Twelve bands have made it through to tomorrow’s final in the World Pipe Band Championships Grade 1 competition. After a full day of playing sometimes in rain and always with a cold wind, two sets of four judges settled on the following names. They are:
St Laurence O’Toole
Vale of Atholl
Dowco Triumph Street
This is the order in which they will compete tomorrow. Others who played but who didn’t make it through: Canterbury Caledonia NZ, NZ Police, Manawatu, PSNI, Buchan Peterson, Glasgow Skye, Glasgow Police, Denny & Dunipace, Lomond & Clyde, Bagad Cap Caval. These bands all receive free entry tickets for Saturday.
Tomorrow’s contest begins at 10.00am.
The Editor writes: It was a particularly chilly, dreich day at Glasgow Green which was almost guaranteed given the beautiful weather we enjoyed during May, June and July. It had an effect on the bands no question with many of them suffering tonally – flat, flat, flat. Others hiked the pitch to compensate and lost the top hand in the process. Strangely, the fingering seemed unaffected – testament to the hard work that has obviously gone into preparing for the big day.
I heard all of the performances in the Grade 1 arena except Johnstone, the first band on. This meant I heard 10 MSRs and eleven Medleys. Hearing only 50% of each discipline, and the fact that the bands must play again tomorrow, precludes my giving any order of preference. I will say that to me, stone wall certainties to go through were, Field Marshal Montgomery, SLOT, Scottish Power, Inveraray, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Shotts, Fife Police, Boghall and SFU. The other three places could have gone to any of Lomond & Clyde, Dowco, Vale of Atholl, PSNI, Canterbury Caledonia. As it was Johnstone, the Vale and Dowco got the shout and well done to them.
The judges in Arena 1 deserve praise for maintaining the same position for each band (more or less), thus giving each an equal hearing. It was bit like Orion’s bow, piping judge top and bottom, ensemble a little to the west of them (depending on how you face), and the drumming judge behind the drummers. If we must persist with the pipe band presentation from the 1930s, the circle, then perhaps this is the best and fairest way adjudicators should form up.
A few other comments: Inveraray were the only band to play in capes – a wise move given the cold I felt. Bagad Cap Caval did very well in their MSR, just a bit more understanding of the phrasing idioms and they could well have qualified. The 78th Frasers showed that Grade 1 piping is not dead in Ontario. This band can play, have no doubt about that. Their complex opening medley tune and its execution blew me away. The band is pictured top.
Manawatu disappointed. The poorest I have heard them at the Worlds. They just didn’t have the sound. Their compatriots Canterbury Caledonia played very smoothly I thought, and I was surprised they didn’t make it through. Ditto Lomond & Clyde. This is a G1 band make no mistake. Glasgow Police continue to worry me; the pipe major not getting away in the MSR didn’t help. Former P/M Ross Walker must have been delighted to hear the high end performance of his old band Boghall. With a higher pitch tomorrow Dowco could do even better.
The big beasts were outstanding. You know who I am talking about. Get out tomorrow to hear the fight to the death. If today was anything to go by the standard will be stratospheric. In closing, a word for the crowd today. RSPBA Chairman John Hughes reckoned it at about 6,000. I think it was higher than that, perhaps closer to 10,000. Whatever, well done to all those who got out there and showed their support for what the late Tommy Millar called the greatest sound in the world.