Virginia Tattoo Contest Opens Doors to Grade Three Pipe Bands

virginia-tattoo-logo-newOrganisers of the Virginia International Tattoo Pipe Band Competition have sent details of their 2017 event. There is no information as yet of Grade 1 bands taking part. The above picture shows P/Ms Douglas Murray and Stuart Liddell leading the massed bands in Amazing Grace at last April’s competition.

The release reads: ‘The Tattoo will host the Second Annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship on April 29, 2017, in Norfolk, Virginia. The competition will coincide with the Virginia International Tattoo, which will take place April 27-30, 2017, at Norfolk Scope Arena.

‘The inaugural event in 2016 included eight bands—four in Grade 1 and four in Grade 2. Scotland’s Inverarary & District Pipe Band and Police Scotland Fife both participated and went on to place in the coveted ‘top six’ at the World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow. ‘We were blown away by the success of last year’s event,’ said J. Scott Jackson, the General Manager of the Virginia Arts Festival and Producer/Director of the Virginia International Tattoo.

‘We had world-class bands and great support from enthusiastic spectators. Most importantly, the bands had a positive experience, starting off their competitive season against strong competition and playing for outstanding judges.’ The 2017 event will be open to Grade 2 and Grade 3 bands from around the world. All participating bands will compete twice: first in a March, Strathspey and Reel event and then in a Medley Selection event. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three bands in each grade:

‘Grade 2: $2,500 (£1,900) first place; $1,000 (£770) second place; $500 (£385) third place  Grade 3: $2,000 (£1,540) first place; $800 (£615) second place; $400 (£310) third place

andrew-carlisle-mug‘The program will also include an Open Drum Fanfare Competition with a single $1,000 (£770) prize. Andrew Carlisle (left), Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon University and longtime member of the current and eleven times Grade One World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland, will reprise his role as the contest’s Artistic Director: ‘Last year’s event proved that we have a great venue and our team could execute the logistics and running of a first-rate national Championship,’ he said.

‘We are now hoping to make the event even bigger and better by opening it up to Grade Three pipe bands. We will again be inviting a team of highly respected international adjudicators.’ Carlisle noted, ‘The competition takes place in downtown Norfolk, a vibrant city center. Scope Plaza is a great location to hold a pipe band competition – not the typical corn field or farm land that pipe bands are accustomed to. As we demonstrated in 2016, we also have the unique 6,000-seat indoor wet weather venue at our disposal if the weather is inclement,’ he said, referring to Scope Arena.’

The VIT American Pipe Band Championship will begin Saturday at noon on Scope Plaza and will conclude with a massed band performance and awards presentation at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public. Here’s a 10 minute video of the 2016 massed band performance and awards presentation:

Grade 2 and Grade 3 bands interested in participating in the 2017 Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship are encouraged to contact Jennifer Hafner at 757-282-2803 or for more information. A limited number of travel grants are available to participating bands.

2017 Virginia International Tattoo Cast Highlights include: AUSTRALIA: Scotch College Adelaide Pipe Band
CANADA: Canadian Forces Base Trenton 8 Wing Pipes and Drums
FRANCE: La Musique de l’air, Band of the French Air Force
NEW ZEALAND: Christchurch City Pipe Band
SINGAPORE: Singapore Armed Forces Band
UNITED KINGDOM: Imps Motorcycle Display Team, The Queen’s Colour Squadron,
Pipes and Drums, 1st Battalion Scots Guards
U.S. Air Force Heritage of America Band, U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps,
U.S. Navy Honor Guard Drill Team, U.S. Marine Corps Band, Quantico, U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Band