Preview of Scottish Schools’ Pipe Band Championship/ USPF Entry Alert & Judges for 2017 Contest

The 5th Annual competition moves to James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh this Sunday (12th March) for the annual competition. There will be over 80 performances with a record 81 bands, 11 quartets and freestyle ensembles in a variety of categories ranging from piping quartets for smaller groups to the top Juvenile bands going head to head for the Grand Prix. Bands from all over Scotland and the north of England will be travelling to Edinburgh.

The first bands are on at 9am and the competition will run through to early evening. This is not an official RSPBA event but considerable support is given by the Association and judges are provided. The event was conceived and is backed by the Scottish Schools Pipes & Drums Trust (

Venue post code for sat nav is EH9 1DD. Be prepared for congestion, road diversions and limited parking in the immediate vicinity of the school. Eighty bands, tutors, parents and supporters will create a large crowd. 

The very best of fortune to the hundreds of musicians taking part. The National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland will play a set at the close of the performances, followed by the prizegiving. More at The various competitions and the bands taking part are as follows:

Juvenile MSR (Six Bands )
Starts 12.40pm/ Finishing 13.30pm
Preston Lodge High School, Dollar Academy, George Heriot’s School, West Lothian Schools, George Watson’s College, North Lanarkshire Schools 

Novice Juvenile A, MSR (Seven Bands)
Starts 11.40am/ Finishing 12.35pm
George Watson’s College, Dollar Academy, George Heriot’s School, Dunoon Grammar, Stirling Schools, North Lanarkshire Schools, Ross and Cromarty Pipes & Drums

Novice Juvenile B, March Set (21 Bands)
Starts 09.00am/ Finishing 11.30am 
George Heriot’s School, Davidson’s Mains School, George Watson’s College, Govan Schools, Knox Academy, James Gillespie’s School, Preston Lodge High School, Dollar Academy, Stow, Heriot & District Schools, Queen Victoria Schools, Sgoil Loinacleit, Lathallan School, City of Edinburgh Schools, Lochalsh Youth Pipe Band, North Lanarkshire Schools, Inverness Youth, Ullapool High School, Robert Gordon’s College, Tobermory High School, Skye Youth Pipe Band, Stirling and District Schools

‘Junior A’ (12 Bands) – Non RSPBA Bands
Starts 09.00am Hall B/ Ends 10.30am
Fettes College, The Edinburgh Academy, Erskine Stewart’s Melville, Merchiston Castle School, Loretto School, The Glasgow Academy, Glenalmond College, High School of Dundee, Gordonstoun School, Strathallan School, St Columba’s School, Morrison’s Academy

‘Junior B’ (12 Bands) – Non RSPBA Bands
Starts 11.15am/ Ends 12.45pm
Erskine Stewart’s Melville, Fettes College, Ampleforth and Sedbergh Highlanders, The High School of Glasgow, Community School of Auchterarder, Madras College, Strathallan School, Aboyne Academy, North Ayrshire Schools, Isle of Bute Schools, St Leonard’s, Alford Academy

‘Debut A’ – (4 Bands) – Open to RSPBA registered bands with no previous competition experience
Starts 10.35am
Davidson’s Mains Schools, Renfrewshire Schools, Sanquhar Academy, George Watson’s College

‘Debut B’ – (10 Bands) – Open to bands with no previous band tradition or not competed for at least three years
Starts 15.05pm/ Finishing 16.40pm

McLaren High School, Gairloch High School, Morrison’s Academy, Balfron High School, Perth & Kinross Schools, Inverness Youth Pipe Band, Lewis & Harris Youth Pipe Band, Ardvreck School, Loretto ‘Nippers’

Quartets (Piping) (13 bands)
Starts 13.15pm/ Finishing 14.50pm
Kilmarnock Schools, St Andrew’s High School, Bearsden Academy, St Columba’s RC High School, Hutcheson’s Grammar, Glasgow Gaelic School, East Renfrewshire Schools, Musselburgh RC and Yester Primaries, East Dumbartonshire Schools, Boclair Academy, Beath High School, Perth High School

Freestyle (Contemporary music) (13 Bands)
Davidson’s Mains Schools, Erskine Stewart’s Melville, Gordonstoun
James Gillespie’s High School, Gairloch High School, The High School of Glasgow, Knox Academy, Bearsden Academy, Robert Gordon’s College, Sgoil Lionacleit, Strathallan, Lathallan, McLaren High

Mike Rogers of the United States Piping Foundation has been in touch regarding important news and changes to the annual competition: ‘I wanted to share some updates about the 2017 United States Piping Foundation Maclean Macleod Memorial Championships.

‘This year’s competition will be held on June 18, 2017 at the University of Delaware.  Judges for the competitions are as follows: Bill Livingstone (Whitby, Ontario) and Jack Taylor (Aboyne, Scotland) will be judging the professional events; Jimmy Bell, Batesville, AR), and Paula Glendinning (Ashton, MD) will be judging the Amateur events. The entry deadline will be much earlier this year – entries will be due on March 15, 2017. Since we do not currently limit the number of entries, we are taking this step in order to have a better handle on the size of the competition for planning purposes (e.g., the number of rooms and judges, etc.).

‘There will also be a non-refundable entry fee of $50 for Professionals and $35 for Amateurs (total, not per event). This is to help defray the expense of the contest, and also to try to discourage last minute scratches. A new online entry form with a link to PayPal for entry fees has been established to facilitate entry for the competitions. Tune submissions are due with the entry on March 15, but changes can be made up until May 17 (one month before the contest). Details at

Andrew Carlisle, winner of the 2016 USPF Piobaireachd, receives his trophy

The Silver Quaich is presented to the winner of the Professional Piobaireachd by the St. Andrews Society of Philadelphia. The winner receives a silver replica for retention. Each contestant will submit six Piobaireachd, one of which will be selected by the judges. Prize money will be: 1st – $1000; 2nd – $800; 3rd – $600; 4th $400; & 5th – $200.

The Challenge Charger is presented to the winner of the Professional MSR by the St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore. The winner receives a silver replica for retention. Each contestant will submit six competition Marches,  Strathspeys, and Reels. The judges’ selection is played twice over as a continuous set. Prize money will be: 1st – $1000; 2nd – $800; 3rd – $600; 4th $400; & 5th – $200.

The overall winner receives the USPF Silver Buckle, as well as trans-Atlantic airfare from the east coast to Glasgow, Edinburgh, or London, UK, to compete at eligible senior competitions. In the event of a tie, the overall winner is determined with a piobaireachd preference.