 (medley)
1st Cameron & District (1,1,1,1)
2nd City of Chicago (2,2,2,2)
3rd The Alliance (5,5,3,3)
4th Milwaukee Scottish (4,3,5,5)
5th Chicago Stock Yard Kilty (6,4,4,4)
6th Madison (3,6,6,6)
Judges: Chris Apps, Tad Myers (piping); Jim Sim (drumming); Tom Ogilvy (ensemble)

Grade 5 (quickmarch medley)
1st City of Rockford (2,1,2,1)
2nd Turlach Ur (1,3,1,2)
3rd Celtic Nations (3,2,3,3)

Solo Piping
1st Avens Ridgeway
2nd Jack Williamson
3rd David McNally
Judge: Brian Donaldson

1st Jack Williamson
2nd Avens Ridgeway
3rd Griffin Hall
4th David McNally
Judge: Brian Donaldson

Hornpipe & Jig
1st David McNally
2nd Griffin Hall
3rd Jack Williamson
4th Avens Ridgeway
Judge: Tom Ogilvy

6/8 March
1st Griffin Hall
2nd Jack Williamson
3rd Avens Ridgeway
4th David McNally
Judge: Tad Myers

The City of Chicago also performed a Medley and an MSR as the only band in Grade 2, receiving feedback sheets from the judges.



Wisconsin competition saved by MWPBA
August 24, 2021

Wisconsin Games cancelled due to worker shortages
August 19, 2021





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