Dunedin Games, Florida, and Stuart Liddell Recital

Our North American Correspondent reports a St Thomas Alumni win in  Grade 2 at this north Florida games. The picture up top shows adjudicator Ken Eller scoring Dunedin Middle School…

In a sun drenched arena, 17 bands took part in the afternoon competition, with over 120 solo performers going through their paces in the morning session. A crowd of around 15,000, with a strong Texan contingent,  attended a full day of competition, including traditional heavy events in an adjoining arena. 

Terry Lee, Vancouver, judging the Hornpipe & Jig

In the first larger competition setting of the US season, the 51st Annual Dunedin Highland Games, a EUSPBA sanctioned event, saw a three-way pull for the top grade of the day, with hometown City of Dunedin, St Thomas Alumni (Texas) and Atlanta.

With both St Thomas and Dunedin planning on being in Glasgow for the Worlds this August, it was the only chance that they would have to compete against each other before then. They will be heading to ‘the Green’ knowing that the newly promoted PSNI, Buchan Peterson and Johnstone are up in Grade 1 but that they will still have to face excellent bands such as Lomond & Clyde and Glasgow Skye at the top of Grade 2.

St Thomas took the Medley and Dunedin the March, Strathspey and Reel with the former winning the grade. In the solo competitions Nick Hudson of St Thomas took first in all categories, whilst in snare drumming, Zach Goodrich took the Professional title on MSR preference from Eric MacNeill.

In the other events, there were good showings from the Dunedin Schools Pipe Bands (three in all), all directed by Iain Donaldson the programme director in the city and P/M of the city’s ‘big’ band. The whole day’s organisation was excellent and required a huge effort from the judges who were on solos from 8.30am and bands until 4.30pm.

On the solo bench was Stuart Liddell, who had thrilled a full house on the Friday afternoon with his electric solo playing (see below). John Fisher covered drumming, with Dan Cole, Terry Lee and Andrew Lee also on piping, along with others on the minor contests. Steve McClure was immaculate as ever covering the tenor and bass competitions and Drum Majors.

On their way to victory….St Thomas in the arena
Grade 2 result:
1. St Thomas Alumni
2. City of Dunedin
3. Atlanta
Professional Piper of the Day: Nick Hudson
Professional Drummer of the Day: Zach Goodrich

In other events, there were notable performances from Chris Knife and Ben Peterson in Grade 1 solo piping, sharing honours in the various categories, and from the up-and-coming Steven MacDonald, a student at the Carnegie Mellon programme under Andrew Carlisle. In tenor drumming, flying in from Toronto, Kyle Heaney a former FMM man, took first in the pro competition under his new St Thomas Alumni banner.

Full Results:

Grade 2 bands:

1st St Thomas Alumni
2nd City of Dunedin
3rd Atlanta

MSR (unfortunately announced incorrectly on the field)
1st City of Dunedin
2nd St Thomas Alumni
3rd Atlanta

1st St Thomas Alumni
2nd City of Dunedin
3rd Atlanta
Best Drum corps: St Thomas Alumni

Grade 3 bands:
1st Dunedin High School
Best Drum Corps: Dunedin High School

Grade 4 bands:
1st Atlanta
2nd City of Dunedin
3rd North Georgia
Best Drum corps: City of Dunedin

Grade 5 bands:
1st North Texas Caledonia
2nd City of Dunedin
3rd Dunedin Middle School
Best Drum corps: City of Dunedin

Professional Piper of the Day: Nick Hudson
Professional Drummer of the day: Zach Goodrick

Grade 1 Piper of the day: Chris Knife
Grade 1 Drummer of the day: Cameron McCalldsf

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Stuart Liddell Recital – Dunedin, Florida – Part of the Dunedin Highland Arts Activities and Highland Games

Introduced by City of Dunedin Pipe Major Iain Donaldson as the piping equivalent of Michael Jordan in basketball, a warmly disposed full house (on Friday afternoon at 3pm local time), greeted Stuart Liddell for a recital on the eve of the Games. 

With several bands in town ahead of the contest on the Saturday, many pipers, including those from the Dunedin band’s extensive school programme (and a few enlightened drummers), took advantage of the opportunity to hear and watch one of the best in the business, someone who is at the top of his game. 

Stuart opened with two 6/8s, Iain Campbell and the Highland Brigade Depot written by his grandfather P/M Ronnie MacCallum. The rest of the programme was wide, varied and tonally pinpoint. The slow air Fair Maid of Barra followed and the hornpipe Crossing the Minch was a firm favourite and had the feet tapping as did Pipe Major George Allan, a tune inspired by Glenn Miller. 

A classic MSR of  Clan MacColl, Shepherd’s Crook and the Sheepwife and Mrs McPherson of Inveran rattled along, and a jig set about birds (spelled ‘BURDS!’) followed: Seagull, Hen’s March, the Duck and Geese in the Bog, with Glasgow City Police Pipers thrown in – the latter unrelated to the theme of course. 

Stuart Liddell wows the audience at Dunedin

Two traditional tunes arranged by Alen Tully,  Stuart’s good friend and the P/M of SLOT, then followed:  Highland Wedding and Cameronian Rant with intense, clever use of gracenotes in the Rant particularly. Two monster tunes in this arrangement and warmly received. Slow airs, including the locally revered and respected Amazing Grace, some 3/4s and a very nice touch for Adam Quinn, in the audience and the composer of Blue Cloud, to hear his tune, with the Mason’s Apron closing the half. 

Then into the more and less traditional tunes and massive crowd pleasers including AC/DC, the famous Liddell ‘naughty notes’ and some blitz finger gymnastics. The small City of Dunedin, Florida, witnessed something special. Wool kilt and waistcoat (in the US called a ‘vest’) in 30 degree heat presents a certain challenge, so hats (and jackets) off to Stuart. Job done, the Inveraray & District pipe major left the platform to rousing cheers and applause and a well-deserved standing ovation.

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3 thoughts on “Dunedin Games, Florida, and Stuart Liddell Recital

  1. This article is factually incorrect. St Thomas alumni won the medley, and city of Dunedin won the msr. St Thomas won the overall. Also zach Goodrich won the professional drumming splitting with Eric MacNeill on MSR preference.

  2. Some of the results in this article are incorrect.

    1) St. Thomas Alumni did win overall, but didn’t win both contests. STA won the Medley contest and Dunedin won the MSR.

    2) Eric MacNeill didn’t sweep the professional snare solos. Zach Goodrick won the MSR.

    1. Apologies for these errors. Corrections have been made and congratulations to all prizewinners on what seems to have been a great day in Florida.RW.

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