Ken Stewart reports…….The annual Northern Ireland Piper of the Year competition took place on Saturday 14th October 2017 in the Adair Arms Hotel in Ballymena.
This is an invitation only competition and is promoted by the Northern Ireland Piping Society. Competitors are invited to play on merit and must have competed in both MSR and Piobaireachd competitions in Ireland during the current year.
The Piobaireachd event took place in the afternoon and each competitor was asked to play a tune of their own choice.
In the evening each player has to submit three competition Marches, Strathspeys and Reels in addition to one Hornpipe and Jig. This is an open competition so both Senior and Junior pipers compete against each other for the overall award of Piper of the Year. The only concession for junior players is that they have to submit only two MSRs. The Piper of the Year is Kris Coyle who is pictured above.
Writing on Facebook Kris said: ‘I am absolutely delighted to be crown NI Piper of the Year. A great event which thankfully was well attended. Congratulations to all the other prize winners, the standard in my opinion was superb yesterday. Lastly a word of thanks to the organisers for what was a very enjoyable day out and for hosting Northern Ireland’s premier solo event.
Runner up for the overall award this year was junior player Ryan Cupples-Menendes. This young man is only 16 years old and made a great impression on both adjudicators with his performances throughout the competition.
The adjudicator for the Piobaireachd competition was Angus MacColl and he was joined by David Caldwell for the MSR and Hornpipe & Jig.
It is expected that the adjudicator provides a short recital at the end of the competition and Angus gave an outstanding display on a beautiful instrument.
Results for the event are as follows:
1st William Rowe, Lament for Hugh
2nd Kris Coyle, Lament for the Viscount of Dundee
3rd John McElmurray, Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute
Hornpipe & Jig:
1st Kris Coyle
2nd Ryan Cupples-Menendes
Best Junior Piper: Ryan Cupples-Menendes