The 32nd annual United States Piping Foundation Amateur and Professional Piping Championships, held in memory of founder Maclean Macleod on 16 Jun 2018, in the Amy DuPont Music Building at the University of Delaware, Newark, DE. Pictured above are Professional Piobaireachd Champion Derek Midgley Overall Champion Andrew Carlisle.
In the Amateur events there were 10 pipers from throughout North America, and 15 in the Professional events. The adjudicators for the Amateur Competitions were Joyce McIntosh, Anderson, SC; and Albert McMullin, Sarasota, FL. Adjudicators for the Professional Piobaireachd were: William Livingstone, Whitby, Ontario; and Rob Wallace, Glasgow, Scotland. Adjudicators for the Professional MSR were: Michael Green, Bethesda, MD; and Michael Grey, Dundas, Ontario. Adjudicator for the Breton event was Dr. Alex Bartholomew, New York, NY.
The organisers are deeply indebted to the University of Delaware and to the gracious sponsors that make this event possible, including:
The Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming
The Dunvegan Foundation
Festival Interceltique Lorient
NHScot Fund (New Hampshire Highland Games)
The St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore
The St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia
The Scottish Games Association of Delaware (Fairhill Games)
Donald MacPherson Silver Quaich Amateur Piobaireachd Competition: Each competitor submitted four tunes of their own choice.
1. Kevin Darmadi, Macleod of Raasay’s Sal.
2. Steven MacDonald, MacDougall’s Gath.
3. Charlie Morris, Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
4. Tyler Destremps, Lament for Capt. MacDougall
5. Filemon Tan, Beloved Scotland
The Seumas MacNeill Silver Quaich Amateur March, Strathspey, and Reel Competition: Each competitor submitted four of each type of tune, and played a set selected by the judges.
1. Filemon Tan
2. Alice Duncan
3. Kevin Darmadi
4. Stephen MacDonald
5. Nels Yehnert
Overall Amateur results: The competitor with the highest point accumulation from the Piobaireachd and MSR competitions receives the USPF Silver Buckle and round trip airfare to Scotland and two weeks tuition at an approved venue in Scotland. The overall winner also received the USPF Silver Buckle. Scholarships were awarded to approved Piping Schools to overall rankings 2 through 5.
Amateur overall (wins air fare to Scotland and two weeks study): Kevin Darmadi
The St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia Silver Quaich Professional Piobaireachd Competition: Each competitor submitted six tunes of their own choice. Prizes: 1st – $1000; 2nd – $800; 3rd – $600; 4th $400; & 5th – $200.
1. Derek Midgley, New Jersey, Battle of Waternish
2. Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh, Lament for the Earl of Antrim
3. Nick Hudson, Houston, War or Peace (Gesto)
4. Palmer Shonk, Pittsburgh, MacFarlane’s Gathering
5. Ursa Beckford, Liberty, Maine, Glengarry’s March
Judges: W Livingstone, R Wallace
The St. Andrew’s Society of Baltimore Silver Charger Professional March, Strathspey, & Reel Competition: Each competitor submitted six of each type of tune, and played a set twice through selected by the judges. Prizes: 1st – $1000; 2nd – $800; 3rd – $600; 4th $400; & 5th – $200.
1. Andrew Carlisle, “Pipe Major George Ross’s Farewell to the Black Watch,” “Susan MacLeod,” “Lt. Col. DJS Murray”
2. Nick Hudson, “John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage,” “Caledonian Society of London,” “Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran”
3. Derek Midgley, “The Argyllshire Gathering,” “Bob of Fettercairn,” “The Smith of Chilliechassie”
4. Ben McClamrock (Washington, DC), “Bonnie Ann,” “Susan MacLeod,” “The Little Cascade”
5. Bobby Durning (Peabody, MA), “Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque,” “Moneymusk,” “The Cockerel in the Creel”
Judges: M Gray, M Green
Of the MSR, adjudicator Mike Grey writes: ‘Both Mike Green and I thought today’s MSR contest of a standard beyond the usual: it was very high. There was an especially wide variety of tunes submitted and, that, alone helped up the entertainment factor – for all listeners. A lively and coordinated approach to tempo proved a real factor in deciding the performances that left a memorable mark (hint: careful and cautious did not win the day). George Ross’ Farewell to the Black Watch is, for me, one of the best 2/4s going. The winner played this Willie Lawrie masterpieces in fine style.’
Overall USPF Professional Results: The competitor with the highest point accumulation from the Piobaireachd & MSR competitions receives the U.S.P.F. Silver Buckle. In addition to the prize monies noted above, the overall winner also receives trans-Atlantic airfare from the East Coast to Glasgow, Edinburgh, or London, UK, to compete at eligible senior competitions.
1. Andrew Carlisle
2. Derek Midgley
3. Nick Hudson
4. Palmer Shonk
5. Ben McClamrock
2. Nick Hudson
3. Ben McClamrock
Ceol mor adjudicator Robert Wallace writes: ‘I had the pleasure of sharing the Professional Piobaireachd bench with Bill Livingstone. We were unanimous in our decision to award the first prize to Derek Midgley. His tune was solid from start to finish with a magnificent bagpipe and clean, accurate technique to the fore.
In second came Andrew Carlisle who played very well too, though I felt his crunluath a shade open and also some line endings and phrase definition overdone.
Nick Hudson bravely played the Gesto setting of War or Peace. Nick had a silky smooth bagpipe and technique to match (only one or two lapses on D). There is not a lot to this tune and it takes a bit of playing to maintain interest. Four times through the ground and you can begin to lose the will to live, but young red beard did what he could to keep the bald head from nodding and was well worth his third prize despite a shockingly abrupt finish.
Palmer Shonk was measured and controlled with MacFarlane’s Gathering as was Ursa Beckford with Glengarry’s March. Unfortunately Ursa was far too aggressive with the lovely climb to high A in the Thumb. Just outside the rankings were Dan Lyden who lost control in part of the Old Men of the Shells, and Bobby Durning who had a good go at Antrim but blighted his tune with rounding off and rushing. Teddy Krogh, from Alaska, shaped up the Young Laird well but needs to get his top had fingerwork sorted; Mary Wallace did the same with the Marquis of Argyll but her pipe was not up to clan standard.
Disappointing were two very skilled pipers, Ben McClamrock, who seemed disinterested in trying to get any expression into Ronald MacDonald of Morar, and Andrew Donlan who crashed through MacLeod’s Salute as if pursued by a rabid MacDonald dog. Andrew Walker‘s pipe was off from the start and Brad Davidson‘s MacDougall’s Gathering from halfway through. Sean Regan had a good pipe but needs to completely rethink his approach to the Fingerlock. Check out Roddy Ross Sean. Alastair Murray had a good go at Glengarry’s March but embari caused problems in the Thumb and the pipe drifted.
All five prize winners could have taken prizes at top events in Scotland and this says much for the standard of piobaireachd playing one now finds in the US. As Bill said, 20 years ago all they had was Mike Cusack; now, thanks to the efforts of teachers, principally Jimmy McIntosh, there its a whole raft of well taught professional bagpipers with an excellent understanding of what this music is all about and what it takes to succeed at the top level.
These pipers need a platform on which to demonstrate their skills and it is thanks to Mac MacLeod and his successors at the USPF that they have one. Long may this competition continue and North American pipers owe Arthur McAra, Peter Kent, Mike Rogers and Mike Green and their generous sponsors their wholehearted support and respect.