Organiser Ken Stewart reports: ‘The annual Piper of the Year competition was held last Saturday in the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena. This competition is promoted by the Northern Ireland Piping Society and is an invitation only event. Competitors are selected on merit determined by their competition results, in Ireland, during the current year.
‘Each player is required to compete in the MSR and Piobaireachd sections with the Piper of the Year trophy being awarded to the competitor with the highest aggregate placings in both events. The standard of performance this year was very high and resulted in a tie for the title, with the trophy being awarded to the player who placed highest in the Piobaireachd event.
‘Part of the attraction of this event is the recital at the close of the evening and this year the adjudicator, P/M Gordon Walker, gave an outstanding performance, which was greatly appreciated by the audience.’
1st Ashley McMichael
2nd James Fraser
3rd Kris Coyle
4th Kevin Rodgers
1st Kris Coyle (Lament for the Viscount of Dundee)
2nd Ben Greeves (Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute)
3rd Ashley McMichael (MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart)
Jig & H/Pipe
1st Kris Coyle
2nd James Fraser
Best Junior Piper: Ross Hume
Piper of the Year: Kris Coyle
Kris and Ashley are both pipers with the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, many times World Champions and the 2015 pipe band Champion of Champions. Their recent success follows that of another FMM piper Jonathan Greenlees, at the National Mod in Oban the same weekend. Last month Kris and Ashley were the outstanding pipers at the All-Ireland Solo Championships held in Dublin.
Pipers Gather in Brittany for Piobaireachd by the Sea
A few weeks ago the coast of Brittany in France resounded to the sound of the piob mhor playing ceol mor. One of the organisers, Patrick Molard has sent this report about what was another outstanding success: ‘Pibroch en Bord de Mer 11th edition, Cancale, Brittany, 20th September. Once again Pibroch by the Sea was a success, with more than 20 tunes played by pipers coming from various parts of Brittany and the rest of France, but also from Jersey with the participation of Iain MacLeod, and of course Scotland with Dr Jack Taylor, President of the Piobaireachd Society. Jack was our guest instructor and followed Dr Angus MacDonald two years ago and Jimmy MacIntosh the year before .
‘On Saturday 19th , 11 pipers took part to the Ceol Mor workshop under the expert guidance of Jack who had chosen to go through the beautiful but difficult tune, The Unjust Incarceration, using the Campbell Canntaireachd to show all the subtleties of feeling and tempo in the three lines of the urlar, as taught by the Bobs of Balmoral. Then, in the afternoon, after a quick lunch, and in wonderful weather, everybody played a tune and received comments and suggestions from Jack. This was greatly appreciated by everyone .
‘The workshop was followed by the annual meeting of the association, and the President Remy Le Castrec had the opportunity to thank the Piobaireachd Society for their help and sponsorship for the second year, insisting on the fact that without this help, it would be difficult to organize the workshop in particular. After a nice dinner, we had a few tunes and Jack delighted the company with a beautiful rendering of the Lament for the Children .
‘On Sunday morning , the sun was back again and never left us , and as the whole event takes place in the open air with beautiful surroundings (the Mont Saint-Michel in the background!), it was a glorious weekend indeed ! And the music was glorious as well, with some beautiful performances of well-known tunes, but also compositions by Jakez Pincet, and less well-known tunes like The Pipers’ Meeting (played by Jack) or Left Hand (played by Patrick Molard) from the Campbell Canntaireachd manuscript, or the Raising of the Standard at Glenfinnan played by Iain MacLeod .
‘We are very happy to see that this event around ceol mor attracts more and more people every year, which shows that one does not have to be an expert to enjoy piobaireachd, and we do hope that we will have more and more players from Scotland and elsewhere in the years to come.’