A handsome looking set of silver and ivory pipes is on offer today from the PP Online Ads page. The pipes have been dated as 1920/1930 and are described as in good playing condition. They have been identified as Hendersons, a set similar to a bagpipe owned by J B Robertson dated 1926. Click here for more info.
Following Saturday’s All-Ireland and contest in Canada MacStig has sent this…..
Grade 2 Observations from the Weekend and Look Ahead
In both County Wexford, Ireland and in Kincardine, Canada, the Grade 1 contests created most of the headlines. It was a busy weekend for a number of contenders in preparation for the World Championships in mid August.
In Grade 2 however, there were some straws in the wind that might just gather and point to further notes in the form book before the next big opportunity to compare and contrast (Maxville, Canada and Dumbarton, Scotland) where the combination of both lists will have the vast bulk of the likely competitors in what will be a two heat Medley Qualifier and drawn March Strathspey & Reel at the Green. With the Draw for the World Championship due this week (Wednesday 11th) all will be revealed.
Before all that though, in New Ross, the Closkelt crew took a full house of firsts across the board, the significance being the drumming judge placing Closket wolf pack drum corps ahead of locals New Ross, who had been ahead of them in Paisley and Belfast winning the best drum corps in both. Ravara were down the drumming order but did enough for overall second. Interestingly there seemed to be complete agreement by the piping adjudicators on the day.
The Closkelt drumming score will have been noted by the Mac Cals for sure and those two will be closest rivals from the Scottish/Irish constituents on the list – so the final dress rehearsal shake out at Dumbarton will be very interesting indeed. But hold that thought – I forecast the top of the pile will more than likely be challenged from Florida or Texas.
Over in Kincardine, Ontario, a picturesque town on the edge of Lake Huron, the Grade 2 Medley was won by 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, with Peel Police second. Some Scottish and Irish drumming fan readers will remember Alex Wright as a talented Juvenile solo player some years ago and his Great Lakes corps took the drumming.
All North American eyes, and those considering the wider G2 prospects now go to Maxville, Ontario, for the big set piece weekend contests on 2nd and 3rd of August. Grade 2 watchers will see City of Dunedin feature in what is a double-header of Medley and then March, Strathspey & Reel within an hour of each other, and as close to a dry run for the Worlds as you’ll get. Worcester Kiltie also appear on the Maxville list, fresh from making the prize list at the UK Championship in Belfast. It’s a seven band contest with those two and Peel, Hamilton Police, College of Piping, MacMillan and 400 Tactical. The name missing, but a big name for Glasgow, is St. Thomas Alumni, gearing up and bouncing back after the devastating flooding in Houston last Autumn.
So here is the way I see it. Dunedin will set out its stall at Maxville, before flying shortly thereafter to Glasgow and the big attempt to take the biggest prize. Any G2 Worlds’ winner will inevitably be talked about as a promotion candidate, setting aside the growing gulf between ‘Grade 1 A and Grade 1 B’. Similarly, St Thomas will arrive in Glasgow and be going for the big one too. Worcester will be on the fringes of the mix perhaps, but ‘locals’ Mac Cal, and Closkelt will be in there too. It will all be about a concentrated effort amounting to around 11 minutes (if making the final) and a whole season balances on that blink of an eye in relative terms. You might think there is the glory and madness of pipe band competition in sharp focus. But that Worlds medal will be yours forever.
We might not get a look at all of these bands going head to head at North Berwick, although the contest at Perth might present the opportunity for others, and will also see a bumper entry. Weather permitting. What a weekend that will be, and players should be prepared for the adjudicators panelists being out in force at all, some not judging, simply listening, and getting attuned to the bands.
As mentioned, the draw for the World Championship will be held later this week and all will be revealed. We might even be able to work out which contests might be allocated to the various arenas, like last year. It might be the turn of the top Juveniles to go to Arena 1, but a late afternoon Grade 2 final in the main bowl would be tremendous, wouldn’t it. Over and Out.