Piobaireachd Composing Competition Winners Announced

Vincent Janoski of New Jersey, USA, is the winner of the 2018 piobaireachd composing competition promoted by the Shasta Piping Society of California and the Burley Bagpipe Company. Vincent (pictured above) wins £500 ($750).

His tune, Heart of My Fathers, was the unanimous choice of the judges Robert Wallace (Scotland – chair), William Livingstone (Canada) and Chris Terry (South Africa).

In second place came Karen Warren from Cumnock in Ayrshire with her tune, Lament for the Lowland Clearances. Karen receives £250 ($375). Third placed was Kevin McLean, Maple Ridge, British Columbia, with his composition, Lament for Andrew Bonar. Kevin receives £100 ($150US).



All tunes were submitted to the judges under anonymous cover. Each had a simple number to identify it – no tune names, no composer’s names. The judges were given four weeks to independently analyse and study the sound file and sheet music before being asked to submit their preferences to the promoter. A spokesman for the Society said: ‘There were some very interesting composition. I can’t thank the judge’s enough for giving of their time freely.  It’s yeoman’s work without much gain save some very excited pipers.’

Mr Wallace said: ‘The judges were struck by the integrity and depth of the winning tune. Credit is due to  the Shasta Piping Society for sponsoring the composition of new music, particularly ceol mor.’

Listen to Heart of My Fathers played by the composer on the electronic bagpipe:

And here is the sheet music:

Copyright remains with the composer, though it is written in to the rules of the competition that successful pieces be made public. Vincent Janowski bio: Vincent has been an active piper in the eastern U.S. region for many years. He is a former publisher/editor of The Voice, the magazine of the Eastern U.S. Pipe Band Association. He has played with the Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band out of Albany, NY, and the Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band in Boston, MA.

Vincent has been a past invitee to the G.M. Bell Amateur competitions at the Metro Cup and have successfully competed in solo competitions on the eastern seaboard for many years. Currently, he is a member of the St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band of Kearny, NJ, and can also be seen at the games on the Highland Dancing platform piping for the Highland Dancing competitions.



Vincent’s musical efforts can be explored further on his blog and website Pipehacker.com, where he posts music, podcasts, piping tips, projects, and other writings about Highland bagpipes. He has a popular digital series ‘Small Tunes’ where he has explored and set obscure piobaireachd from the Campbell Canntaireachd manuscripts and published new arrangements of vintage and forgotten tunes. He has also recently published ‘Whisky Tunes’ a book and website of arrangements of tunes and tales themed around scotch whisky. He has taught classes and also provides writing and content for Dojo University, an online bagpipe school.’



Karen Warren’s second placed tune played on the practice chanter:

Of her tune Karen says: ‘The Highland Clearances are better known but happened later and over a shorter time span than the same process in the Lowlands.  Often lost under the term ‘Scottish Agricultural Revolution’, this period between 1760 and 1830 is seen by historians as the destruction of Lowland culture and the disappearance of cottars and their way of life from southern Scotland.  During this 70-year period, tens of thousands of lowland Scots were forced out of their homes and had to move to the industrial centres of Glasgow, Edinburgh and northern England or to Canada if they could afford passage.’

Runner-up composer Karen Warren

The third placed tune, Lament for Andrew Bonar, played by the composer on the bagpipe:

Kevin McLean is from Maple Ridge, British Columbia and has played the pipes with the SFU Pipe Band since 2011 and with RMM Pipe Band for a number of years before that. Kevin also regularly competes in the BC Pipers’ Association’s Open category. In 2015 he won the Nicol-Brown Chalice and also won the piobaireachd at the George Sherriff contest the same year. In 2017, Kevin founded GracenoteApparel.com which specializes in graphic T-shirts and other clothing for pipers and drummers. Outside of piping, Kevin is the creative coordinator for a craft brewery in Pitt Meadows, BC.

Third placed Kevin McLean

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