PP Editor’s Blog: Readers, MacCrimmon Trophy, USPF, WW2 Letter, New England Schedule

I am constantly, and pleasantly, surprised by the breadth of readership we get here at Piping Press. This week alone (Sun – Tues inc.) we have had 2,560 readers come to the site from, among others, the following countries: UK, USA, Canada, Australia, NZ, Germany, Netherlands, France, Ireland, Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, Oman and the Philipines.

What is interesting too is that it is not always the current features that people are accessing but the historical articles such as the History of Pipe Bands (new comment on that posted yesterday regarding Accrington Pipe Band being the oldest band extant) and the Famous Pipers – P/M Ian McLellan (above) series. Piobaireachd buffs seem to be enjoying the James Campbell letters and all the other features about ceol mor that we have. I would encourage readers to use the search box to select articles of their choice. There is quite an eclectic mix.

Lorient-2015-logoTom Johnstone, Scottish Organiser, has sent this about the new rules governing the lucrative MacCrimmon Trophy contest to be held at the Lorient Festival in August. Scots pipers are David Shedden, Callum Moffat, Ali Levack and the organisers have allowed a fourth Scottish competitor this year – multi MacCrimmon winner, Fred Morrison, who will be attending the Festival anyway. Scottish section judges are John Wilson and Bob Worrall. The big change is in the Scottish section where pipers will now play a medley rather than an MSR:
The 2015 final of the MacCrimmon Trophy will take place in the ‘Palais des Congrès’ of Lorient on August 9th at 2.30 pm. The aim of the competition is to encourage pipers to explore the repertoires of Scotland, Ireland and Brittany. 
1. The contest is opened to all experienced highland pipers.
2. The committee reserves the right to exclude any competitor who has already won the trophy several times in a row. There is a total of €4400 (£3550) in prize money for this Competition to be allocated as follows: 1st 1320€, 2nd 720€, 3rd 410€, 4th 310€, 5th 260€, 6th 250€. There are a further seven prizes of 150€ for the remaining contestants.
3. Each country will present three solo pipers chosen by a Committee; Australia and New Zealand will be represented by three pipers maximum. Same for North America.
4. Competitions will take place in public and the organisers reserve the right to record performances.
5. Tuning rooms will be available in the ‘Palais des Congres’ one of which will be classified as the final tuning room.
6. Contestants will be given a meal on the day of the contest.
7. During the performance, tuning must not exceed two minutes. The judges can decide to suspend a competitor whose instrument is not ready.
8. The pipers will play in their national dress or in formal dress.
9. The Festival will not give any prizes for the eliminatory contests organised in the different countries.
10. Pipers will have to play a free medley of their choice from each repertoire (Breton, Irish and Scottish) which should not exceed six minutes. For the Scottish part, the traditional MSR has been replaced by a medley as for the other repertoires. Every piper will be free to adapt the large repertoire of Scottish music e.g. airs, ballads, marches, jigs, strathspeys, reels, hornpipes etc.
11. Two judges from each country (Brittany, Ireland and Scotland) will judge their respective sections.

12. The judges will give marks from 0 to 20, using the largest range possible. As well as accuracy, tone, execution and technique, the judges will take into account the authenticity of each repertoire.
13. A draw will take place at least one hour before the competition.
14. The judges’ decision will be final.
15. During the final, the judges will give one point to the winner, two points to the second, etc. The total will be done by national section and will reflect the points awarded in the three parts.
16. The winner will be the piper with the fewest score of points for the three parts. In the event of a tie, (competitors being on equal points) the piper having had the most regular performances and having the points the nearest to 1 will be the winner.’

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The US Piping Foundation have announced that their competition on June 20th is now a qualifier for Lorient: ‘The USPF is pleased to announce an arrangement with the Festival Interceltique de Lorient (https://www.facebook.com/festival.interceltique.lorient) whereby the USPF Maclean Macleod Memorial Piping Championship will be the North American qualifier for the MacCrimmon Trophy competition held at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany on August 9th 2015. The Festival Interceltique will provide the overall USPF Professional Champion an invitation to compete, as well as airfare and accommodation for the trip to Lorient, Brittany…… Thanks to Kerlenn New York (https://www.facebook.com/kerlennnewyork) for facilitating this arrangement.

USPF professional events prize money will be: 1st – $1000; 2nd – $800; 3rd – $600; 4th $400; & 5th – $200, in BOTH piobaireachd and MSR, that is in addition to the magnificent trophies, with keepers, and the overall winner’s solid silver belt buckle. PLUS air fare to compete in qualified competitions in the UK, details of which will be found at www.uspipingfoundation.org. In the amateur events, the competitor with the highest overall point accumulation from the Piobaireachd and MS&R competitions will receive round trip airfare to Scotland and two weeks tuition at an approved venue in Scotland! The overall winner also receives the USPF Silver Buckle. Scholarships will be awarded to approved Piping Schools to the top five places. Follow us at www.facebook.com/uspipingfoundation.’

Aren’t these contests putting to shame some of the prizemoney that is offered here in Scotland? Still we play for the glory do we not?

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A new letter has been added re Lieutenant George Morrison of Crieff of whose last letter home from WW2 we reported on last week.

The schedule for the New England Piping Academy has been posted on the Academy Facebook page

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