May 17, 2021

Ontario launches tune composing contest to mark 75 years

Three-quarters of a century will have passed in 2022 since the Pipers’ Society of Ontario was formed, and the organization, called the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario since the 1970s, is searching for new compositions to mark the event.

They’ve partnered with Jim McGillivray’s bagpipe music repository,, to make the effort a success, with a prize purse for the top three four-part 2/4 marches totalling $1,450, with a first-prize of $1,000.

A separate competition for a 4/4 march will award a silver engraved practice chanter from McCallum Bagpipes and a one-year membership with the PPBSO.

(Disclosure: both and McCallum Bagpipes are long-time advertisers with pipes|drums.)

What’s more, the winning 4/4 march will be played at massed bands at all competitions in 2022, assuming that Ontario will allow such gatherings by then.

The 2/4 march category is open to anyone, while composers submitting two-part 4/4 marches must be a PPBSO member “in good standing.” Music creators have to give their entries a name that references the 75th anniversary.

“I think a tune contest commemorating a significant PPBSO anniversary is an excellent start to our anniversary year,” McGillivray responded after a request for comment. “It seemed to be a natural fit for as a premier publisher of pipe music.”

Jim McGillivray is also the PPBSO’s Music Committee chair and, while his catalog comprises fewer than 10 tunes, compositions such as “Michael MacDonald’s Jig” and “Skye Rovers,” have enjoyed massive popularity.

The organization confirmed that PPBSO board and executive members are allowed to enter the competitions, which are being judged by Bill Livingstone and Bob Worrall, two famous elder statesmen of the PPBSO, themselves well-played composers.

The organization said that the judges will assess based on “originality, musicality and adherence to the idiom,” but cautioned that entries suspected of plagiarizing will be disqualified.

The deadline is July 18, 2021, and the winners will be announced at the only version of the Fergus Scottish Festival, which, coincidentally, also celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Copyright will remain with composers. That means that the creator of the winning 4/4 march can earn performance royalties each time their composition is played at the massed bands and elsewhere in public, provided they are a member of a performing rights organization and the events have submitted required licensing lists of music performed. If played at the Glengarry Highland Games before 20,000 spectators, it could be a reasonable sum of money.






Forgotten Password?