Toronto and Ottawa combine for long winter’s hot knockout punch
The Toronto and Ottawa branches of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario are partnering again for a series of competitions and events to keep players’ hands warm over the interminable Canadian winter.
The organizations have created an off-season calendar, “collaborating . . . to provide more learning and competition opportunities for pipers and drummers throughout the year,” according to Toronto branch president Glenn Walpole and Ottawa branch president Jacob Dicker, both top-tier Professional-grade pipers.
More than 30 “Knockout” events will be held from October 2019 to March 2020 in Professional and Amateur A (grades 1-2) and B (grades 3-4) divisions for solo piping and drumming. Over the series, points will be accrued in various rounds in each region, and contestants with the most points will compete in a final competition.
“Tune requirements are wide ranging, allowing pipers and drummers to work on repertoire in advance of the outdoor contest season,” Dicker and Walpole added.
As an added incentive, door prizes and prizes for competitors include music books, piping and drumming supplies, and tuition for branch workshop events, and each event will feature a recital by a accomplished piper or drummer.
The two PPBSO branches are also introducing a series of Piping & Drumming Qualifications Board (PDQB) workshops to encourage teaching and learning in the province. The PDQB education system was created by a collective of UK-based piping and drumming organizations – the Piobaireachd Society, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, the Army School of Piping & Highland Drumming, and the National Piping Centre – in an attempt to standardize practical teaching for Highland piping and pipe band drumming.
The PPBSO does not have a formal teaching or recruitment program to build its base of members and, over the last two decades, but has seen its total membership remain steady despite a decline in the number of bands competing in the top two grades.
The winners of the 2018-’19 solo piping and snare drumming knockout finals were Andrea Boyd of Toronto and Cam McKail of Hamilton, Ontario.
pipes|drums readers can see the schedule of PPBSO Knockout contests, as well as other world events, on the magazine’s Events Calendar. With a free registration on the site, readers can also submit their own listings.
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