Okay, back at it after nine days away in sunny and hot Florida. In general, because of work constraints, I accept long-distance judging invitations only when I can combine it with a family vacation, and that was the case with the Dunedin Highland Games held last weekend. (Just to be clear, I pay for everything except what I would have received anyway in terms of judging fee and travel allowance.)
I was last in Dunedin five years ago, I believe. I was impressed this year that the solo piping and bands’ standards, for the most part, had improved. There are lots of young players there with bright futures.
It was particularly impressive to hear young Haley Brinton, who plays in the City of Dunedin organization. You might remember Haley’s name from the Pimp My Pipes! contest that she won last year after pleading her case with probably the most dilapidated instrument I’ve ever seen. It was good to see her playing her prize set of silver-mounted Henderson drones.
When she won the pipes|drums contest Haley competed in Grade 3, and she’s progressed to Grade 2 now. At Dunedin she came away with three first-prizes – two from me and one from Robert Mathieson. It’s always great to see a young piper with the kind of talent that Haley has: complete preparation, confidence, accurate and strong hands, and, of course, a good instrument. I would venture to guess that if she stays with it and continues to get the right instruction she will be doing well in the Professional / Open grade in three years or so.
Haley Brinton: a name to watch.