Published: December 31, 2016

Strong Edinburgh lineup for Wheel event

2016 Pipe-Majors’ Wheel of Fortune winner Dougie Murray while telling his joke at the contest. [Photo used with permission]
The 2017 Pipe Majors’ Wheel of Fortune solo piping competition in Edinburgh will feature a decidedly hometown flavour with several local players participating in the increasingly popular event.

The lineup for the February 11th contest at the Danderhall Miners Club on the Scotland’s Capital City’s outskirts will feature a bevy of rising and established stars:

  • Gordon Bruce, Kilwinning, Scotland
  • Lachie Dick, Edinburgh
  • Ben Duncan, Edinburgh
  • Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh
  • Sarah Muir, Campbeltown, Scotland
  • Douglas Murray, Cupar, Scotland
  • Allan Russell, Kelty, Scotland
  • Jonathon Simpson, Bo’ness, Scotland

Each will vie for the prizes in the relaxed atmosphere in what is probably the world’s most creative and fun solo piping events that requires contestants to spin a wheel to determine what they will have to play, as well as a joke that they have to deliver to the audience.

The exact format of the events has each competitor playing three sets of tunes, starting with an MSR of their choice, then light music medley of their choice, and then a selection of tunes determined by spinning the Golden Chanter on the Wheel of Fortune.

Four of the five tune categories in the selection are determined by competitors spinning the wheel when they arrive at the competition, and the final category of tune is determined by a member of the audience spinning the chanter as each competitor comes on stage. Competitors have a Joker that they can use once to deselect a category they don’t like.

This year’s tune categories are 1. a Donald MacLeod composition, 2. a 4/4 march, 3. a Gaelic or Irish air, 4. a tune composed by Gordon Duncan, 5. a tune written by G.S McLennan tune, 6. a hornpipe, 7. a 9/8 march, 8. a composition written by the competitors, 9. the ground of a piobaireachd, 10. a polka, 11. two Irish jigs, 12. two Irish reels.

The tunes can be played in any order but must be combined to form a continuous medley.

The MSR and medley events are judged by three pipers “respected for their ability, experience and dedication to piping,” and the audience being the fourth judge.

The competitors then have to a joke that is judged by the audience.

The competition is put on by the Grade 2 City of Edinburgh Pipe Band, which in 2017 will be celebrating its seventieth anniversary. Earlier this year they announced that ticket prices for the event had been reduced.

+ Wheel contest spins to lower admission

Double Gold Medallist and Grade 1 Police Scotland Fife pipe-major Douglas Murray was the winner of the 2016 competition.

+ Game, set, match for Murray at Wheel

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