Americans Claim US Junior Solo Piping and Drumming Titles 

George Balderose reportsThe Eleventh Annual Balmoral Classic US Junior Solo Junior Bagpiping and Solo Snare Drumming Championships were won by piper Joseph Horwath of Saginaw, Michigan, and drummer Matthew Darmadi of Houston, Texas. Fifteen pipers from six states plus Ontario and Scotland, and three drummers from Massachusetts, Ohio, and Texas competed in the double event contest.

The above picture shows, left to right: Liam MacDonald, Piobaireachd winner, Joseph Horvath, Overall Winner, and Callum Younger, MSR Winner.

The competition is produced by the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming and was held in the McGonigle Theatre, Central Catholic High School, in the university district of Pittsburgh. Arthur McAra was the emcee. Piping judges were Jack Taylor (Scotland), Amy Garson (Canada), John Bottomley (USA). Drumming judges were Gordon Bell and Jon Quigg of the USA.

Liam Macdonald of Wellesley, Ontario won the Piobaireachd contest and a set of DN2E bagpipes donated by David Naill bagpipes.  Callum Younger of Latham, New York won the MSR contest and a set of Duncan MacRae bagpipes donated by McCallum Bagpipes. The Overall winner Joseph Horwath placed second in the Piobaireachd contest, and fourth in the MSR, was the sole piper to place in both contests, and had the highest overall points to win the Overall Winner Trophy.

Joseph Horwath won the Ralph and Patricia Murray Memorial Trophy for the Overall Winner. Liam Macdonald captured the Balmoral Trophy for his Piobaireachd first. Callum Younger took home the E.W. Littlefield Jr trophy for his MSR win.

PIPING RESULTS: Piobaireachd
1. Liam Macdonald Hector MacLean’s Warning
2. Joseph Horwath Corrienessan’s Salute
3. Colin Johnstone MacFarlanes Gathering
4. Tyler Destremps  Melbank’s Salute
5. Colin Tait Hiharin Dro O Dro



PIPING RESULTS: March, Strathspey, Reel
1. Callum Younger David Ross of  Rosehall, The Caledonian Society of London, Willie Murray’s Reel
2. Drew Mackay Donald MacLellan of Rothesay, Mrs. Donald Macpherson, John MacInnes
3. Robert Dunn Parker’s Welcome to Perthshire, Stac Polly, Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree
4. Joseph Horwath Leaving Lunga, Cabar Feidh, Tom Kettles
5. Gemma Briggs Alan Dodd’s Farewell to Scotland, The Doune of Invernochty, The Blackberry Bush

PIPING RESULTS: Overall
1. Joseph Horwath
2. Liam Macdonald
3. Callum Younger
4. Drew Mackay
5. Colin Johnstone

Prizes for 2nd to 5th place pipers included a blackwood chanter donated by MacLellan Bagpipes, a set of kitchen pipes donated by Scotts Highland Services, a Fox Fur Sporran donated by Celtic Croft, and additional prizes donated by Duncan’s Highland Supply, Jim McGillivray, St. Kilda USA,  and the Balmoral School.

Matthew Darmadi of Houston, Texas, was the Overall Winner in the Drumming contest, scoring first in the MSR, and second in the Hornpipe/Jig contests. He took home a Premier HTS800 Premier Snare Drum donated by Henderson Imports of Traverse City, Michigan, as well as the David Peet Memorial Trophy, and the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh Trophy.  Isabella Jackson of Parma, Ohio, won the Hornpipe/Jig contest and the Pittsburgh Firefighters Memorial Trophy, and a fox fur sporran donated by The Celtic Croft.

Drumming winner Matthew Darmadi

DRUMMING RESULTS: March, Strathspey, and Reel
1. Matthew Darmadi Duncan MacInnes, Maggie Cameron, Lt. Col. D.J.S. Murray
2. Ian Bielski PM Thomas McAllister, Maggie Cameron, Loch Carron
3. Isabella Jackson Donald Cameron, Bogan Lochan, Pretty Marion

DRUMMING RESULTS: Hornpipe and Jig
1. Isabella Jackson Uphold the Right, The Curlew
2. Matthew Darmadi Salute to the MacLawsontyres, Bronni’s Blue Brozzi
3. Ian Bielski Crossing the Minch, Alan MacPherson of Mosspark

DRUMMING RESULTS: Overall
1. Matthew Darmadi
2. Isabella Jackson
3. Ian Bielski

Additionally, Henderson donated a pair of Andante snare drum sticks to each drumming competitor.

PIPING CONTESTANTS:  Gemma Briggs, Clearwater, Florida, Alex Burlew, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Evan Burlew, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Kevin Darmadi, Houston, Texas, Tyler Destremps, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Robert Dunn, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ana Fairbanks-Mahnke, Lakewood, Colorado, Joseph Horwath, Saginaw, Michigan, Colin Johnstone, Aurora, Ontario, Liam Macdonald, Wellesley, Ontario, Steven MacDonald, Dundee, Scotland, Drew Mackay, Kitchener, Ontario, Calum MacNeil, Dearborn, Michigan, Colin Tait, Milford, Michigan, Callum Younger, Latham, New York.

DRUMMING CONTESTANTS: Ian Bielski, Middleboro, Massachusetts, Matthew Darmadi, Houston, Texas, Isabella Jackson, Parma, Ohio

PIPERS FOR THE DRUMMERS: Meaghan Bielski for Ian Bielski, Michael Crawley for Isabella Jackson , Kevin Darmadi for Matthew Darmadi

Steven MacDonald was the winner of the Balmoral Classic Inaugural Novice Snare Drum Contest, from a field of seven drummers. The top four contestants received medals.   Henderson Imports of Traverse City, Michigan donated an Innovative Red Gum Rubber Practice pad with Black Rim and a pair of Andante snare drum sticks for the winner of the Novice Snare Drum Contest.

NOVICE SNARE DRUM RESULTS:
1. Steven MacDonald
2. Matthew Fuhrman
3. Coby Rangel
4. Becky Jesurum
5. Liam Conway
6. Jett Vaultz
7. Elyce Milligan

The weekend began on Friday evening with a Gathering / Reception for the out-of-town contestants, supporters of the Balmoral Classic, and the public, which featured music by Melinda Crawford (Scottish Fiddle) and Richard Hughes (Irish flute & vocals w/guitar), and performances by the Pittsburgh Scottish Country Dancers. Piping judges John Bottomley, Amy Garson, and Jack Taylor also entertained with solo musical selections.

The event was made possible by grants from the Sage Foundation, the Laurel Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, an Anonymous Foundation, The Pittsburgh Firefighters Memorial Pipe Band, The Pittsburgh Police Emeralds Society Pipe Band, the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh, and individual donations.  The Saturday events featured separate silent auctions and a 50/50 raffle.

Silent Auction donors included: Birdsfoot Golf Club, Caliban Bookstore, Calliope: the Pittsburgh Folk Arts Society, The Irish Design Center, Scottish Gourmet USA, Kathleen Cleaver, Joan Green, Max’s Allegheny Tavern, Pittsburgh Concert Chorale, Mullaney’s Harp and Fiddle, the Priory Inn, The Scottish Banner, The Piping Times, Temple Records,  Pittsburgh Opera, Jill Pifferetti, and Larry VanDyke. The piping contestants’ welcome bags included issues of Piping Today, the Scottish Banner, The Balmoral Collection of Hymns Arranged for the Highland Bagpipe, and brochures from Celtic Croft and Scottish Gourmet. The drumming contestants’ welcome bags included Andante snare drum sticks, and New York’s Bravest CD donated by Sandy St. James Bagpipe & Kilt Distributor.

After the Saturday contest, there was an evening  award ceremony followed by a fabulous concert with Alasdair Fraser (Scottish fiddle) and Natalie Haas (cello) to an audience of approximately 350 that also featured dancers from the Pittsburgh Celtic Spirit School of Highland Dance and Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance.


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