New Band Season Almost Upon Us/ More on Piobaireachd Contest Prizewinners

Well folks the long wait is nearly over….. this weekend sees the start of the 2018 band season with four UK pipe band contests and most Grade 1 bands having a run in preparation for the British Championships at Paisley (May 19).

On Sunday (May 13), at Gourock, there is a very healthy entry in this grade. Here is the draw courtesy the RSPBA:
Grade 1 (starting 3.50pm approx.)
1 Scottish Power
2 Glasgow Police
3 Johnstone (pictured above)
4 Shotts
5 Inveraray
6 Glasgow Skye
7 Fife Police

Current World Champions Inveraray have undergone several personnel changes in their pipe corps with noted individuals who were with them at Glasgow Green last summer no longer featuring. However all the reports from the band’s concert last weekend say that they are sounding and playing as well as ever and clearly they will be the bookies’ favourites at Gourock.  That said, they can expect a robust challenge from other bands on the above list.

Over at Dunbar on the east coast the previous day (May 12) there is a good entry in Grade 2:
1 Preston Lodge High School
2 Wallacestone
3 Royal Burgh of Stirling
4 Royal Burgh of Annan
5 George Heriot’s
6 Scottish Fire and Rescue
7 The Highlanders (4 Scots)
8 Coalburn I.O.R
9 Scottish Borders
10 Boghall
11 Stockbridge
12 George Watson’s

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Dunbar Grade 1 starts at 3.45pm and features
1 Royal Burgh of Stirling
2 Scottish Fire and Rescue Services
3 Denny and Dunipace Gleneagles

Dollar Academy celebrate winning the 2017 World Juvenile title. The band plays in G2 at Dundee City

Grade 2 at the Dundee City contest (Sun., May 13) starts at 3pm with G1 following at 4pm approx. G2 draw:
1 MacKenzie Caledonian
2 City Of Discovery
3 Dollar Academy Juvenile
4 Bowhill
5 Carnoustie & District

1 Lomond & Clyde
2 MacKenzie Caledonian
3 City Of Discovery

In Northern Ireland, five bands have entered for the Ards and North Down Championship at Bangor this Saturday (May 12). They are, in playing order, Field Marshal Montgomery, Closkelt (playing up from G2), Vale of Atholl, St Laurence O’Toole,  and PSNI. This contest starts at 3.15pm and looks like a straight fight between FM and SLoT. Judges are: John Wilson, Harry Stevenson (piping), Alan Ronaldson (ensemble), and Gordon Parkes (drumming).

• Stay tuned to Piping Press for MacStig’s exclusive analysis of the Grade 2 contest at the forthcoming British Championships. Get results and full draws from Northern Ireland here. Scottish results and draws for all grades here

Runner-up composer Karen Warren

More on Karen Warren who placed second in the Shasta/ Burley Bagpipes composing contest with her tune, Lament for the Lowland Clearances.

Karen is from Cumnock, Ayrshire, and has an honours degree in Scottish Music (Piping) from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.  She is a multi-instrumentalist playing Highland, border and small pipes, whistles, clarinet, accordion, guitar, and snare and tenor drums.

Straight from university graduation, Karen moved to the Sultanate of Oman to teach at the Royal Air Force, and as a young female teacher in the Middle East was successful in  teaching in a difficult culture and in a foreign language. (Karen can speak, read and write Arabic).  She and her husband wrote 36 books to guide students through the PDQB/SCQF exam syllabus, and she is an approved assessor for the National Piping Centre.

She is a previous winner of the Neil Munro Society Composition Competition in which she composed both the winning piobaireachd and 6/8 march. Karen is releasing a set of books this summer named ‘The South West Scotland Collection’, which contains over 300 tunes from the 1500s to modern compositions.

Third placed Kevin McLean

Third placed Kevin McLean said he was ‘surprised and honoured’ to have made the top three in the contest with his tune, Lament for Andrew Bonar. Kevin is from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, and has played the pipes with the SFU since 2011 and with RMM Pipe Band for a number of years before that. Kevin also regularly competes on the BC Pipers’ Association’s Open category. In 2015 he won the Nicol-Brown Chalice and also won the Piobaireachd at the George Sherriff in the same year. In 2017, Kevin founded 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.

• Read the original story announcing the winners and listen to their tunes here.

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