September 30, 2011

New York Metro hauls in $3k Celtic Classic Grade 3 prize

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – September 24-25, 2011 – The New York Metro Pipe Band captured the US$3,000 first prize at the Celtic Classic Pipe Band Competition, an annual event that is part of the larger Celtic Classic festival that is attended by upwards of 50,000 people.  New York Metro was first in both the MSR and medley contests. The competitions are held under the Hill to Hill Bridge in the town’s centre. Two piping judges, two ensemble judges, and one drumming judge assessed the events, five of whom were flown in from the UK.

Grade 3
1st New York Metro
2nd Ulster Scottish
3rd MacMillan United

Grade 4
1st Scotia Glenville
2nd City of Albany
3rd Buffalo Caledonian

Judges for all events: David Wotherspoon, Fraser Sergeant (piping); Alan Craig, Scott Walker (ensemble); Mark Wilson (drumming)


  1. Congrats to NY Metro. What a way to end a legendary season! On a contest note….I found it interesting to hear the committee noted that No Ringers” were allowed to play

  2. I believe that they did not play much before the worlds due to logistics, but, Im not going to get into this as these comments seem to be heading towards yet another dunsire type argument about

  3. Interesting choice of judges given that Fraser Sergeant, David Wothrespoon and Allan Craig are all with Grade 2 Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band and none of whom are qualified RSPBA Adjudicators. Scott Walker I am not sure and Mark Wilson is an RSPBA judge. Seen this band at the Worlds and it was seriously out it’s Grade, should probably have been in Grade 2.

  4. FWIW, all bands that take home first prizes in grades 4-2 are usually in a low grade for the band. Not always the case in grade 2 though, but my point is, NYC Metro was in the correct grade at the Worlds. I suspect next year, if they go they will be in Grade 3A, which would be one step up. If they do well in 3A maybe they jump to Grade 2. This would be a wise progression and correct. Why would a band jump grade too fast? Build up and work hard is a better approach. I can’t comment on judge selection.

  5. @ Curt If you were at the worlds, you would have noticed that they dropped 4 or 5 pipers in the final tuning area and still went in with about 16, plus a drum corps to match the power and size of any grade 2 band. They have 33 pipers, 16 sides & 6 tenors on their roster. Are you trying to tell me that a band full of Ex Grade 1 and 2 players are going to play in grade 3a at the worlds on their next outting ??? [edited] These guys will definitely go to Grade 2, and rightly so.

  6. Thanks Wisehart. The contest was run by ‘EUSPBA rules’ and was not sanctioned. Organizers said that competing players would be closely monitored and would ask a band to step out if they didn’t follow the rules. The Celtic Classic is a great games. I heard it was the largest FREE highland games in the country. Any truth to that?

  7. Curt, you are aware that they spent all of last season beating Grade 3A bands? Ulster, City of Dunedin, and maybe some others. They also played at no games before the Worlds, there is some questioning that if the RSPBA had heard them in full force prior they may have pulled one of their crazy moves and tried to have upgraded them where they stood, (rumor though, so no real basis on that part). They are an excellent band. I would love to get another chance to play against them, but a jump to grade 2 would not be out of this world for them. Good luck to them either way.

  8. If you folks are going to argue that a newly formed band like NY Metro are not going about things correctly, I suggest you at least get your facts straight. Here is a result from Colonial Highland Games here in EUSPBA country: 1. Ulster Scottish Pipe Band 1-1-1-2 2. NY Metro Pipe Band 2-2-2-1 You can clearly see NY Metro was beat handily. Stop complaining and give a NEW band credit. I would much rather see a band form and go through the grades properly than a band get downgraded because they are just wanting to say they are in grade X. Congratulations to NY Metro for going about things right. First trip to the Worlds in the grade that they play in their home association and the DO NOT have a perfect record. Next.

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