October 12, 2022

Winter Storm returns after two-year break, but with caps on entries

A typical Winter Storm prize-giving scene.

After two years of cancellations due to the pandemic, the Winter Storm series of long-weekend piping and drumming events will return again January 11-15, 2023, to the Kansas City Marriott – Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, for twentieth anniversary competitions, workshops, performances and parties.

The success and popularity of the event up until 2020 required Winter Storm to expand to an adjacent Holiday Inn hotel. But during the pandemic, that hotel shut down and was demolished.

So the organizers have elected to maintain all events, but put limits on the number of entrants, working on a first-come basis. Details on numbers were not immediately available.

On the bright side, Winter Storm has added a US$1,500 travel prize for the aggregate winner of the Professional grade Gold Medal Piobaireachd and the Gold Medal Ceol Beag events, a new professional Silver Medal light music contest, and new solo events for amateur tenor drum and bass drum competitions.

“We had to rethink how to manage all of the contests and the master classes and came up with a reasonable solution.” – Cliff Davis

All Amateur Piping and Drumming competitions will be held on Thursday, January 12, 2023, and all Professional Piping and Drumming competitions will be on Friday, January 13, 2023.

Also new, the culminating concert featuring instructors, judges, and the winners of the biggest events will be free for workshop attendees, competitors and accompanists, their families and others connected with the event, but closed to a ticket-buying general public.

Organizer Cliff Davis said, “The concert will be more of a pub-like atmosphere compared to the previous years’ concerts. We had to rethink how to manage all of the contests and the master classes and came up with a reasonable solution.”

He added that Dojo University will again live-stream many of the Friday Professional solo contests, the Friday night awards ceremony, and the Saturday concert, but this year will include several amateur events.

Winter Storm was first held in 2001 by the Midwest Highland Arts Fund, a non-profit registered charity that promotes the improvement of Highland performing arts in the Midwest United States.



  1. I would like to point out that the amateur bass and tenor contests are not new; going back to at least 2016, novice and intermediate tenor and bass contests were offered.

    For 2023, just one amateur contest is offered; if anyone has won a prior amateur contest (i.e., novice or intermediate), they must compete in the Gold medal contest. So, the 2020 novice tenor winner (playing a march) must jump up to the Gold Medal (MSR & HJ) if he/she wishes to compete at Winter Storm in 2023.

    I understand why this was done, given the space limitations for the venue; one would hope that the previous novice winners would be allowed to compete in the combined Amateur competition, which appears to have the same requirements as the former Intermediate competition, and therefore would have been the next step for them

    Brian Green



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