MacHattie, Buckland make waves at Atlantic Challenge

Published: April 25, 2016

Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada – April 23, 2016 – James MacHattie and Katie Buckland won the Professional Piobaireachd and MSR, respectively, at the 2016 Atlantic Canada Challenge at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada. Alan Bevan, brought across the country from Abbotsford, British Columbia, judged all of the events and ran workshops the next day. The light music events were added this year for the first time, and entries were at an all-time high.

James MacHattie (2nd left) accepts the 2016 Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge trophy from Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association’s Rick Crawford, with College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts Director Karen Hatcher (far left) and adjudicator Alan Bevan.

1st James MacHattie, “My King has Landed in Moidart”
2nd Alex Gandy, “Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg”
3rd James Dyson, “The MacDonalds are Simple”

1st Katie Buckland
2nd James MacHattie
3rd Alex Gandy

Katie Buckland (2nd left) accepts the 2016 Atlantic Canada MSR Challenge trophy from Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association’s Rick Crawford, with College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts Director Karen Hatcher (far left) and adjudicator Alan Bevan.

Grade 1
1st Sarah Simpson, “The Stewarts’ White Banner”
2nd Kaitlin Kimove, “Castle Menzies”
3rd Peter Allen, “Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg”

1st Kaitlin Kimove
2nd Sarah Simpson
3rd Peter Allen

Grade 2
1st Calum Brydon, “The Piper’s Warning to his Master”
2nd Brady Webb, “I am Proud to Play a Pipe”

1st Calum Brydon
2nd Brady Webb

Grade 3
1st Danielle Chiarotto, “The MacDonalds are Simple”
2nd Chris MacKnight, “Castle Menzies”
3rd William Duncan, “I am Proud to Play a Pipe”

1st Danielle Chiarotto
2nd Doug Hamilton
3rd Chris MacKnight

Grade 4
1st Carl Brydon, “The MacDonalds are Simple”
2nd James Gendron, “The Boat Tune”
3rd Calum MacKinnon, “Hector MacLean’s Warning”

1st James Gendron
2nd Calum MacKinnon

Grade 5
1st Dalton Faulkner, “The Boat Tune”
2nd Carly MacKenzie, “I am Proud to Play a Pipe”

1st Dalton Faulkner
2nd Carly MacKenzie

(Updated) Inveraray wins Virginia Championship

Published: April 23, 2016

Norfolk, Virginia – April 23, 2016 – The first Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championships were won by Inveraray & District in Grade 1, and Metro New York in Grade 2. The contest was held at Scope Plaza in downtown Norfolk in cool but mostly sunny conditions, until there was a severe weather warning with sudden 50 mph winds, and half-inch hail stones predicted, so the plaza was evacuated and the Grade 1 Medley was held in the Scope Arena. The closing massed bands were able to be held outdoors after the storm.​

A total of eight bands, four each in Grade 1 and Grade 2, competed in the events, which were part of the well-established Virginia International Tattoo, at which the bands had performed throughout the week. It was the first contest for new Metro New York Pipe-Major Matthew Welch.

The competition doubled the usual number of judges for each event. The contest was not officially sanctioned by any pipe band association but, according to Andrew Carlisle, the head of the piping degree program at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh and a member of the Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band and who was in charge of appointing the judges, the competition was “strongly supported by the EUSPBA and Dan Cole (president) had been involved from day one of the planning process, but we opted not to be sanctioned.” Half of the judges are competing members of Grade 1 bands, including David Hilder, the Pipe-Major of Dowco-Triumph Street. Organizers did not disclose the judges until the day before the competition.

Inveraray competed with North American pipers in its ranks, including Andrew Douglas, Eric Ouelette, both formerly of the Grade 1 Stuart Highlanders, and former Spirit of Scotland member Jim McGillivray.

Inveraray & District coming on to the competition circle at the 2016 Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championships.

Grade 1
1st Inveraray & District ($US$2500)
2nd Police Scotland Fife ($1000)
3rd Toronto Police ($500)
Best Drum Corps: Inveraray & District
Best Piping: Inveraray & District

1st Inveraray & District (1,1,1,1; 1,1; 1,1)
2nd Police Scotland Fife (2,2,3,2; 2,2; 2,2)
3rd Toronto Police (4,3,2,4; 4,4; 3,3)
4th Peel Regional Police (3,4,4,3; 3,3; 4,4)
Judges: Andrew Carlisle, Ian Duncan, Ken Eller, Nat Russell (piping); Jon Quigg, Mark Wilson (drumming); Michael Grey, David Hilder (ensemble)

1st Inveraray & District (1,1,1,1; 2,1; 1,1)
2nd Police Scotland Fife (2,2,2,2; 1,2; 2,2)
3rd = Peel Regional Police (3,4,4,3; 3,4; 4,3) / Toronto Police (4,3,3,4; 4,3; 3,4)
Judges: Andrew Carlisle, Ian Duncan, David Hilder, Nat Russell (piping); Jon Quigg, Mark Wilson (drumming); Ken Eller, Michael Grey (ensemble)

New York Metro competing in the Grade 2 competition.

Grade 2

1st New York Metro ($2500)
2nd MacMillan ($1000)
3rd Great Lakes ($500)
Best Drum Corps: MacMillan
Best Piping: New York Metro

Grade 2
1st New York Metro (3,1,1,1; 2,2; 1,1)
2nd MacMillan (1,4,3,2; 3,1; 4,3)
3rd Midlothian Scottish (2,3,2,3; 4.4; 3,2)
4th Great Lakes (4,2,4,4; 1,3; 2,4)
Judges: Andrew Carlisle, Ian Duncan, David Hilder, Nat Russell (piping); Jon Quigg, Mark Wilson (drumming); Ken Eller, Michael Grey (ensemble)

1st New York Metro (1,1,1,1; 2,2; 1,1)
2nd MacMillan (3,2,3,2; 1,1; 2,3)
3rd Great Lakes (2,3,2,4; 3,3; 4,4)
4th Midlothian Scottish (4,4,4,3; 4,4; 3,2)
Judges: Andrew Carlisle, Ian Duncan, Michael Grey, David Hilder (piping); Jon Quigg, Mark Wilson (drumming); Ken Eller, Nat Russell (ensemble)

Drum Fanfare: Police Scotland Fife ($1000)

Do you have competition results? Be sure to share them with us using the format above, along with a few pictures, by sending them to us by email.


Band tattoo coming to Glasgow in January

Published: April 22, 2016

The organizers of the successful Belfast Tattoo have decided to launch the first Glasgow Tattoo at the city’s SSE Hydro, January 20-21, 2017, with a variety of musical groups on the bill, including the Scottish Fire & Rescue Service, Glasgow Skye Association and Lomond & Clyde pipe bands, all currently in Grade 2.

The event lands in the middle of the well-established Celtic Connections folk music festival held throughout the city, but organizer Colin Wasson said that there are plans to move the 2017 to February so that the Glasgow Tattoo can be seen as a stand-alone destination event.

“We very much think there is an appetite for an indoor event such as ours no matter whether it’s January or June,” Wasson said. “Northern Ireland and Scotland have had similar problems in that marching bands have attracted bad press because of a few problem bands. We present the bands who appear at the tattoo in a way no one could be offended and we present them in a spectacular manner in order to entertain the public.”

The SSE Hydro

“Given the close and historic cultural heart that beats between Belfast and Glasgow, through its strong ship building links, its sporting links and its music and cultural links, we are very proud to be creating an event for Glasgow, which will reflect Glasgow’s proud history and reflect it links with the rest of the world,” said Colin Wasson, producer of The Glasgow Tattoo in a news release.

Wasson is also behind The Spring Gatherin’ in Belfast, which showcases a number of pipe bands and flute bands from Northern Ireland. Launched in 2015, the event originally planned for pipe band competitions with audience judging, but plans were scuttled when the RSPBA allegedly put pressure on bands that had committed to compete not to do so, as the event was not officially sanctioned by the association. The event continued as non-competition performances-only, and was held earlier in April.

Inside the SSE Hydro

“I actively encourage bands to think outside their normal parameters and encourage them to present themselves in a manner they would not normally think to do so and play music they would not normally consider,” Wasson added.

When asked if there are plans to add pipe band competitions to the event, Wasson said, “At present there are no plans to introduce pipe band competitions around the Glasgow Tattoo at present but, as in all things, I would never rule it out if there was seen to be a serious and credible appetite for such.”

David Wilton, pipe-major of Lomond & Clyde and a former World Champion Highland Dancer, will be in charge of dance choreography, with performers including the Glasgow Tattoo Highland Dancers and the Innova Irish Dance Troupe, semi-finalists in the Britain’s Got Talent TV show in 2014.

Also performing at the Glasgow Tattoo will be the Pride Of Ballinran Flute Band, Blackscull Flute Band, Murley Silver Band, Dungannon Silver Band, Dunloy Accordion Band, Vow Accordion Band, the Artane Band (Dublin), Lume De Biquera Pipe Band (Madrid), Amigo Leiden Band (Holland), and Fascinating Drums (Germany).

The 2015 World Champion Adult Drum-Major, Brian Wilson MBE, also of Lomond & Clyde, will run the performances.

The £45/£40/£35 tickets go on sale starting April 28th. Opened in 2013, the SSE Hydro has a seating capacity of 13,000.


Bagpipe Anatomy 101: The bell

Published: April 17, 2016

Master bagpipe craftsman Thomas Doucet examines drone-tops . . .

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Virginia contest going with eight judges for each event

Published: April 13, 2016

Virginia_Tattoo_LogoThe April 23rd pipe band competition in Norfolk, Virginia, will break away from the normal pipe band four-person judging panel to expand to a more Breton-like approach, with eight adjudicators assessing each event.

Pittsburgh-based piper and Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery member Andrew Carlisle was assigned the task of coordinating judges on behalf of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, as well as the format, and is believed to be responsible for the move, which strictly speaking contravenes rules established in various pipe band organizations, including the EUSPBA, whose jurisdiction includes Norfolk.

The EUSPBA has frequently permitted departures from its rules, whereas other organizations, such as the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have taken a more hard-line approach.

Eight bands are competing at the Virginia contest: in Grade 1 Inveraray & District and Police Scotland Fife of Scotland and the Peel Regional Police and Toronto Police bands from Ontario. In Grade 2: Great Lakes (Michigan), MacMillan (Maryland), Midlothian Scottish (Chicago) and New York Metro.

The Scottish bands are members of the RSPBA, which in 2015 allegedly threatened member-bands with suspension if they competed at the inaugural Spring Gatherin’ contest in Belfast, which originally planned to add an audience voting element to its judging, which was outside of the RSPBA’s rules. The Spring Gatherin’ organizer subsequently decided not to hold contests, opting instead for non-competitive performances.

The Scope Center, Norfolk, Virginia, site of the pipe band competitions and tattoo.

The organizers have asked adjudicators not to share information on who’s judging the events, although it is known that judges will come from mulitple jurisdictions to assess the Medley and MSR events for all bands combined, plus separate Medley and MSR competitions solely for Grade 2, with prizes of US$2,500, US$1,000 and US$500 for the first three places. There’s also an Open Drumming Fanfare contest with one prize of US$1,000. The band prizes are commensurate with those of the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, and what’s offered in Grade 1 at the World Pipe Band Championships.

Judges will reportedly be announced on April 22nd. Proponents of having more judges assess pipe band competitions cite reasons such as mitigating the risk of “rogue” judges unilaterally calling a contest due to wielding more relative power on a panel of four. Such instances are generally in pipe band competitions with 10 or more contestants. Others also advocate throwing out the top and bottom placings of judges, a practice seen in some subjectively-assessed athletic events.

The new Virginia International Tattoo American Bagpipe Championship stems from the established Virginia International Tattoo. Competing bands will also perform at the tattoo.

The competition is being made free to the public.


Archie Cairns: a tribute

Published: April 12, 2016

By Fraser Clark

Editor’s note: On April 1, 2016, Major Archie Cairns, recipient of the Order of Military Merit (MMM) and Canadian Forces Decoration for 12 years’ service (CD) four times over, died at the age of 87. Cairns’s contributions to piping and drumming were significant, and one of his prize-winning pupils, Fraser Clark, a captain in the Canadian Forces, kindly stepped up with this recollection of and tribute to his mentor and friend.

If the late Gordon Highlanders Pipe-Major George Stewart MacLennan is sometimes compared classical composer George Friedrich Handel for his natural gifts in composition, then the pipe band community lost the J.S. Bach of the bagpipes this past week. The death of Archie Cairns marks a milestone in the history of piping not only here in Canada but also in the greater global music community.

Archie’s genius was universally acknowledged and often overlooked, yet less widely known was Archie the Man, the Musician, and the Soldier. He became an unequalled resource of infinite depth whose talents were perhaps more greatly appreciated outside his native Ontario in the last quarter century than we in central Canada may care to acknowledge today.

Archie’s departure almost certainly marks the end of a generation of musicians who could draw a direct line to an era of early 20th century piping and drumming where the open double-stroke five-pace roll ruled the roost and where piping and drumming adjudicators – everywhere – notoriously gulped the grog at the games prior to rendering questionable judgments in all manner of sobriety. Archie was there and saw it all.

In his own way, Archie was a Canadian nationalist who self-identified with the Canadian Armed Forces until the day he died. Even his obituary highlights his rank: Major. But how could it be otherwise? He was born and raised into the Canadian Army, its regimental identity, and was its unwavering champion right up to the end.

Archie’s identification came by way of two streams: heredity and through the blood of his father’s experiences on the battlefields of the First World War. His father, Pipe-Major John Knox Cairns of the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Princess Louise’s), was a veteran of the 19th Canadian Infantry Battalion, one of three Canadian Arygll battalions whose soldiers fed more than 5,000 regimental men into the bloody cauldron on the Western Front.

Archie Cairns’s father, John Knox “J.K.” Cairns, playing with the 19th Battalion Pipes & Drums as Canadian troops cross into Germany in December 1918. The photo appeared on the front pages of newspapers across Canada at the time.

If you’re familiar with Canadian Corps history, you’ll probably know the iconic image of Canadian troops marching into defeated Germany as they salute their commander, General Sir Arthur Currie, in December 1918. The pipe band keeping the troops in step is the 19th, and there stands Archie’s dad, in the ranks, clad in Government Tartan kilt and battle dress tunic, rain and sleet pelting down on the troops as the pipers and drummers stand perfectly still, freezing their fingers off for the victorious Canadian jocks. For Archie, the battle honours of Vimy, Passchendaele and the Pursuit to Mons – where Archie’s dad and his brothers-in-arms gave their all – made indelible impressions on the young piper. And it was likely through his father’s wartime experiences and the role he later played as a senior leader in the post-war Argylls that molded Archie’s lifelong commitment to perfection and service to Canada.

Too young to serve in the Second World War, Archie witnessed many of his elder band-mates deploy overseas while he remained at home . . .


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Bob Worrall Book Three ready to go

Published: April 11, 2016

The third book in world renowned piper, adjudicator, teacher and composer Bob Worrall’s International Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music is ready to start shipping to dealers worldwide under a partnership with Scott’s Highland Services of London, Ontario, which has worked with Worrall to print the new book as well as reprintings of his previous two collections. Scott’s will be the exclusive distributor to dealers.

Book Three features nearly 100 compositions, about a third by Worrall and the balance by a variety of contributing composers such as Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Michael Grey and Ian K. MacDonald, in addition to several arrangements by Worrall of traditional tunes.

The third book comes 24 years after the release of his second collection and 26 years after Book One, which contain many compositions that have proven popular with bands and soloists at every level.


“I’ve found that my own compositions have changed a little bit as I’ve gotten older – a little less-demanding technically,” Worrall said in a brief interview about his more recent composing efforts.

Compositions in the collection will be highlighted in an official launch at Piping Live! in Glasgow, with several of the contributors joining Worrall in live performances.

The International Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music Book Three will be available in late April from piping and drumming businesses worldwide. Books One and Two, which have been increasingly difficult to source, will also be available from many of the same outlets. The books are expected to be priced around $22 each, less than the usual rate charged for substantial print collections.


Boyd wins Glengarry Cup

Published: April 10, 2016

Andrea Boyd with the Glengarry Cup, with (L-R) PPBSO Ottawa branch official Jim Bush, emcee Brian Williamson, Ed Bush, Jacob Dicker, brach official Ron Graham and adjudicator John Elliott. [Photo: Karine Mayers]

Ottawa – April 9, 2016 – Andrea Boyd of Ottawa took her second consecutive Glengarry Cup, an invitational contest organized by the Ottawa Branch of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. The own-choice MSR contest was held at the RCAF Officers’ Mess in downtown Ottawa. It was Boyd’s third time winning the prize. The trophy is donated by the Glengarry Pipe Band. The event was judged by John Elliott, who also led a reed and sound fundamentals workshop earlier in the day for about 60 attendees, taking them through different aspects of the chanter reed making process and reed manipulation techniques.

1st Andrea Boyd, “David Ross,” “Stac Polly,” “Fiona MacLeod”
2nd Jacob Dicker, Ottawa, “Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque,” “Cabar Feidh,” “Sandy Cameron”
3rd Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, “John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage,” “John Roy Stewart,” “MacAllister’s Dirk”

John Elliott takes a large crowd through tips of the reedmaking trade.

Do you have contest results? We can’t report what we don’t have, we’re not mind-readers, and we never lift content from other sources without permission, so please send them by email using the format above, along with a few decent photos.



Willie McCallum Sr., 1928-2016

Published: April 9, 2016

Willie McCallum Sr. and Willie McCallum Jr. at the 2005 Glenfiddich Championships enjoying the younger’s overall victory. [Photo by permission: Derek Maxwell]

William McCallum Sr., the well-known and much-loved piping personality of Campbeltown, Scotland, died suddenly on April 8, 2016, while on a trip to Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, with his son, the legendary piper Willie McCallum Jr., at the annual Donald MacLeod Memorial Invitational Competition. He was 87.

The older McCallum had just finished listening to his son play well across all three events, narrowly missing the overall title.

Willie McCallum Sr. was a piper, but stopped playing early, playing for a time with the local band, of which he was also secretary. His presence around piping in Scotland was almost ubiquitous. He was the head of the Kintyre Pipers Society in Scotland, and a primary organizer of many competitions and events, including the annual Springbank Invitational.

In his pipes|drums Interview of 2009, Willie McCallum Jr. responded to a question about who had the most influence on him as a piper:

“My father without a doubt. He’s the only person I’ve met, who can listen to piping 24 hours a day. He’s got an amazing appetite for listening to bagpipes. It’s huge. I’ve never met anyone who loved it so much. When he was young he got lessons, but he didn’t carry it on because he was working and he just never continued. And, obviously, there are other pipers in the family, so he was kind of frustrated that he didn’t do that. But he’s been a huge driver for me. And if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t playing. There’s no doubt about that.”

Both Willie McCallums were inseparable and the two made up one of the most charming and likable pairs in the piping world. He loved to listen to his son perform, and fittingly made the long journey to Stornoway one last time.

Willie McCallum Sr.’s accomplishments as a piper were few, but his contributions to the scene and the art were many. At the 2003 Glenfiddich Championships, he was awarded the Balvenie Medal for services to piping.

We extend our sympathies to the McCallum family and to Willie McCallum’s innumerable friends at this sad time.


Liddell wins Donald MacLeod Memorial

Published: April 8, 2016

Stuart Liddell

Stornoway, Scotland – April 8, 2016 – The 23rd annual Donald MacLeod Memorial Invitational Solo Piping Competition was won by Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland, a contest in tribute to local favourite piping son, with tunes by the late great composer submitted, along with others. Alan Forbes, Iain MacFadyen and John Wilson judged all of the events. Despite MacLeod creating some of the greatest composition in the genres, the Hornpipe & Jig event is not counted towards the overall result, but Liddell would have won the overall prize regardless.

1st Stuart Liddell, “The Garden of Roses”
2nd Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland
3rd Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
4th Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland

1st Willie McCallum, “Mrs. Duncan MacFadyen,” “Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling,” “Duncan Lamont,” “The Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy,” “The Man from Glengarry”
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Angus MacColl
4th Finlay Johnston, Glasgow

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Angus MacColl, “Kyle Howies,” “Skye”
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Finlay Johnston
4th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland

Also competing but not in the prizes: Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow, and John-Angus Smith, London.

Got results? Send them in to pipes|drums using the format above, along with a couple of pics, by email.

Hawthorn wins Grade 2 at Victorian Championships

Published: April 7, 2016

Melbourne – April 2, 2016 – Hawthorn City beat Moorabbin City as the overall winner in the two-band Grade 2 contest at the Victorian Pipe Band Championships at Jubilee Park in Ringwood in typical Melbourne conditions: cold, sunny and windy with intermittent showers. City of Whitehorse was uncontested in Grade 1.

Grade 1 (Medley and MSR)
1st City of Whitehorse
Medley judges: Brian Niven, Atholl Chalmers (piping); Rob Bennett (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)
MSR judges: Brett Tidswell, James Easden (piping); Stephen Matthews (drumming); Scott Nicholson (ensemble)

Grade 2
1st Hawthorn City
2nd Moorabbin City

1st Hawthorn City (1,1,1,2)
2nd Moorabbin City (2,2,2,1)
Judges: Brian Niven, Atholl Chalmers (piping); Rob Bennett (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

1st Hawthorn City (1,1,1,1)
2nd Moorabbin City (2,2,2,2)
Judges: Brett Tidswell, James Easden (piping); Stephen Matthews (drumming); Scott Nicholson (ensemble)

City of Whitehorse at the 2016 Victorian Pipe Band Championships.

Grade 3
1st Scotch College
2nd Victoria Scottish
3rd City of Melbourne

1st Victoria Scottish (1,1,2,1)
2nd Scotch College (2,3,1,2)
3rd City of Melbourne (3,2,3,3)
Judges: Brian Niven, Atholl Chalmers (piping); Rob Bennett (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

1st Scotch College (2,1,1,2)
2nd City of Melbourne (3,2,2,1)
3rd Victoria Scottish (1,3,3,3)
Judges: Brett Tidswell, James Easden (piping); Stephen Matthews (drumming); Scott Nicholson (ensemble)

Grade 4
1st 1st Haileybury #1
2nd Warrnambool & District #1
3rd Geelong RSL

1st Haileybury #1 (2,1,1,1)
2nd Warrnambool & District #1 (1,2,3,3)
3rd Golden City (3,3,2,2)
4th Maryborough & District (4,4,4,4)
5th Geelong RSL (5,5,5,7)
6th St. Arnaud Nsm (7,6,6,5)
7th City Of Melbourne (6,7,7,6)
8th Warrnambool & District #2 (8,8,8,8)
Judges: Brian Niven, Atholl Chalmers (piping); Rob Bennett (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

1st Warrnambool & District #1 (1,1,6,1)
2nd Golden City (3,4,1,3)
3rd Haileybury #1 (2,2,2,5)
4th Maryborough & District (5,3,7,2)
5th City Of Melbourne (4,6,4,4)
6th St. Arnaud (6,5,5,7)
7th Geelong RSL (7,7,3,8)
8th Warrnambool & District #2 (8,8,8,6)
Judges: Brett Tidswell, James Easden (piping); Stephen Matthews (drumming); Ian Lyons (ensemble)

1st Haileybury #1
2nd Scotch College #1
3rd Haileybury #2

1st Haileybury #1 (1,1,1,1)
2nd Scotch College #1 (2,2,2,2)
3rd Haileybury #2 (3,3,3,3)
Judges: Brian Niven, Atholl Chalmers (piping); Rob Bennett (drumming); Nat Russell (ensemble)

Set of Marches
1st Haileybury #1 (2,1,2,1)
2nd Scotch College #1 (1,2,1,2)
3rd Haileybury #2 (3,3,3,3)
Judges: Brett Tidswell, James Easden (piping); Stephen Matthews (drumming); Ian Lyons (ensemble)

Do you have competition results? Please feel free to send them using the format above, along with a few pics, to us by email.


RSPBA allegedly threatens Clunie with disciplinary action


David Clunie

David Clunie, the pipe-major of the Grade 1 Denny & Dunipace Pipe Band of Stirling, Scotland, allegedly has been threatened by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association with possible discplinary action for his remarks regarding the challenges that he perceives new top-grade leading-drummers and drum sections encounter with some RSPBA adjudicators.

His comments were included in the pipes|drums news story reporting on the band deciding not to compete in 2016 due to the lack of a suitable Leading-Drummer stepping forward to replace Arthur Cooke, who left the band after the 2015 World Championships.

According to sources close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, Clunie was notified by the RSPBA on March 30th with a threat of disciplinary action because of his statement, and that he has been told to contact the judging panel by April 4th to explain himself.

When asked about his interaction with RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton, Clunie would not comment any further than to say he had no comment to Embelton himself.

In the original pipes|drums story of February 28th, Clunie said, “I think there are guys who would love the opportunity but fear the backlash or failure associated with corrupt/inexperienced judging out there. Grade 1 is a joke and you can guess the prize list order and the rest within a place of each other depending on who’s judging. Everyone knows it and all the band members in every band know it, but we do nothing about it. Bands still turn up on the hope that the judges take a moral pill that day and might get a chance of upsetting the apple cart.”

Before publishing his comments in the original news story, pipes|drums confirmed with Clunie that they were on the record and attributable to him.

RSPBA Executive Officer Ian Embelton was asked to comment on the matter, but no response was received at publication time.

If the allegations are correct, it would be the latest disciplinary action due to a player in an RSPBA-member band expressing concerns either in the media or in social media about judging or specific judges.

Clunie reportedly has no plans to play with any band in the foreseeable future. If this were true, any suspension that follows the RSPBA’s usual approach of putting out a band or playing member for a period of time would be moot.

The news follows a particularly controversial three days days for the world’s largest pipe band organization. following the outright resignation of Mervyn Herron after his 30-year volunteer tenure with the RSPBA and the resginations of Ian Duncan from the RSPBA’s judging panel, and judges Joe Noble and John Wilson from the association’s Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board.


Ian Duncan resigns (again) from RSPBA judging panel

Published: April 6, 2016

Ian Duncan as pipe-major of the Grade 1 Lothian & Borders Police Pipe Band, 2011.

In what could prove to be a watershed moment for the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association and the organization’s adjudication governance systems, pipe band legend Ian Duncan abruptly resigned as an adjudicator allegedly over an apparent misunderstanding that blew up into major upset.

While Duncan would not comment, sources close to the matter allege that the problem stemmed from Duncan playing in a competition abroad as a “non-registered player” in a non-RSPBA-sanctioned competition with a lower grade band that he teaches.

The organization apparently took a hard line on the matter as a contravention of its rules, and warned him that, if he proceeded, he would have to resign and apply for reinstatement on the organization’s adjudication panel the next year.

Duncan’s pedigree as a pipe band leader and piping teacher are impeccable, leading three bands in Grade 1 over his more than 50-year career, including Vale of Atholl, which is regarded as one of the best bands not to win the World Championship and considered one of the greatest music innovators in pipe band history.

Duncan subsequently resigned from the judges’ panel, but was convinced to rescind his decision, and in good faith was allocated competitions to judge for the 2016 RSPBA season, but Duncan’s appeal to rejoin the panel was reportedly rejected after a two-month wait for a decision.

A source within the RSPBA who spoke on condition of anonymity said that Duncan was “very critical” of the adjudicators’ training course, which Duncan was diligently went through despite his outstanding credentials.

Several who serve on the RSPBA’s Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board – including judges Gordon Craig, Jennifer Hutcheon and Gordon Lawrie – are instructors for the organization’s training course.

As a result of the debacle, senior RSPBA adjudicators Joe Noble and John Wilson have resigned from the Adjudicators’ Panel Management Board in support of Duncan, but will apparently uphold their allocations to adjudicate in 2016.

Several sources close to the RSPBA have alleged that preferential treatment has been given at times to some applicants for the RSPBA’s adjudication accreditation, further complicating the matter.

The RSPBA’s accreditation program is one of the most stringent in the world, with pipers and drummers having to go through a rigourous application process, substantial training, shadow judging and a relatively slow progression through non-major competitions before being allowed to adjudicate any of the organization’s five championships.

The stringency of the process and a frequently alleged lack of transparency, have occasionally contributed to some of the biggest leaders in the pipe band history never judging a competition in the UK.

The matter is the latest negative news to leak from the tight-lipped RSPBA. The organization on April 4th received the full resignation of Mervyn Herron, a popular 30-year servant of the association, following his allegation that the RSPBA stacked a vote to oust him from its Board of Directors.

The RSPBA was not available for official comment on the matter.


Norfolk Tattoo to salute the late Archie Cairns


Major Archie Cairns

The Massed Pipes and Drums of the Virginia Tattoo on April 23rd in Norfolk, Virginia, will honour Major Archie Cairns, who died on April 1st, with a rendition of the late piper, military man and composer’s famous 3/4 march, “Pipe-Major J.K. Cairns.”

With a little more than two weeks before the event, the organizers of the tattoo decided to replace “Lochanside” with the Cairns composition.

“Given the countless number of piping and drumming students he has taught over his life-time, it can be said that thousands of people were touched by Archie’s considerable genius in piping and music writ-large,” organizer Fraser Clark wrote in a letter to the eight participating bands, which include the Grade 1 Inveraray & District, Police Scotland Fife, Toronto Police Pipe Band, and the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band.

Poignantly, Cairns’s double-Gold Medal winning son, John, is pipe-major of the Peel Police.

“To honour Major Archie Cairns, the Massed Pipes and Drums of the Virginia Tattoo will perform his composition ‘Pipe-Major J.K. Cairns’ as our community’s salute to mark Archie’s contributions to the development of piping and drumming,” Clark added.

Joining the Grade 1 bands at the Norfolk tattoo and competition will be, in Grade 2, Great Lakes (Michigan), MacMillan (Maryland), Midlothian Scottish (Chicago) and New York Metro.

“Pipe-Major J.K. Cairns” is published in the Scots Guards Collection Volume 2 as a 3/4 march, and in 6/4 time in Archie Cairns’s Collection, Volume 1, and if readers would like to learn the tune, it is recommended that they purchase one of those collections for it and many others.


Herron resigns from RSPBA after 30 years’ service

Published: April 5, 2016

Mervyn Herron

Being a volunteer for piping and drumming associations can be such a thankless job that there’s little wonder that it’s so difficult to find smart, keen individuals who step up with their time and expertise, interested only in contributing their time and expertise, rather than the ego-trip, “perks” and power-rush that might accompany the role. So often it ends badly.

And after 30 consecutive years of commitment to the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, Mervyn Herron of Banbridge, Northern Ireland, has submitted his formal resignation from his post as Contest Committee Chairman for the Northern Ireland Branch, perhaps the most powerful branch within the association.

Herron had been voted out as a director on the RSPBA’s Board at the Northern Ireland Branch’s annual general meeting last November.

His ultimate decision to leave the organization outright stemmed from what was considered by some as a stacked vote to oust him. Herron alleged that votes against him as a Director were cast by otherwise non-attending bands via members temporarily joining so that their votes could be counted, and then reverting back to their original band in the New Year, alleging that the coup was orchestrated by the association.

If the alleged orchestrated ouster were true, the reasons for it remain uncertain. Some contend that Herron fell out of favour with the RSPBA over his support of the 2015 Spring Gatherin’ event’s attempt to create a pipe band competition that did not strictly adhere to RSPBA guidelines, including allowing the audience to participate in judging. Others suggest that it was a result of personal vendetta.

RSPBA Northern Ireland branch Executive Secretary David Scott resigned, after serving with the organization for 10 years, reportedly over the Spring Gatherin’ matter. The event subsequently dropped its pipe band competition due to what it cited as pressure exerted on participating bands not to take part.

Herron had served with the RSPBA’s Board of Directors as branch representative for 30 years, since 1983 as Secretary of the County Down faction, and Committee Secretary of the Irish Pipe Band Association & RSPBANI Branch joint body that runs the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

Herron had been a staple on the Northern Ireland and international pipe band scene throughout his tenure. He has received widespread support over the alleged insurrection – or “vote-searching” – that allegedly took place at the RSPBANI AGM.

Mervyn Herron (bottom left) at the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships.

Mervyn Herron is credited by some as being instrumental to the BBC bringing live coverage of the World Pipe Band Championships, an event . . .


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100 Guineas: All Payn, all gain

Published: April 4, 2016

Johannesburg – April 2-3, 2016 – Richard Payn won everything at the 58th Annual 100 Guineas Solo Piping Competition at the Transvaal Scottish headquarters in Parktown, where Scottish Piping Society of the Witwatersrand formally announced that it would now be the Scottish Piping Society of Southern Africa, to better show its representation of pipers across all of South Africa. The amateur events saw good entry expansion with a set of Wallace Bagpipes pipes donated via Rudolph Bagpipe Services now being an annual trophy for best overall amateur. The Junior prizes were donated by Ayrshire Bagpipes and Rudolph Bagpipe Services.

(seven competed)
1st Richard Payn (L.M. Millar Memorial Trophy)
2nd Thomas Fuller (RF Martin Memorial Shield)
3rd Stuart Hobson
4th Brian Mulhearn

Senior contestants at the 2016 100 Guineas: front row L-R: Thomas Fuller, Richard Payn, Brian Mulhearn, Nick Taitz; back row: Cyril Hall, Des Plint, Stuart Hobson.

Piobaireachd (Dr. M. MacDonald Bayne Trophy)
1st Richard Payn
2nd Thomas Fuller
3rd Stuart Hobson
4th Brian Mulhearn
Judges: Geoff Irvine, Chris Terry, Struan Young

Strathspey & Reel (President’s Cup)
1st Richard Payn
2nd Thomas Fuller
3rd Nicholas Taitz
4th Brian Mulhearn
Judges: Roger Davies, Alan Sheppard

March (Eagle Pipers’ Society Silver Salver)
1st Richard Payn
2nd Thomas Fuller
3rd Stuart Hobson
4th Nicholas Taitz
Judges: Andy Dippenaar, Tom Knobel

Captain D.M. MacLennan Past Winners’ MSR (Donald Morrison MacLennan Memorial Trophy)
1st Richard Payn
2nd Thomas Fuller
3rd Nicholas Taitz
4th Cyril Hall
Judges: Geoff Irvine, Chris Terry

Junior (nine competed)
Overall (Jack Gartly Silver Chanter)
1st Stuart Hobson
2nd Ross Wortley
3rd Frans Coetzee
4th Sean Cameron

Piobaireachd (Dr. M. MacDonald Bayne Trophy)
1st Stuart Hobson
2nd Ross Wortley
3rd Sean Cameron
4th Frans Coetzee
Judges: Cyril Hall, Brian Mulhearn

Strathspey & Reel
1st Ross Wortley
2nd Stuart Hobson
3rd Sanesh Aromogum
4th Frans Coetzee
Judge: David Harris

1st Ross Wortley
2nd Stuart Hobson
3rd Frans Coetzee
4th Sanesh Aromogum
Judge: Craig Herwill

1st Nicholas Taitz
2nd Thomas Fuller
3rd Richard Payn
4th Zak Schlebusch
5th Callum Southey
6th Des Plint
Judge: Roy Blevins

Novice March Challenge
1st Thabiso Motaung
2nd Luke Campkin-Smith
3rd Katleho Ndlovu
4th Emma Bellingan
Judge: David Harris

Amateur overall winner Craig Paxman and friends celebrate his success and new set of pipes.

Amateur (12 competed)
1st Craig Paxman
2nd Ross Montgomery
3rd Stuart Fabian
4th Craig Scheffel
1st Craig Paxman
2nd Ross Montgomery
3rd Craig Scheffel
4th Katie Duggan
Judge: Chris Mulinder

Strathspey & Reel
1st Stuart Fabian
2nd Ross Montgomery
3rd Sean McClymont
4th Arthur Bell
Judge: Thomas Fuller

1st Craig Paxman
2nd Nicholas Stiekema
3rd Ross Montgomery
4th Craig Carlson
Judge: Richard Payn

Do you have competition results that you’d like to share with the entire piping and drumming world? Just send them using the format above, along with a photo or two, to us by email.


Major Archie Cairns, MMM, CD – 1928-2016

Published: April 2, 2016

Archie Cairns

Archie Cairns, one of the great piping personalities and contributors to the instrument and its playing in Canada, died on the night of April 1, 2016, at the age of 87.

For more than 75 years piping was a centrepiece of Cairns’s life, with 52 years of continual service in the Canadian Forces, rising to the rank of Major, and establishing many of the Canadian military’s piping and drumming programs.

Originally taught by his father, Pipe-Major John Cairns, he receive tuition from John Wilson (Edinburgh and Toronto), and Captain John MacLellan MBE. Cairns and MacLellan established a life-long friendship, stemming from their time together when Archie Cairns went through the Pipe-Major’s Course at Edinburgh Castle, graduating with distinction.

Cairns was a successful competitor at the top-levels in Canada for more than 30 years, but chose not to pursue the major solo events in Scotland, where he almost certainly would have excelled.

Archie Cairns was a published composer, well-established adjudicator of solo piping and pipe bands, and a lecturer and teacher on piping. He was appointed Senior Pipe-Major of the Canadian Forces in 1968, holding the position until 1981, and during that time he compiled and published the Canadian Forces Pipe Band Manual.

Major Archie Cairns at the Canadian National Exhibition’s Inter-Continental Pipe Band Championship, adjudicating with Captain John MacLellan.

Following his retirement, Cairns was appointed the first Commanding Officer of the new Central Region Cadet School of Pipes & Drums in London, Ontario, building the program until it was handed over to his highly accomplished son, John, writing  a five-volume Cadet Instruction Manual for Pipes & Drums, which became a National Training Program in the Canadian military.

After leaving the military he authored and published several other manuals and publication for piping, and composed more than 40 tunes, often naming them for friends and family. “Pipe-Major J.K. Cairns” is one of the most original march compositions of its day, and the slow air “Mrs. Joy Cairns” continues as a poignant and popular composition often played by bands and soloists.

He was an adjudicator with the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario for several decades, until a falling out in the 1990s made him decide not to provide his services, and he was sadly infrequently seen around the Ontario games for the better part of the last two decades of his life.

Major Archie Cairns’s contributions to piping and drumming in North America and, in reality, worldwide, were significant.

We offer our condolences to Archie Cairns’s family and friends at this sad time.


#TBT: Lodgings on a Cold Ground: MacPhersons of Laggan

Published: March 31, 2016

It’s a Throwback Thursday, so we look back to February 2002 when we visited probably the most famous graveyard in piping, to Laggan, Scotland, and we republish the original print article now.

Off the main road north to Inverness is the village of Laggan – tiny in size but huge in piping history. We were in search of the graves of Malcolm “Calum Pìobaire” and Malcolm Ross MacPherson, and with the help of the groundskeeper at the church at Laggan Bridge, located their stones. Sadly, Calum Pìobaire’s 103 year-old monument is in severe disrepair, while Malcolm Ross’s stone remains intact.

We asked Dr. William Donaldson of Aberdeen, Scotland, if he would put together a short piece on the MacPhersons’ role in the history of piping, and he kindly returned the following.

The countryside near Laggan.

Malcolm MacPherson, “Calum Pìobaire,” was buried in the kirkyard at Laggan Bridge on 13 July 1898 as John MacDonald of Inverness played “The Lament for the Children.” Beside him now lies the last member of this eminent family of players and teachers, his grandson Malcolm Ross MacPherson (1906-1966).

Calum MacPherson was born on 5th December 1833 at Snizort, Skye, the son of a professional piper, Angus MacPherson (1800-1887), and grandson of Peter MacPherson who is said to have married a sister of the Bruce pipers after moving to Skye from Badenoch. Angus, it is believed, studied with John and Peter Bruce, Iain Dubh MacCrimmon and John MacKay of Raasay.

Calum was taught by his father, Angus MacKay, and Archibald Munro. In the 1850s he moved to Greenock and learned much piobaireachd from Donald Cameron’s brother Sandy (1821-1871) who ran the town’s Museum Hotel. Sandy Cameron was Pipe Major of the Greenock Rifle Volunteers and Calum played with him in one of the world’s earliest pipe bands. Calum succeeded his father as piper to Macpherson of Cluny in about 1866, winning the Inverness prize pipe that year, the Gold Medal in 1871, the Oban medal in 1876 and many prizes on the games circuit. At the 1886 Edinburgh Exhibition one of his two gold medals included the “championship of the world” for piobaireachd. Three of Calum’s six sons, John or “Jockan” (1863-1933), Norman (1869-1947) and Angus (1877-1976) also won the Inverness medal.

The church and cemetery at Laggan Bridge.

Calum Pìobaire was an outstanding technician, with a huge repertoire, excelling at heavy bottom-handed tunes like “My King has landed in Moidart.” Pipers from all over Scotland travelled to his cottage at Catlodge, near Kingussie, where he taught such leading players as Robert Meldrum, William MacLean of Kilcreggan, Angus MacRae and John MacDonald of Inverness, who described the teaching regime:

“He would . . . take away all books and pipe music, then sing in his own canntaireachd the ground and different variations of the particular piobaireachd he wished me to learn.”

On 8th July 1898 Calum fell into Loch Coultree near his home, trying to retrieve an oar during a fishing expedition He died the following evening owing to “shock from immersion acting on weak heart.”

What was left of Calum Piobaire’s gravestone in 2002.

Calum’s most famous son, Angus, was piper to the millionaire philanthropist Andrew Carnegie and for many years ran the Inveran Hotel near Bonar Bridge, a favourite haunt of pipers. Along with “Jockan,” Willie Ross and John MacDonald he taught his own son, Malcolm, who was giving public performances before he was into his teens. Malcolm won the Inverness medal in 1927 (four years after his father) and the Clasp in 1930 and 1937. Young Malcolm’s lasting contribution was his recordings of piobaireachd that accompanied Dr. Roderick Ross’s pioneering collection, Binneas is Boreraig, (5 vols., Edinburgh, 1959-67), although these were made when his playing was long past its best. He died in tragic circumstances at his home in Edinburgh in 1966.

A memorial to Calum Pìobaire was unveiled at Catlodge in 1960.


Set Tunes ’17 a Silver salute to MacLeod

Published: March 29, 2016

The Piobaireachd Society has announced the piobaireachds that competitors at the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland, the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Scotland, and assorted events around the world that choose to use them in 2017. While the Gold Medal and Senior lists are a compendium of old favourites, the Silver Medal list inject a new flair.

Silver Medal competitors will have to choose two tunes each from two separate lists, one comprising all compositions by the late Donald MacLeod, the other from the recently released Book 16 in the Piobaireachd Society’s Collection.

With the exception of the Donald MacLeod list, all of the tunes are found in the Piobaireachd Society Collection or the Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor, and the organizations provides its usual proviso that competitors who want to play alternative settings should submit “legible scores, indicating the origins of the settings, to competition organisers along with their tune selections.”

Most of the piobaireachds in the 2017 lists can be found in William Donaldson’s rich Set Tunes Series, available for free to all readers of pipes|drums. In the series that now numbers more than 120 compositions, Donaldson analyzes each of the alternative settings known to exist for individual tunes.

“I’m sure that list that will raise most comment is the Silver Medal list,” said Piobaireachd Society President Jack Taylor. “We are maybe going out on a limb here, with tunes from Book 16 and Donald MacLeod. Together with the fact that the tunes will be unfamiliar to players, and largely to judges, is that they are not the easiest which could have been chosen from either source. We think though that the standard of play in the Silver Medal is high, and that the players will be able to handle those tunes well, though undoubtedly it will take some work. They are all attractive tunes. I think that, once learned, they might well stay in a player’s repertoire.”

Senior (submit four, play one)
“Colin Roy MacKenzie’s Lament”
“In Praise of Morag”
“Lament for Ronald MacDonald of Morar”
“My Dearest on Earth give me Your Kiss”
“Rory MacLoude’s Lament”
“The Prince’s Salute”
“The Unjust Incarceration”

Gold Medal (submit four, play one)
“Beloved Scotland”
“Lady MacDonald’s Lament”
“Lord Lovat’s Lament”
“Nameless: Hiharin dro o dro”
“The King’s Taxes”
“The MacDougalls’ Gathering”
“The Park Piobaireachd” (No. 2)
“The Vaunting”

Silver Medal (submit two from each list, play one)
Group 1 (Piobaireachd Society Collection Book 16)
“Hail to My Country”
“Lord Berisdale’s Salute”
“Rev. Dr. Norman MacLeod’s Lament”
“The Sword’s Lament”

Group 2 (Donald MacLeod collections)
“Cronan Phadruig Seumas”
“Lament for John Morrison of Assynt House”
“Lament for the Iolaire”
“Roderick MacDonald’s Salute”

Taylor added that, “The Gold and Senior lists are more conventional. I think that they will appeal strongly and will provide good playing and listening over the season, and on the day.”


Greg Wilson wins his 13th NZ Clasp

Published: March 28, 2016

Liam Kernaghan, overall winner of the A-Grade light music.

Hastings, New Zealand – March 26, 2016 – As part of the annual Hastings Highland Games, the New Zealand Clasp, Gold, Silver, Bronze medal piobaireachd and light music solo piping contests were held. Greg Wilson won the Clasp, his thirteenth, John Decker took the Gold Medal, and the Silver Medal was won by Anna Smart. Liam Kernaghan won the overall award in the A-Grade light music, winning the March Strathspey & Reel, the 2/4 March, and the Strathspey & Reel.

1st Greg Wilson, “The Phantom Piper of Corrieyairack”
2nd Stuart Easton
3rd Jamie Hawke
4th Marion Horsburgh
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Gold Medal
1st John Decker, “The Stewarts White Banner”
2nd Elizabeth Drury
3rd Robert Gibb
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

NZ Championships Under-21
1st Anita Bentley
2nd Anna Smart
3rd Louis Davis
4th Campbell Wilson
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Silver Medal
1st Anna Smart
2nd Louis Newman
3rd Harrison Allen
4th Sebastian George
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

Bronze Medal
1st Stella Dobbs
2nd Campbell Wilson
3rd Juliet Johnson
Judges: Iain Hines, Bain MacGregor

A Grade
1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Greg Wilson
3rd Emmett Conway
4th Stuart Easton
Judges: Graeme Bilsland, Nigel Foster

2/4 March
1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Emmett Conway
3rd William Rowe
4th Greg Wilson
Judges: Graeme Bilsland, Nigel Foster

Strathspey & Reel
1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Greg Wilson
3rd Stuart Easton
4th Jamie Hawke
Judges: Graeme Bilsland, Nigel Foster

6/8 March
1st Stuart Easton
2nd Emmett Conway
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th Greg Wilson
Judges: Graeme Bilsland, Nigel Foster

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Greg Wilson
2nd Stuart Easton
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th William Rowe
Judges: Graeme Bilsland, Nigel Foster

SFU sweeps another Annual Gathering

Published: March 27, 2016

Zephan Knichel (right) presented with the overall Professional Solo Piping trophy from adjudicator Andrew Carlisle at the 2016 Annual Gathering.

Surrey, British Columbia – March 25-26, 2016 – Simon Fraser University won both Grade 1 events at the British Columbia Pipers Society’s Annual Gathering, held at Clayton Heights Secondary School. The overall award in the Open Solo Piping went to Zephan Knichel, while the MacCrimmon Memorial Cairn for Piobaireachd was won by Andrew Lee, who played a set of drones, pipe bag and reeds that he made himself, reminiscent of the legendary John Ban MacKenzie, who was known as “the last man to cut the sheep, make the bag, reeds, pipes and play the tune.”

Grade 1

1st Simon Fraser University (1,2,1,1)
2nd Dowco Triumph Street (2,1,2,2)
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

1st Simon Fraser University (1,1,1,1)
2nd Dowco Triumph Street (2,2,2,2)
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

Grade 2 (MSR)
1st Portland Metro (1,1,1,1)
2nd Robert Malcolm Memorial II (2,2,2,2)
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

Grade 3 (MSR)
1st Greighlan Crossing (1,1,1,1)
2nd Robert Malcolm Memorial III (2,2,2,2)
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

Grade 4 (Medley)
1st Northwest Junior (2,1,2,1)
2nd Keith Highlanders (1,2,3,2)
3rd Portland Metro Youth (4,3,1,4)
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

Grade 5
1st Robert Malcolm Memorial V
Judges: Bruce Gandy, Andrew Carlisle (piping); Michael McKenna (drumming); James P. Troy (ensemble)

Open Solo Piping
1st Andrew Lee
2nd Jori Chisholm
3rd James P. Troy
4th Alastair Lee
5th Zephan Knichel
6th John Lee

1st Zephan Knichel
2nd Alastair Lee
3rd James P. Troy
4th Jori Chisholm
5th Andrew Lee
6th Kevin McLean

1st Zephan Knichel
2nd Andrew Lee
3rd Gordon Conn
4th Alastair Lee
5th Joseph Stewart
6th Jori Chisholm

CPA B&C Grade
1st Kevin McLean
2nd Zephan Knichel
3rd Joseph Stewart
4th John Lee
5th Liam Hilder
6th Ross Naismith

Open Solo Snare Drumming
1st Grant Maxwell
2nd Andrew Miller
3rd Eric MacNeill

Hornpipe & Jig
1st Grant Maxwell
2nd Eric MacNeill
3rd Andrew Miller

Do you have results that you’d like the entire piping and drumming world to see? Just send them with a few decent photos using the format above to us by email!


Band DQed in Winnipeg for playing hornpipes


The Conservatory of Performing Arts band competing at the 2016 Winnipeg Scottish Festival.

Winnipeg, Manitoba – March 26, 2016 – The Winnipeg Scottish Festival had a slightly smaller entry this year, reflecting some bands’ reluctance to travel on Easter weekend, but the afternoon band events still drew a capacity crowd to the indoor venue at the CanadInns Convention Centre. In the Grade 4 QMM event the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders were disqualified for playing a medley of hornpipes.

Grade 2
MSR & Medley
(one played)
1st City of Regina

Grade 3
(three competed)
1st Winnipeg Police (1,3,1,1)
2nd St. Andrews Society (2,1,2,2)
3rd Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (3,2,3,3)

MSR (two competed)
1st Winnipeg Police (2,2,1,1)
2nd St. Andrews Society (1,1,2,2)

Grade 4
(three competed)
1st Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders (1,1,1,2)
2nd Lord Selkirk RFM (2,2,2,1)
3rd Conservatory of Performing Arts (3,3,3,3)

March Medley (two competed)
1st Lord Selkirk RFM (1,1,1,1)
2nd Conservatory of Performing Arts (2,2,2,2)

Grade 5
March Medley
1st Prairie Thistle

Judges for all events: Ken Eller, Alex Gandy (piping); Bob Worrall (ensemble); Roland Reid (drumming)

Do you have competition results that you’d like to share with the piping and drumming world? Just send them along with a photo or two using the format above to us by email!


Videos: Strong attendance at Toronto indoor

Published: March 26, 2016

The Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band competing in the Grade 5 event at the 2016 Toronto Indoor Games.

Toronto – March 26, 2016 – A strong entry across most grades of band, quartet and solo events made the 2016 Toronto Indoor Games at Mosspark Armoury in the city’s downtown a hive of activity, as the Peel Regional Police best the Toronto Police in the only contested Grade 1 band event. The Pipes & Drums of the 400 Squadron returned to competition after more than a year’s hiatus, winning the two-band Grade 2 event. Ian K. MacDonald won the overall prize in the Professional Solo Piping, and Iain Bell did the same in the Professional Solo Snare Drumming.

Grade 1
(one played)
1st Toronto Police
Judges: Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, Jim McGillivray (piping); Andrew Berthoff (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

MSR (two competed)
1st Peel Regional Police (2,1,1,1)
2nd Toronto Police (1,2,2,2)
Judges: Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, Jim McGillivray (piping); Andrew Berthoff (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

Grade 2
(two competed)
1st 400 Squadron (1,2,1,1)
2nd Paris Port Dover (2,1,2,2)
Judges: Glenna Mackay-Johnstone, Jim McGillivray (piping); Andrew Berthoff (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

Grade 3
(five competed)
1st Rob Roy (1,1,1,1)
2nd Toronto Police (Gr3) (2,4,3,2)
3rd Hamilton Police (4,2,2,4)
4th Guelph (3,3,4,3)
5th Northern Skye (5,5,5,5)
Judges: Brian Williamson, Andrea Boyd (piping); Andrew Berthoff (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

Grade 4
(one played)
1st Paris Port Dover
Judges: Peter Sinclair, Andrea Boyd (piping); John Elliott (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

Grade 5
March Medley
1st Hamilton Police (Gr5) (2,1,1,1)
2nd Ryan Russell Memorial (1,2,3,2)
3rd St. Andrews of Mississauga (4,3,2,5)
4th Paris Port Dover (Gr5) (5,5,4,3)
5th Scarborough (3,4,6,4)
6th Air Force City (5,6,6,5)
Judges: Peter Sinclair, Andrea Boyd (piping); John Elliott (ensemble); Doug Stronach (drumming)

Grades 1&2
1st Toronto Police
2nd Paris Port Dover
3rd Rob Roy
Judges: Gail Brown, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone

1st Rob Roy
2nd Paris Port Dover
3rd Toronto Police
Judges: Andrew Berthoff, Jim McGillivray

Grade 3&4
Air & 6/8 March
1st Toronto Police (Gr3) – Group MacDonald
2nd Toronto Police (Gr3) – Group Harrison
3rd Guelph
4th = Niagara Regional Police – Group Davidson / Niagara Regional Police – Group MacNeil
5th St. Andrew’s College
6th MacDonald

See next page for solo results . . .


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  • A non-Scots guide to Scotland
    Tue, 24 May 2016
    As the summer gathers steam so too do the plans of North American, Australian, Kiwi, South African, European and other non-Scottish pipers and drummers making their pilgrimage to our musical Mecca . . otherwise known as Scotland. …
Read more »
UPCOMING EVENTS June 4, 2016Shotts Highland GamesShotts, Lanark

June 4, 2016Queensland Pipe Band Championships & Solo ChampionshipsBill Paterson Oval Limestone Park, Ipswich, Queensland, Australia

June 11, 2016United Kingdom ChampionshipsStormont Castle, NI

June 11, 2016Georgetown Highland GamesThe Gathering Place, Georgetown, ON

June 17, 2016BC Highland Games & Scottish FestivalPercy Parry Stadium, Coquitlam, British Columbia

Pipe-Majors: Always play material that is within the technical level of the band.
Richard Parkes, P-M Field Marshal Montgomery