Harry’s 2015 World Pipe Band Championships Glossary

Published: September 1, 2015

The World Pipe Band Championship is an event that might be hard to understand for first-timers, and for those who have only been there through the magic of the live feed (thank you, BBC . . . now show us the money). Harry presents his glossary of 2015 WPBC terms that will come in handy when trying to understand the nuances of the big days.

Let’s get started, shall we?

A is for Ahem. As in, let me clear my throat before we begin. (Or, alternatively, Attack: Can’t anyone do one well anymore?)

B is for Beer tent. An improvement on previous years. Rather than a corral of dropped cups and cans with no room to move and little chance of getting a drink, this year’s effort was an open area with several large canopy tents, lots of tables, some chairs and it was much easier to navigate. Add to that the move away from the blanket-sized tickets and accompanying queueeueueu in favour of straight cash transactions (who cares if every fifth pound goes into staffers’ pockets!), this was state-of-the-art service.

C is for canny Canning. As in Ryan. No UK pipe-major in history has advanced a Grade 1 band so far so quickly. Without fly-ins. Without gaming the system. With nothing but pure determination, talent and guile. No joking. He resurrected the ashes of a nearly burnt-out band and produced a World Champion in less than three years. Unreal.


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Soloists prime for piping’s crucible at Inverness

Published: August 31, 2015

Northern_Meeting_logoMany of the world’s top solo competition pipers will still be drying their instruments and kilts after getting soaked in at times horrendous conditions at the second day of the Argyllshire Gathering last Thursday, as they now prepare for the Northern Meeting at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, Scotland, favoured by the majority of contestants for its excellent conditions and organization.

The premier events are the Clasp for previous winners of the Gold Medal, the Silver Star March, Strathspey & Reel for past winners of the A-Grade MSR, and the Highland Society of London Gold Medal.

Argyllshire Gathering Gold Medallist John-Angus Smith will see if he can pull off the thirteenth “double” in piping history by repeating. In 2014, Douglas Murray became only the twelfth to achieve the feat.

The Silver Medal features a larger share of non-Scottish contestants, with a full 42 percent having their entries accepted.

Eden Court Theatre, Inverness.

Some wonder whether the Clasp will start late due to one of the judges posing photos, as reportedly occurred in the B-Grade March competition at the Argyllshire Gathering, apparently leaving at least three competitors literally low and soggy – not to mention figuratively high and dry – as they allegedly had their tuning timing screwed up by the delay.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the Northern Meeting as they become available.

Thursday, September 3rd
Highland Society of London Gold Medal
Judges: Bill Livingstone, John MacDougall, Bill Wotherspoon
1 Jamie Forrester, London
2 Bill Geddes, Glasgow
3 Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh
4 Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland
5 Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
6 Fiona Manson, Melbourne
7 James Murray, Perth, Australia
8 Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland
9 Angus J. McColl, Oban, Scotland
10 James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
11 Jori Chisholm, Seattle
12 John Mulhearn, Glasgow
13 Decker Forrest, Skye, Scotland
14 Andrea Boyd, Ottawa
15 Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
16 Cameron Drummond, Edinburgh
17 Peter McCalister, Dunblane, Scotland
18 Richard Hawke, New Zealand
19 Alastair Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
20 John-Angus Smith, London
21 Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland
22 Innes Smith, Glasgow
23 Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, Canada
24 James P. Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
25 Derek Midgley, New Jersey, USA

Silver Medal
Judges: John Don MacKenzie, Malcolm McRae, John Wilson
1 Ben McClamrock, Baltimore
2 Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
3 Greig Canning, Edinburgh
4 Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
5 Andrew Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
6 Ashley McMichael, Belfast
7 Eric Ouellette, Syracuse, New York, USA
8 Alex Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
9 Michael Fitzhenry, Paisley, Scotland
10 Matt Pantaleoni, St. Louis
11 Ursa Beckford, Maine, USA
12 George Stewart, Perth, Scotland
13 Sarah Muir, Glasgow
14 Craig Sutherland, Crieff, Scotland
15 Michael Elder, Auchtermuchty, Scotland
16 Mael Sicard-Cras, Glasgow
17 Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh
18 Matt Fraser, New Zealand
19 Colin Campbell, Inverness, Scotland
20 Ed McIlwaine, Vancouver
21 Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland
22 Sandy Cameron, Roy Bridge, Scotland
23 Gordon Barclay, Inverness, Scotland
24 Steven Gray, Lockerbie, Scotland
25 Darach Urquhart, Glasgow
26 Cameron MacDougall, Nigg, Scotland
27 Sean McKeown, Toronto
28 Steven Leask, Irvine, Scotland

Silver Star Former Winners MSR
Judges: Ian Duncan, Iain MacFadyen, Iain Morrison
1 Ian K. MacDonald
2 Donald MacPhee
3 Douglas Murray, Cupar, Scotland
4 Peter Hunt, Stevenston, Scotland
5 Bruce Gandy
6 Greg Wilson
7 Cameron Drummond
8 Niall Matheson, Invergordon, Scotland
9 Chris Armstrong
10 Iain Speirs
11 Niall Stewart
12 Gordon Walker
13 Alastair Dunn
14 Willie McCallum
15 Andrew Hayes
16 James Murray
17 Stuart Liddell
18 Roddy MacLeod
19 Allan Russell
20 Angus McColl
21 Jack Lee
22 John Patrick, Denny, Scotland
23 Richard Hawke
24 Alex Gandy
25 Fred Morrison

A-Grade MSR
Judges: Walter Cowan, Iain Morrison, Bob Worrall
1 Sean McKeown
2 Euan MacCrimmon
3 John Mulhearn
4 Glenn Brown
5 Jori Chisholm
6 Jonathan Greenlees, Glasgow
7 Andrea Boyd
8 Craig Muirhead, Stirling, Scotland
9 Alasdair Henderson
10 Michael Fitzhenry
11 Ashley McMichael
12 Gordon Bruce, Kilwinning, Scotland
13 Derek Midgley
14 Callum Beaumont
15 Jenny Hazzard
16 Neil Walker, Perth, Australia
17 Alastair Lee
18 Steven Gray
19 Finlay Johnston
20 Darach Urquhart, Glasgow
21 Jamie Forrester
22 Bill Geddes
23 Ben McClamrock
24 John Angus Smith
25 Gordon McCready
26 James P. Troy
27 Innes Smith, Glasgow
28 Eric Ouellette
29 Craig Sutherland, Crieff, Scotland
30 Graham Drummond, Bathgate, Scotland
31 Colin Campbell, Inverness, Scotland


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In video: the Grade 2 World’s Final

Published: August 30, 2015

Pipe-Major Keith Bowes with his winning Grade 2 Johnstone Pipe Band at the line of the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships.

As in past years, pipes|drums dedicated staff time to capturing the Grade 2 Final of 12 bands at the World Pipe Band Championships.

This year’s competition was a March, Strathspey & Reel, following Medley qualifying rounds of 12 and 11 bands in each section.

While most attention is paid to the Grade 1 elite, it’s worth reminding readers that these Grade 2 bands are on their own extraordinary. Not a few of them will eventually go on to compete in Grade 1. Just like the Grade 2 Field Marshal Montgomery in the 1980s, St. Laurence O’Toole in the 1990s, a few might even eventually become the World Pipe Band Champion,

To recap, the result was:

1st Johnstone (Scotland) (1,1,2,2)
2nd Bleary & District (Northern Ireland) (6,2,1,1)
3rd Buchan Peterson (Scotland) (5,3,3,3)
4th Mackenzie Caledonian (Scotland) (4,4,6,5)
5th Police Service of Northern Ireland (ens.pref.) (7,5,5,4)
6th Lomond & Clyde (Scotland) (3,8,4,6)
7th Manorcunningham (Ireland) (9,7,7,7)
8th North Stratton (Canada) (2,9,12,8)
9th Pipeband Club (Australia) (ens.pref.) (11,10,9,9)
10th St. Andrew’s (Australia) (10,6,11,12)
11th Torphichen & Bathgate (8,12,10,10 )
12th Balagan (Denmark) (12,11,8,11)

The judges were Robert Mathieson, John McCarlie (piping); Gordon Craig (drumming); John Moles (ensemble).

You might hear some peripheral talking in the Johnstone performance. This was an RSPBA official interrogating us nearly at the end of the competition about our media credentials. We apologize for this unfortunate intrusion on an important moment in pipe band history.

We present the bands below in their order of finish, and encourage you to consider the judges’ rankings with what you hear. You be the judge!

We hope that you enjoy these videos, and congratulations to all of these bands on their remarkable success.


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Iain Speirs wins Capt. John Memorial Trust Medal


Edinburgh – August 29, 2015 – The £35 dinner-recital-competition in honour of the the late Captain John MacLellan MBE was sold out at the the Royal Scots Club, Abercromby Place, and ultimately it was local hero Iain Speirs taking the big prize against Faye Henderson, Willie McCallum and David Wilton.

Iain Speirs with the MacLellan Trust medal. [Photo by permission: Derek Maxwell]

Each piper was assigned a piobaireachd composed by MacLellan, and Speirs fittingly played “The Edinburgh Piobaireachd.”

McCallum performed “Salute to the Piobaireachd Society,” Wilton played “The Salute to the Succession” and Henderson delivered the first public airing of “For My Lass, Fair, Pretty, and Highland,” the last tune that MacLellan composed, in fact for a contest organized by pipes|drums Magazine.


The contest was judged by Ronnie McShannon and the inimitable Euan Anderson was fear an tighe for the evening. Glenfiddich Pipes & Fiddle sponsored the event.

The timing of the annual event was moved to late-August to allow more pipers visiting Scotland for the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting to attend.

“It was a wonderful evening of music and companionship,” said organizer Colin MacLellan, the son of the late Captain MacLellan. “The enthusiasm and support for this event grows every year, and we thank all who participated and attended.”

Hear Colin MacLellan’s rendition of the “For My Lass, Fair, Pretty, and Highland.”

Captain John MacLellan was one of the greatest figures in piping history. In pipes|drums’ recent effort to determine who the greatest pipers were, MacLellan made the all-time list in our Greatest 20 Pipers in History feature.

Oban Day 2: Henderson wins both A-Grade events

Published: August 27, 2015

Oban, Scotland – August 27, 2015 – The second day of solo piping competitions brought competitors outdoors to the Argyllshire Gathering Park on the outskirts of Oban for most of the light music events.

Alasdair Henderson repeated Craig Sutherland’s feat of 2014 by wining both the A-Grade light music events, catapulting him into the Former Winners MSR competition in future years. Henderson barely missed a perfect day, second only to Fred Morrison in the Jig event. Morrison also won the Jig contest in 2014. In the A- and B-Grade events, there were short leets of six created for a final contest. The judging benches were swapped for the qualifying rounds and finals.

As is tradition, the previous day’s winner of the Gold Medal, this year John-Angus Smith, led the march to games, starting from the train station and winding through the town.


The march to the games park, with a front row (L-R) of Gold Medallist John-Angus Smith, Greg Wilson, Andrea Boyd and Silver Medallist Sandy Cameron.


Weather was misty rain for the march to the park, and then heavy rain throughout the morning, giving way to warm sunshine with intermittent showers, making conditions trying, and not a little “demoralizing,” according to one contestant, for the world’s best exponents of the Highland bagpipe at one of the world’s most important events for the instrument.

Alasdair Henderson

A-Grade (38 entered overall)
(six in final round)
1st Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
2nd Calum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland
3rd James P. Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
4th Innes Smith, Stirling, Scotland
5th Peter Hunt, Stevenston, Scotland
6th Euan MacCrimmon, Inverness, Scotland
Judges: Jimmy Banks, Bill Livingstone, Ronnie McShannon

Strathspey & Reel (six in final round)
1st Alasdair Henderson
2nd Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
3rd Mike Fitzhenry, Paisley, Scotland
4th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland
5th Sean McKeown, Toronto
6th James P. Troy
Judges: Barry Donaldson, Iain MacFadyen, Stuart Samson

B-Grade (35 entered)
1st Angus J. MacColl, Oban, Scotland
2nd Andrew Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
3rd Liam Kernaghan, Dunedin, New Zealand
4th Greig Wilson, Cardenden, Scotland
5th George Stewart, Perth, Scotland
Judges: Willie Morrison, Robert Wallace, John Wilson

Strathspey & Reel
1st Sarah Muir, Campbeltown, Scotland
2nd Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
3rd James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
4th Decker Forrest, Skye, Scotland
5th Liam Kernaghan
Judges: Andrew Frater, Iain MacLellan, Andrew Wright

Premier & A-Grade Jig
1st Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland
2nd Alasdair Henderson
3rd Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh
4th Sarah Muir
5th James MacHattie
Judges: Alan Forbes, Patricia Henderson, Bob Worrall

Oban: Smith wins Gold; Cameron Silver; Liddell Sr. Piob; MacColl MSR

Published: August 26, 2015

John-Angus Smith, happy after being announced the winner of the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at Oban.

Oban, Scotland – August 26, 2015 – The first day of mainly piobaireachd competitions at the Argyllshire Gathering saw John-Angus Smith of London with the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal, a competition that Smith had competed in for more than 15 years, gaining many prizes, but never winning until now. The prize list featured only one contestant from Scotland.

Smith’s win of the Gold Medal was the first by a piper playing on the right shoulder since the ironically-named Angus John MacLellan in 1973 at the same event.

Earlier, Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland, won the Senior Piobaireachd, a contest excusively for holders of a Highland Society of London Gold Medal at either Oban or the Northern Meeting. It was the first event completed and announced on the day. The prize for Liddell was his second of the Senior Piobaireachd, which he won previously in 2012.

Later at night, Angus MacColl won the March, Strathspey & Reel contest for former winners of the A-Grade light music events. It was his third win of the event, but his first since 1998.

Smith, Liddell and MacColl all gain invitations to the Glenfiddich Championships on October 24th in Blair Atholl, Scotland.

The Silver Medal was won by Sandy Cameron of Roy Bridge, Scotland, while Charlie MacDonald of Inverness, Scotland, won the MacGregor Memorial piobaireachd competition for young pipers.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for further results from Oban as they become available.

Highland Society of London Gold Medal
1st John-Angus Smith, London, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
2nd James P Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada “Lament for the Laird of Annapool”
3rd James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada, “MacNeill of Barra’s March”
4th Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
5th Alastair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland, “The Big Spree”
Judges: Willie Morrison, Jack Taylor, Bob Worrall

Senior Piobaireachd
1st Stuart Liddell, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
2nd Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
3rd Andrew Hayes, Ottawa, “Lament for the Duke of Hamilton”
4th Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
5th Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland, “Mrs. MacLeod of Talisker’s Salute”
Judges: Bill Livingstone, Iain MacFadyen, John Wilson

Stuart Liddell with his hardware for winning the Glenfiddich-sponsored Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering. [Photo: by permission of Derek Maxwell]

Silver Medal
1st Sandy Cameron, “The Blind Piper’s Obstinacy”
2nd Sean McKeown, Toronto, “Isabel Mackay”
3rd Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, “The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute”
4th Michael Fitzhenry, Paisley, Scotland, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
5th Sarah Muir, Campbeltown, Scotland, “Lament for Captain MacDougall”
Judges: Alan Forbes, Patricia Henderson, Ronnie McShannon

MacGregor Memorial
1st Charlie MacDonald, Inverness, Scotland
2nd John Dew, Crieff, Scotland
3rd Callum Watson, Lasswade, Scotland
4th Ross Miller, Linlithgow, Scotland
Judges: Malcolm McRae, Robert Wallace, Bill Wotherspoon, Andrew Wright

Silver Star MSR
1st Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
2nd Stuart Liddell
3rd Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
4th Alastair Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
5th Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotand
Judges: Jimmy Banks, Iain MacLellan, Stuart Samson

Shotts junior contest returns November 7th


They might be the reigning World Champions, but Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia know that the a positive future lies with a strong youth, so the band is holding back its second annual Juvenile Solo Piping & Drumming Championships on Saturday, November 7th, at Calderhead High School in Shotts.

The band is continuing its partnership with the local North Lanarkshire Council and volunteers from the band and community to build the success of last year’s event, which attracted more than a hundred competitors.

Competitions across all aspects of piping and drumming are planned, with 10 different event categories, from beginner practice chanter and sticks and pads, to piobaireachd, to “freestyle” events, with all contests judged by established and accredited adjudicators.

“Building on the success of 2014 we are running the competition again this year in partnership with North Lanarkshire Council,” said Pipe-Major Ryan Canning. “The aim of the competition is to support young talent in Scottish music and this aim aligns perfectly with North Lanarkshire Schools Music Program. In response to last year’s feedback, we have added a bass drum category and another piping category. Hopefully this year will be even more successful than last.”

As a non-profit and independent magazine, pipes|drums is once again making a monetary contribution to the event in support of piping and drumming in the area.

Top solo pipers converge on Oban

Published: August 25, 2015

About 80 of the world’s best competitive solo pipers converge on the seaside town of Oban, Scotland, this week for the annual Argyllshire Gathering, one of the most important events on the solo piping calendar.

The piobaireachd and Silver Star MSR events take place on Wednesday, August 26th, at indoor venues across the town centre of Oban, and on the following day the remaining light music contests will be held at the Argyllshire Gathering Park with the traditional march to the games, pipers leading the Oban gentry on a two kilometre hike and the previous day’s winner of the Highland Society of London Gold Medal in the pipe-major position.


The 2014 march to the Argyllshire Gathering, with Gold Medallist Dougie Murray in the pipe-major’s spot, and Silver Medallist Decker Forrest as pipe-sergeant.

Of note, Jack Lee of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, returns to solo competition after some time away and, at the opposite end of the spectrum, Craig Sutherland, Crieff, Scotland, competes for the first time in the Silver Star after winning both the A-Grade March and Strathspey & Reel at last year’s Argyllshire Gathering.

In the Gold Medal, approximately a third of entrants are not residents of the UK, and in the Silver Medal eight of the 28 who were accepted into the contest are non-UK.

Following are the draws for each senior event. Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the 2015 Argyllshire Gathering as they are announced.

Senior Piobaireachd
1 Jack Lee
2 Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland
3 Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
4 Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland
5 Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
6 Chris Armstrong, Airth, Scotland
7 Bruce Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
8 Douglas Murray, Cardenden, Scotland
9 Donald MacPhee, Alexandria, Scotland
10 Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
11 Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
12 Gordon Walker, Galston, Scotland
13 Andrew Hayes, Ottawa
14 Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow
15 Greg Wilson, Canterbury, New Zealand
16 Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland
17 Niall Matheson, Invergordon, Scotland
18 Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland
19 Euan MacCrimmon, Inverness, Scotland
20 Glenn Brown, Glasgow

Silver Star MSR
1 Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland
2 Cameron Drummond, Edinburgh
3 Douglas Murray
4 John Patrick, Denny, Scotland
5 Alastair Dunn, Glasgow
6 Niall Stewart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
7 Gordon Walker
8 Niall Matheson
9 Willie McCallum
10 Chris Armstrong
11 Stuart Liddell
12 Neil Walker, Perth, Australia
13 Gordon McCready, Paisley, Scotland
14 Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh
15 Alastair Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
16 Iain Speirs
17 Finlay Johnston
18 Roddy Macleod
19 Glenn Brown
20 James Murray, Perth, Australia
21 Bruce Gandy
22 Jack Lee
23 Jori Chishom, Seattle
24 Donald MacPhee
25 Angus MacColl
26 Craig Sutherland

Highland Society of London Gold Medal
1 Alastair Lee
2 William Geddes, Dumfries, Scotland
3 Decker Forrest, Isle Ornsay, Scotland
4 Jonathan Greenlees, Lisburn Northern Ireland
5 Andrew Carlisle
6 Derek Midgley, New Jersey, USA
7 Gordon McCready
8 Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh
9 Cameron Drummond
10 Craig Sutherland
11 Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
12 Glenn Brown
13 Alan Russell
14 Jori Chisholm
15 Donald MacPhee
16 Andrew Lee
17 Fiona Manson, Melbourne
18 Andrea Boyd, Ottawa
19 James MacHattie, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada
20 John Angus Smith, London
21 Angus J. MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
22 James Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
23 Chris Armstrong
24 Peter McCallister, Dunblane, Scotland
25 John Mulhearn, Glasgow
26 Jamie Forrester, Isle of Mull, Scotland
27 Andrew Hayes
28 Innes Smith, Stirling, Scotland

Silver Medal
1 Sarah Muir, Campbeltown, Scotland
2 Edward McIlwaine, Vancouver
3 Colin Campbell, Inverness, Scotland
4 Greig Canning, Edinburgh
5 Jacob Dicker, Ottawa
6 Steven Gray, Lockerbie, Scotland
7 Eric Ouellette, Syracuse, New York, USA
8 George Stewart, Perth, Scotland
9 Matt Pantaleoni, St Louis
10 Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh
11 Michael Fitzhenry, Paisley, Scotland
12 Michael Elder, Auchtermuchty, Scotland
13 Gordon Barclay, Inverness, Scotland
14 Matt Fraser, Glasgow
15 Cameron MacDougall, Nigg, Scotland
16 Ed Bush, Cardinal, Ontario, Canada
17 David Shedden, Glasgow
18 Steven Leask, Irvine, Scotland
19 Ben McClamrock, Baltimore
20 Mael Sicard–Cras, Glasgow
21 Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
22 Ashley McMichael, Antrim, Northern Ireland
23 Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland
24 Graham Drummond, Bathgate, Scotland
25 Ursa Beckford, Maine, USA
26 Sandy Cameron, Roy Bridge, Scotland
27 Sean McKeown, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
28 Darach Urquhart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

A-Grade Light Music (March and Strathspey & Reel)
1 Calum Beaumont
2 Jenny Hazzard
3 Alastair Lee
4 John Mulhearn
5 Gordon McCready
6 Euan MacCrimmon
7 Alastair Dunn
8 Glenn Brown
9 Greg Wilson
10 Jamie Forrester
11 Alasdair Henderson
12 Jori Chisholm
13 John-Angus Smith
14 Colin Campbell
15 Fred Morrison
16 Andrew Hayes
17 Ben McClamrock
18 James Troy
19 Graham Drummond
20 Craig Muirhead
21 Derek Midgley
22 Richard Hawke
23 Eric Ouellette
24 Darach Urquhart
25 Finlay Johnston
26 Iain Speirs
27 John Lee
28 Jonathan Greenlees
29 Andrew Carlisle
30 Neil Walker
31 Andrea Boyd
32 Peter Hunt, Stevenston, Scotland
32 Ashley McMichael
33 Sean McKeon
34 Michael Fitzhenry
35 Innes Smith
36 Steven Gray
37 Gordon Bruce
38 William Geddes

B-Grade Light Music
1 Ross Miller, Linlithgow, Scotland
2 Fiona Manson, Melbourne
3 Faye Henderson
4 George Stewart, Perth, Scotland
5 Ursa Beckford
6 Michael Elder
7 Andrew Wilson, Dromore, Northern Ireland
8 Connor Sinclair
9 Angus J. Maccoll
10 Cameron MacDougall
11 Donald Macleod, Glasgow
12 Calum Watson, Lasswade, Scotland
13 Nick Hudson
14 David Shedden
15 Greig Canning
16 Euan Dewar, Oban, Scotland
17 Ben Duncan
18 Liam Kernaghan, Dunedin, New Zealand
19 Andrew Hall, London
20 Dan Lyden, Timonium, Maryland, USA
21 Matt Pantaleoni
22 Callum Moffat
23 Sandy Cameron
24 Steven Leask
25 Sarah Muir
26 Andrew Lee
27 Greig Wilson, Cardenden, Scotland
28 Matt Wilson, Dollar, Scotland
29 James MacHattie
30 Keith Bowes, Inchinnan, Scotland
31 David Wilton, Glasgow
32 Decker Forrest
33 Alan Clark, Aberdeen, Scotland
34 William Rowe, Napier, New Zealand
35 Kristopher Coyle, Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland

Tammy Royce wins Pick The Six!


PickTheSix_newsTammy Royce of Ventura, California, is the canny winner of pipes|drums’ 2015 Pick The Six contest!

We had more than 2,800 entries this year, and ultimately it was Tammy’s total score of 14 points that carried the day. Tammy had only the second- and third-place winners reversed in her pick, and was spot-on with first, fourth, fifth and ssixth. (One reader actually got the final six in exact order, but the entry was disqualified because there was another entry from the same email address, which is against the clearly defined rules.) A perfect pick would garner 18 points.

Tammy will now receive directly from the businesses providing the prizes the following array of wonderful stuff — and please be sure to check out each business, since they have excellent products and services and are proud supporters of piping and drumming! – a one-year membership to the Studio. Retail price: $240.


Boderiou Bagpipes – one Boderiou poly band pipe chanter. Retail price: $205.


Chris Armstrong Bagpipes – I’ll donate a set of Premium X-Treme Drone Reeds ($175) and a Skype lesson with Chris Armstrong (priceless).


Elixir Piping & Drumming – a level of books from the Exam Excellence progream. $80.

Epipesa download copy of Studio Piper ($154)


Henderson Reedmakers – six sets of Traditional cane drone reeds made and selected by Murray Henderson. $150 combined value.) Strathmore_banner_resized

Lee & Sons Bagpipes – Any pipe bag, any size, any hide (Cowide, Goatskin, Sheepskin or Sheepskin Premium), with or without zipper, with or without grommets. $400


Lyons Bagpipes – A Moose Valve and a set of Crozier V2 Drone Reeds. $145 combined value.


Mayor Drum Supply – set of bass drum heads with artwork ($460), a pair of Mayor bass drum mallets ($105) and a Mayor tension watch ($98) for a total prize pack valued at $663.


McCallum Bagpipes – long full engraved practice chanter. ($338)


PipeReeds – six of the finest pipe chanter reeds that Colin MacLellan can craft. ($111)


Reelpipes – A six-pack of G1 Platinum chanter reeds ($108) and a copy of Iian MacDonald’s Along the Road collection ($25).


Walsh Bagpipes – Plastic A smallpipe chanter set up with a special practice chanter top so it can be played as a practice chanter in the key of A, with a water trap in the top with an engraved nickel ferrule. ($215)



Congratulations, Tammy, and thanks to all of our readers who entered the 2015 Pick The Six contest, and of course to our advertising partners for their support!



Graham Brown new L-D for St. Thomas Alumni

Published: August 24, 2015

Only a week after winning the 2015 World Pipe Band Championship, and after nine collective years of being a snare drummer with Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, Graham Brown is leaving the band to become the leading-drummer of the Grade 2 St. Thomas Alumni Pipe Band of Houston.

Brown, who now lives in Las Vegas, made the decision to take on the new role partly because of the travel and time commitment involved with sustaining membership in Shotts. He has been a leading-drummer before, having held the post with the Grade 1 Peel Regional Police from 2007-’12, including a year when his brother, Glenn, who is now pipe-sergeant with Shotts, was pipe-major. The Browns are originally from Milton, Ontario, Canada.

Graham Brown with Shotts at the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships. [Photo: Paul Brown]

Graham Brown replaces Zach Goodrick, who will remain with the band as a corps drummer.

Under Pipe-Major Jamie Gattinger, St. Thomas Alumni has enjoyed good success, including top-six placings at the World Championships in Grade 2 for four straight years (2011-‘14), including a second in 2012. Gattinger was previously pipe-major of now-defunct Grade 1 Alberta Caledonia.

St. Thomas Alumni also announced that Mike Cusack is the new pipe-sergeant of the band. Cusack is by far the most successful US-born competition solo piper in history, with both Gold Medals and two Clasps, among many other awards, to his name. He is currently Headmaster of St. Thomas Episcopal School, a private institution in Houston. Cusack was pipe-major of the St. Thomas Juvenile Pipe Band for many years, including when it won the Juvenile grade at the World’s.

“I’d like to thank Jamie Gattinger, Zach Goodrick, and Mike Cusack for the opportunity to be involved with one of the most talented organizations in North America,” Brown said. “I’m extremely excited to see what we can do not only in the immediate short term, but also what we can build St. Thomas Alumni into for the future. The nine years I spent with Shotts & Dykehead have been the most incredible pipe band years of my life. [Pipe-Major] Ryan Canning and [Leading-Drummer] Jim Kilpatrick have both been incredibly supportive in my decision to take the helm at St. Thomas. The amount I’ve learned from both of them is vast, and I intend to bring that knowledge to St. Thomas Alumni.”

St. Thomas Alumni is separate from the school, running autonomously, and none of the positions with the group are paid, although private teaching opportunities could exist.

Gattinger said that St. Thomas Alumni plans to compete in Grade 2 at the 2016 World Championships.

Here is a video of Graham Brown performing with Pipe-Major John Cairns of the Peel Regional Police at the 2012 Pipes+Drums event at Piping Live!, sponsored by pipes|drums Magazine.

Mike Fitzhenry gets the Axe at Lochaber Gathering

Published: August 23, 2015

Mike Fitzhenry with his 2015 Gold Axe

Fort William, Scotland – August 22, 2015 – The Lochaber Gathering Festival of Piping attracted a large entry of more than 40 contestants overall to the Nevis Centre. Contests were broken into Competing Pipers Association grades, proving popular with competitors. Mike Fithenry won the Lochaber Gold Axe (An Tuagh Oir) for piobaireachd, while Willie McCallum took both top-tier light music events and a second in the Lochaber Axe to have the best day overall. Meanwhile at the Lonach Gathering in northern Scotland, only four competitors entered the senior events, and organizers Jack Taylor and Duncan Watson played to make it six.

Premier & A-Grade (An Tuagh Oir)
1st Mike Fitzhenry, Paisley, Scotland
2nd Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
3rd Callum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland
4th Ewen MacCrimmon, Inverness, Scotland

B- and C-Grade (An Tuagh Airgead)
1st Colin Campbell, Inverness, Scotland
2nd Andrew Wright, Dundee, Scotland
3rd Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh
4th Andrew Hall, London

Light Music
Premier & A-Grade
March (Lochaber Gathering Gold Medal)
1st Willie McCallum2nd Derek Midgley, New Jersey
3rd Colin Campbell, Inverness
4th Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh

Strathspey & Reel
1st Willie McCallum
2nd Mike Fitzhenry
3rd Derek Midgley
4th Callum Beaumont

B- & C-Grade
March, Strathspey & Reel
1st Ursa Beckford, Maine
2nd Ross Cowan, Motherwell, Scotland
3rd Nick Hudson
4th Charles MacDonald, Inverness, Scotland

Open Hornpipe & Jig
1st Willie McCallum
2nd Derek Midgley
3rd John Angus Smith, London
4th Jamie Forrester, London

Hudson, Kernaghan, Simpson take in Glen Isla

Published: August 21, 2015

Nick Hudson received a trophy at Glen Isla.

Glen Isla, Scotland – August 21, 2015 – Although the weather was warm and sunny, only six pipers turned out for the annual Glen Isla Highland Games, where Nick Hudson of Pittsburgh and New Zealand’s Liam Kernaghan had the best days overall. The small attendance continued the downward trend this year around the Scottish solo circuit at most of the games. As tradition has it, there was no piobaireachd event.

1st Liam Kernaghan
2nd Nick Hudson
3rd Andrew Wright, Dundee, Scotland
4th William Rowe, New Zealand
5th Dan Lyden, Maryland

Strathspey & Reel
1st Nick Hudson
2nd Liam Kernaghan
3rd Jonathan Simpson, Bo’ness, Scotland
4th William Rowe
5th Dan Lyden

Jigs (two tunes)
1st Jonathan Simpson
2nd Nick Hudson
3rd Liam Kernaghan
4th William Rowe
5th Dan Lyden

Judges for all events: Ian Duncan, Murray Henderson and someone named “Major Gibb.”

Stephen Power (1935-2015)

Published: August 20, 2015

IrishPiobSoc-logoStephen Power, formerly of the Scots Guards, passed away in Waterford, Ireland, after a brief illness. He was a well-known and highly respected piper, instructor and adjudicator in Irish pipe band circles for many years.

After a sojourn in the Scots Guards, he returned to Ireland in the 1960s, having garnered much experience while playing with them. He was a noted teacher and exponent of piobaireachd and many in Ireland sought him out for his ability to teach, develop and perfect the skills required to play piobaireachd well. A significant number of Ireland’s best players owe much to his willingness to pass on the skills he had acquired and honed over many years. He was a generous and patient tutor and he remained active until just before his final illness. He also knew the instrument itself very well and was a talented artisan who worked on, restored and repaired pipes.

Cumann Pìobaireachd na hÉireann, (the Irish Pìobaireachd Society), which he co-founded in 1997 to promote and advance the art of piobaireachd playing in Ireland, dedicated its main prize for the best overall former winner category, the Bratach de Paor, in his honour. (The name de Paor is the Gaelic form of Power and the Bratach will be well known to piping enthusiasts familiar with the Bratach Gorm and other such competitive events.) The Bratach de Paor was first awarded in 2003 and the winner that year was Andrew Carlisle. Margaret Dunn won the prize this year.

He was predeceased by his wife, Kathleen, and we extend our sympathy to his daughter Cathy, son Stephen, son-in-law Shay, grandson Lee and all his many relatives, colleagues and friends across the Irish piping scene.

Requiem Mass for Stephen Power was celebrated on Thursday, August 20th, followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.

– contributed by Ciarán Mac Murchaidh


Ed Neigh: a personal piping recollection

Published: August 18, 2015

By Jim McGillivray

The piping world, and Ontario in particular, lost one of its most knowledgeable and endearing personalities when Ed Neigh passed away on August 8, 2015. Ed’s most successful pupil was twice Gold Medallist Jim McGillivray. They first met 45 years ago when Jim was 15 and Ed was just 25. It was the start of an astonishingly productive teacher/pupil relationship and a lifelong friendship. Jim has more than once referred to Ed as his “teacher, mentor and second father.”

Below, Jim shares his candid memories of life with Ed in the early days, giving us a uniquely personal perspective on one of North America’s most devoted and beloved piping figures.

The late Ed Neigh, 1981.

Back in the fall of 1970, my three-year career with the Grade 3 Branch 50 Kitchener Legion Pipe Band ended due to Legion infighting. My mother had been born and raised in Stratford, Ontario, Ed Neigh’s hometown, and was taught in school by Ed’s father. I don’t think she actually knew Ed, but the connection was close enough that she felt comfortable proudly announcing to him that her son would like to play in Ed’s Guelph Pipe Band.

A very young Ed Neigh with the Perth Regiment Pipe Band of Ontario.

Ed had no idea who I was. In fact, I was a mediocre competitor in Grade 3 Amateur. I entertained no hope that Ed’s up-and-coming Grade 2 band would want me. Nonetheless, I humoured my mother and we went to the infamous Guelph “band hut” for a tryout. I played a march, strathspey and reel for Ed. When I was finished, he had an impish grin on his face (those who knew him will know the grin). He told my mother without hesitation that I was welcome to join the band. I still don’t know what he saw or heard in me at the time, but it was just like Ed to hear and see things that nobody else did.

I learned the band repertoire and Ed started giving me solo lessons after band practice. Solo lessons were part of the package. Ed believed your band got better as your individual players improved. Everyone was encouraged to compete. I was introduced to piobaireachd forthwith (“Black Donald’s March”) and as summer approached Ed suggested I forget about Grade 3 Amateur (I had earned just one third place the previous summer) and enter Grade 2. I was shocked, but I did as I was told. To my surprise I earned consistent prizes in my new grade immediately and won the first amateur piobaireachd contest I played in. Ed dragged me toward those prizes in spite of myself. He gave me the tools, built my confidence and I never looked back.

Such was piping life with the whirlwind of Ed Neigh. He could take you places you thought you had no business going. The smartest thing I did as his student was simply do everything he told me to do. We thrived on each other’s enthusiasm and I thrived on his knowledge and his ability and eagerness to impart it.

Ed was an incessant thinker and talker, analytical and minutely perceptive. One of the fortuitous circumstances to occur at that time was that my parents’ home in Kitchener was only a few minutes off Ed’s route from Stratford (later Wellesley) to . . .


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Video: Shotts celebrates victory

Published: August 16, 2015

pipes|drums Magazine is pleased to bring you the moment when Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band was announced 2015 World Champions, along with the band’s march-off and a few quick interviews with Pipe-Major Ryan Canning, Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick and Pipe-Sergeant Glenn Brown.

It was the first time in more than 50 years that a band has won the World Championship without previously winning another major championship under its current leadership.

The victory for the Scottish group was the first time in 10 years that a pipe band from Scotland has won the top prize. The last Scottish band to do it? The same Shotts & Dykehead in 2005, then under Pipe-Major Robert Mathieson.

It was the sixteenth time in the band’s long history that it won the World Championship.

Johnston raises standard at Glenfinnan

Published: August 15, 2015

Glenfinnan, Scotland – August 15, 2015 – Ten pipers who weren’t otherwise engaged at the World Pipe Band Championships 100 miles south in Glasgow. Finlay Johnston was the overall winner in rapidly-changing weather.

1st Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
2nd Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario
3rd Finlay Clark
4th Robert Gray
Judge: Malcolm McRae

Ian K. MacDonald competing at Glenfinnan [Photo: Emily Kate MacLellan]

March (twice over)
1st Finlay Johnston
2nd Ian K. MacDonald
3rd Nick Hudson, Pittsburgh
4th Matt Pantaleoni, St. Louis
Judge: Iain MacFadyen

Strathspey & Reel
1st Ian K. MacDonald
2nd Nick Hudson
3rd Finlay Johnston
4th Matt Pantaleoni
Judge: Iain MacFadyen

Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia: 2015 World Pipe Band Champions


Glasgow – August 15, 2015 – Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia were named 2015 World Pipe Band Champions after a grueling two days of competitions at Glasgow Green. Shotts and Dykehead won the overall title as an aggregate over Medley and March, Strathspey & Reel events against 11 other bands. The victory was the first for a Scottish band since Shotts won 10 years ago. A surprising fourth-place to Field Marshal Montgomery ended the band’s four-year run of World’s victories and was the band’s lowest finish at a major championship in many years. The event was the final competition for Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe-Major Ross Walker, who earlier had informed his band that he would retire.

Celebrations begin for 2015 World Champions Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia.

Pipe-Major Ryan Canning with the World’s banner firmly attached.

Grade 1
1st Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
2nd St. Laurence O’Toole (ens.pref.) (Ireland)
3rd Inveraray & District (Scotland)
4th Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
5th Simon Fraser University (Canada)
6th ScottishPower (Scotland)
Drumming: St. Laurence O’Toole

Shotts marches off with the trophy.

1st Shotts & Dykehead (3,1,2,2)
2nd St. Laurence O’Toole (2,4,1,3)
3rd Inveraray & District (4,3,3,1)
4th Field Marshal Montgomery (1,2,7,4)
5th ScottishPower (5,5,5,7)
6th Simon Fraser University (ens.pref.) (9,7,4,5)
Judges: Peter Snaddon, James Campbell (piping); Paul Turner (drumming); Gordon Lawrie (ensemble)

Shotts just after playing the MSR event.

1st Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (ens.pref.) (3,3,2,2)
2nd Inveraray & District (2,1,3,4)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (5,4,1,1)
4th Field Marshal Montgomery (1,2,8,3)
5th Simon Fraser University (4,5,6,8)
6th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (7,6,9,5)
Judges: Ken Eller, Dixie Ingram (piping); David Brown (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

Grade 2
1st Johnstone (Scotland) (1,1,2,2)
2nd Bleary & District (Northern Ireland) (6,2,1,1)
3rd Buchan Peterson (Scotland) (5,3,3,3)
4th Mackenzie Caledonian (Scotland) (4,4,6,5)
5th Police Service of Northern Ireland (7,5,5,4)
6th Lomond & Clyde (Scotland) (3,8,4,6)
Judges: Robert Mathieson, John McCarlie (piping); Gordon Craig (drumming); John Moles (ensemble)

Pipers from Johnstone in the Grade 2 Final MSR.

Grade 3A
1st Annsborough
2nd City of Discovery (Scotland)
3rd Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
4th Dartmouth & District (Canada)
5th Auchintober (Northern Ireland)
6th Scotia Glenville (USA)

Grade 3B
1st Colmcille (Ireland)
2nd Lewis (Scotland)
3rd Upper Crossgare (Northern Ireland)
4th Portlethen & District
5th Achill (Ireland)
6th Prestonpans Royal British Legion (Scotland)

1st Dollar Academy (Scotland)
2nd George Watson’s College (Scotland)
3rd George Heriot’s School (Scotland)
4th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate (Scotland)
5th St. Andrews College (New Zealand)
6th Kintyre Schools (Scotland)

Grade 4A
1st Major Sinclair Memorial
2nd St. Patricks Bandon (Ireland)
3rd Marlacoo & District (Northern Ireland)
4th Cullybackey (Northern Ireland)
5th Battlehill
6th Catamount (USA)

Grade 4B
1st Portavogie (Scotland)
2nd Royal Burgh of Stirling (Scotland)
3rd McDonald Memorial (Scotland)
4th Lanarkshire & District (Scotland)
5th Carnoustie (Scotland)
6th Beatrix (Netherlands)

Novice Juvenile
1st George Watson’s College (Scotland)
2nd Oban High School (Scotland)
3rd Dollar Academy (Scotland)
4th George Heriot’s School (Scotland)
5th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
6th Northwest Junior (USA)




Video: Boghall P-M Ross Walker retires


Ross Walker

After 20 years as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band of Bathgate, Scotland, Ross Walker will step down after the World Pipe Band Championships.

Ross Harvey, a longtime piper with the band and its current Pipe-Sergeant, will take over the top spot.

Walker had made the decision some three years ago, and has been preparing since that time, but had informed Harvey of his decision a year ago following the 2014 World’s, allowing Harvey to prepare himself for the transition.

Walker has been with the Boghall organization for 39 years, his first contest being Dunbar in 1977. He became pipe-major of the Grade 1 band in the middle of the 1996 competition season, following his brother, Craig.

With a demanding career in the software industry, Walker had been continually sandwiching in the band around work, including routinely getting off flights from Oracle’s UK headquarters in London to get to band practice.

Ross Harvey

Walker said, “It is time to stop and just be a dad. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the band over the past 20 years and I am grateful for the support and trust I have been given by the many pipers, drummers, committee members, sponsors and supporters who have been involved with the organization in that time,” Walker said. “Since I took the reins from my brother Craig at the end of 1995, we have achieved many things on the competition field and beyond and I will reflect on my time as pipe-major of the Boghall with great deal of pride.

“I pass on the pipey’s stripes to Ross Harvey who has been exemplary as my pipe-sergeant over the past five years or so. I have worked with Ross over the past three years to prepare for this moment and finally gave him 12 months’ notice to ready himself for the big job after last year’s World’s. I have no doubt that with his experience, knowledge and talent he is well prepared to lead the organization for the next 20 years to even greater success. I’d also like to express my thanks to my Leading-Drummer Gordon Brown who has been at my side for the past 20 years. I believe the musical relationship we developed was something special and the music we created defined the band over that time. I was lucky to have Gordon and I am extremely grateful for his support. There is no better person to help Ross Harvey settle in as Pipey.”

Under Walker’s tenure, Boghall won two European Championships and three Cowal Championships, and was almost always in the top-six at every RSPBA major. The band was second in the World Cha’mpionship in 2013 with Walker leading.

Walker said that he would stay with the Boghall organization in some capacity, but not as a competing piper.

Ross Walker with Boghall, 2014 World’s.

Walker added, “I will remain forever part of the organization, ready to help the guys in any way I can and I will be there to support Ross over the transition period so that the band is firing on all cylinders come the 2016 season. I look forward to watching the organization blossom as the next chapter of the Boghall story unfolds.”

Ross Walker and Leading-Drummer Gordon Brown performed at the 2012 Pipes+Drums recital, a rare opportunity to hear Walker’s excellence as a piper.

Video: Grade 1 finalists announced after Friday qualifier

Published: August 14, 2015

WorldChampionshipsGlasgow – August 14, 2015 – the 12 bands to qualify for the Grade 1 Final of the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships were determined at Glasgow Green today, with a total of 22 bands vying for the dozen places. Every band competed in a Medley and MSR event in their group of 11, using the same order-of-play in each contest.

Those going on to compete for the World Championship on Saturday, August 15, are, in alphabetical order:

78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (Canada)
Canterbury Caledonian Society (New Zealand)
Dowco Triumph Street (Canada)
Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
Greater Glasgow Police Scotland (Scotland)
Inveraray & District (Scotland)
Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
ScottishPower (Scotland)
Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
Simon Fraser University (Canada)
St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)

Also competing but not making the final were:

78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
Cullybackey (Northern Ireland)
Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles (Scotland)
Los Angeles Scots (USA)
New Zealand Police (New Zealand)
Peel Regional Police (Canada)
Ravara (Northern Ireland)
Stuart Highlanders (USA)
Toronto Police (Canada)
Vale of Atholl (Scotland)

Order of play for the Saturday final in both events:

  1. 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel)
  2. Dowco Triumph Street
  3. ScottishPower
  4. Inveraray & District
  5. Greater Glasgow Police Scotland
  6. Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
  7. St. Laurence O’Toole
  8. Field Marshal Montgomery
  9. Police Scotland Fife
  10. Canterbury Caledonian Society
  11. Simon Fraser University
  12. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia

Two panels of judges assessed each group once, swapping events:

Group 1 MSR and Group 2 Medley: John McCarlie, John Wilson (piping); Alex Dudgeon (drumming); Tony Sloane (ensemble).

Group 1 Medley and Group 2 MSR: Ronnie McShannon, Colin Moffett (piping); Harry Russell (drumming); Joe Noble (ensemble)

2015 Pipe Idol Champion: Scott Barrie

Published: August 13, 2015

2015 Pipe Idol champion Scott Barrie accepts his Fred Morrison smallpipes from Fred Morrison himself.

Glasgow – August 13, 2015 – Scott Barrie of Glasgow, a 19-year-old piper with the Grade 1 Greater Glasgow Police Scotland Pipe Band, was the winner of the 2015 Pipe Idol championship at Piping Live!, qualifying over four rounds and playing the Grand Final against three other contestants.

Also playing in the all-Scottish final were Robbie MacIsaac, Harry MacLachlan and Callum Watson.

Each competitor had to perform a March, Strathspey & Reel, a Hornpipe & Jig and a medley of their own choosing.

The final was judged by four judges in the audience, unannounced to the players. The event was streamed live on Piping Live!’s channel.

For his efforts, Barrie received a set of top-of-the-line Fred Morrison smallpipes valued at more than £2,000.

Scott Barrie is a special constable with the Police Scotland.

Carlisle, Bagad Cap Caval on top at Lorient


Andrew Carlisle

Lorient, Brittany, Francy – August 8-11, 2015 – Andrew Carlisle of Pittsburgh was the overall winner of the Trophée MacCrimmon (formally the Trophée Macallan) at the Interceltique Festival de Lorient 2015, while Bagad Cap Caval won the Grade 1 Championnate des Bagadou for Breton pipe bands after winning the contest at the Stade de Lorient. The winner is taken from the top aggregate from the Lorient and earlier contest in Brest. The MacCrimmon Trophy is for the aggregate between three sections of music: Scottish, Breton and Irish. Fred Morrison of Scotland won the special Piobaireachd competition. Andy Wilson of Ireland won the special Kitchen Music competition on the final day.

Pipe Bands
Grade 1
(15 competed)
1st Bagad Cap Caval, Plomeur, Brittany
2nd Bagad Kemper, Quimper, Brittany
3rd Bagad Ronsed Mor, Locoal Mendon, Brittany
4th Kevrenn Alre, Auray, Brittany
5th Kerlenn Pondi, Pontivy, Brittany
6th Bagad Bro Kemperle, Quimperlé, Brittany

Championnate des Bagadou (Aggregate between Brest and Lorient championships)
1st Bagad Cap Caval
2nd Bagad Kemper
3rd Bagad Ronsed Mor
4th Bagad Bro Kemperle
5th Kevrenn Alre
6th Kerlenn Pondi

Solo Piping
1st Andrew Carlisle
2nd Fred Morrison, Glasgow
3rd Gwenaël Le Corronc, Brittany
4th David Shedden, Glasgow
5th Liam Kernaghan, New Zealand
6th Andy Wilson, Ireland
7th Cédric Le Bozec, Brittany
8th Callum Moffat, Scotland
9th Quentin Meunier, Brittany
10th Jamie Hawke, New Zealand
11th Graham Harris, Ireland
12th William Rowe, New Zealand
13th Ali Levack, Scotland

Breton Music
1st Fred Morrison (1,1)
2nd Andrew Carlisle (2,2)
3rd Liam Kernaghan (3,3)
4th Gwenaël Le Corronc (4,4)
5th Andy Wilson (5,6) & Cédric Le Bozec (6,5)
Judges: Patrick Molard, Hervé Renault

Scottish Music
1st Andrew Carlisle (1,1)
2nd Fred Morrison (2,2)
3rd Callum Moffat (3,3)
4th Liam Kernaghan (4,4)
5th David Shedden (5,5)
Judges: John Wilson, Bob Worrall

Irish Music
1st Andrew Carlisle (1,1)
2nd Fred Morrison (2,2)
3rd David Shedden (3,3)
4th Graham Harris (4,5) & Gwenaël Le Corronc (5,4)
5th Cédric Le Bozec (6,6)
Judges: Willie Garrett, Eamonn Curran

1st Fred Morrison, “Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck”
2nd Andrew Carlisle, “Lament for the Children”
3rd Quentin Meunier, “The Big Spree”
4th David Shedden, “Old Men of the Shells”
5th Jamie Hawke, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon”
Judges: John Wilson, Bob Worrall

Ready and able


Neil Nicholson of MacKenzie Caledonian reviews the SFU Pre-World’s Concert in Glasgow . . .


PL! 3 – lifted spirits, and we are ready


It was “The Wednesday” at Piping Live! and the weather was a shade warmer and sunnier, and spirits were lifted (read that how you like) as a result. Another full day of too much to get to, picking and choosing what was on, and at times not wanting to be inside while the sun shone.

A start with Callum Armstrong, virtuoso on the double Scottish smallpipe, astounding the Street Café audience with truly avant-garde compositions of his own, as well as some more well known fare. The quite hypnotic sound of the double smallpipes attracted a lot of interest from unexpecting passers-by, who stopped to have a listen and then stayed through lunch.

Callum Armstrong on the double Scottish smallpipes.

The official launch of the Piobaireachd Society’s Book 16 of their Collection was in the National Piping Centre’s auditorium, with President Jack Taylor emceeing the event, showcasing . . .


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PL! 2 – devine duos, teen idols, and fearless fours

Published: August 12, 2015

The second day of Piping Live! – “The Tuesday,” as people would say – saw a bevy of events across the city centre, with the epicenter of the action of course at the National Piping Centre.

Pipe-Major Alan Bevan of SFU performs at Pipes+Drums.

The usually-annual Pipes+Drums Recital of Grade 1 pipe-majors and leading-drummers, brought to you by the kind folks at pipes|drums (hey, that’s us!) showcased four of the topper-most talent in the world.

Kicking off this year’s event were Pipe-Major Alan Bevan and Leading-Drummer Reid Maxwell of the six-time World Champion Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. They came straight over from a morning rehearsal of their big “Nous Sommes Pretes” Pre-World’s Concert show at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. In especially fine form were they, rich new material at the ready.

Jake Joergensen of ScottishPower.

Next on were Pipe-Major Adam Holdaway and Leading-Drummer Scott Fletcher from the Stuart Highlanders of Boston (pron. “Bah-stan”). We like the fact that the event is a chance to hear talented players just a bit out of, but still well within, context, and Holdaway and Fletcher impressed the large crowd. Holdaway’s pipe was especially rich and resonant, with a Roddy MacLeod-esque high-A coming off of his new Gibson chanter, which he put in especially for the event (the band plays G1 chanters).

Pipes+Drums veterans Chris Armstrong and Jake Joergensen, leaders of ScottishPower, came on next, showing their new-found symbiotic musical relationship, keying off one another, demonstrating that this could be – or already is – an ensemble combo made in heaven.

PipingLive2015Day2_ (47)_large

Pipe-Major Ryan Canning and Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick of Shotts & Dykehead at Pipes+Drums.

The final duo to play was Pipe-Major Ryan Canning and Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick of the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia. Under Canning, Shotts has catapulted itself back into the top-tier of Grade 1, already just narrowly missing winning a championship, and the favourite of not a few to win the Big One on Saturday. Canning’s top-drawer solo abilities and Kilpatrick’s . . .


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Inveraray wins International Quartets, Piping Live! Day 2

Published: August 11, 2015

Inveraray & District’s quartet, led by Alasdair Henderson, performing in the 2015 Internation Quartets Competition at Piping Live!

Inveraray & District were for the second straight year victorious at the annual International Quartets Competition at a packed, though smaller capacity, Strathclyde Suite at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Day 2 of the Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival.

The only Scottish band to participate in this year’s competition, certainly one of the most pressure-packed events in the pipe band world. Canada contributed four quartets and New Zealand one in the contest, which, with only six bands was over before 10 pm.

Inveraray was chosen best by the anonymous, but fairly obvious to those who care, panel of adjudicators, scattered among the audience listening to a first-half March, Strathspey & Reel event and a second half Medley.

There was only one prize, but all quartets received an appearance fee. The competition was sponsored by R.T. Shepherd & Son and Glenfiddich.


Members of the Inveraray & District quartet receive their prizes from Liz Maxwell of Glenfiddich, emcee Fergus Muirhead and Ross Watson of R.T. Shepherd & Son.

Other Grade 1 bands with quartets were: 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada), 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) (Canada), Dowco Triumph Street (Canada), New Zealand Police (New Zealand), and Toronto Police (Canada).

While the prizes were being tabulated, 16-year-old Calum Iain Brown from Peterculter, Scotland, winner of the 2014 Pipe Idol Competition at Piping Live! played a few solo selections, greatly impressing the audience.

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UPCOMING EVENTS December 5, 2015Victoria Square DayChristchurch University of Canterbury

December 5, 2015Scottish Pipers’ Association Knockout ContestCollege of Piping Otago St Glasgow

December 6, 2015South Canterbury Centre ContestSouth Canterbury, NZ

December 12, 2015Highland Square DayPalmerston North

December 31, 2015A short guide to music therapy webinarBizdb

Pipers: Always ask yourself, Where has the reed been? Remember that all makes of pipe chanter reeds need a bit of moisture. To put some into it without a lick or a sook try the “heavy breath,” like when you want to “fog up” a window or your eyeglasses.
Donald MacPhee, reedmaker, Alexandria, Scotland