Balmoral Classic Piping & Drumming Results

George Balderose reports….Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – November 16-18, 2018:

The Twelfth Annual Balmoral Classic produced by the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming began with major changes in the venue and programming.

For many years all of the weekend events occurred at Central Catholic High School’s facilities. This year the Classic moved to three separate venues in or around the nearby Pitt campus.

The weekend began on Friday evening with a special contra dance with bagpipe music provided by Balmoral Classic judges.

A book, entitled The Balmoral Guide to playing the Bagpipes for Community Dances, was released at the event. Prior to the dance Balmoral judges Matt MacIssac and Dr. Angus MacDonald gave 20 minute recitals in the same hall, the St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral.

The US Junior Solo Junior Bagpiping and Solo Snare Drumming Championship contests on Saturday were held in nearby Bellefield Hall Auditorium of the University of Pittsburgh.

Pipers were required to submit two MSR medleys (March Strathspey, & Reel) and two Piobaireachd, one of each to be selected by the judges for the contest.

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Drummers were required to submit one MSR medley and one Hornpipe and Jig medley. Thirteen pipers from seven states plus Ontario and Scotland, and three drummers from New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania competed in the double event contests.

The Overall piping winner of piping contest was Charlie Morris of Agoura Hills, California. Charlie took first place in both contests, the March, Strathpey, Reel, and the Piobaireachd events and therefore had the highest overall points to win the Ralph and Patricia Murray trophy for the Overall Winner and a set of blackwood MacRae Bagpipes donated by MacCallum Bagpipes.

Taught by Seamus Coyne, Charlie demonstrated fine technique and expression, and plays from the left shoulder as most pipers, but with his left hand on the lower notes and the right hand on the upper ones.

Tyler Destremps, with a 2nd in Piobaireachd, won the presentation set of aged imitation ivory blackwood bagpipes, donated by David Naill Bagpipes.

Tyler received the David Naill set because of a Balmoral Classic rule that says should the same contestant win both events, the set assigned to the winner of the Piobaireachd event set goes to the 2nd place contestant in that contest.

Tyler is a student at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the CMU pipe band.

1. Charlie Morris The Old Men of the Shells (pictured top)
2. Tyler Destremps  Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks
3. Kayleigh Johnstone  Lament for the Little Supper
4. Kate Runciman  Lament for Captain MacDougall
5. Sebastian Benedetto  The Bicker

1. Charlie Morris  Craig-n-Darroch, Susan MacLeod, The Grey Bob
2. Duncan Winters  The Conundrum, John Roy Stewart, Alick C. MacGregor

3. Elizabeth Knox  Mrs. John MacColl, MacBeth’s Strathspey, Kalabakan
4. Steven MacDonald  Colin Thomson,Islay Ball,The Sheepwife
5. Tyler Destremps  Inveran, Loch Loskin, Amish Light

1. Charlie Morris
2. Tyler Destremps
3. Duncan Winters
4. Kayleigh Johnstone
5. Elizabeth Knox
The 2nd to 5th place Overall Winners receive tuition for one week at any of the 2019 Balmoral School summer sessions. PIPING CONTESTANTS:
Sebastian Benedetto, Cape Neddick, Maine
Tyler Destremps, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Robert Dunn, Montville, New Jersey
Kayleigh Johnstone, Aurora, Ontario
Alexandra Knox, Woodbine, Maryland
Elizabeth Knox, Woodbine, Maryland
Steven MacDonald, Dundee, Scotland
Calum MacNeil, Dearborn, Michigan
Charlie Morris, Agoura Hills, California
Kate Runciman, Guelph, Ontario
Jacob Shelton, Goldon, Colorado
Colin Swett, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Duncan Winters, Grand Junction, Colorado
Drumming winner Shane Stapleton with his trophies and prizes


1. Shane Stapleton, Conundrum, Maggie Cameron, MacAllister’s Dirk
2. Nicholas Moore, Lord Alexander Kennedy, Caledonian Society of London, Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran
3. Connor Williams, The Clan MacRae Society, Maggie Cameron, Thompson’s Dirk
1. Shane Stapleton, Scots Air, Donald Cameron’s Powderhorn
2. Connor Williams, NS Nightcrawler, The  Curlew
3. Nicholas Moore, Rhonda Blair, Morning Blossom

1. Shane Stapleton
2. Nicholas Moore
3. Connor Williams
The Overall winner of the snare drumming contest was Shane Stapleton of Deer Park, New York. Shane scored first in the MSR, and first in the Hornpipe/Jig contests.
He was awarded the Henry Matthews Scholarship for two weeks at the 2018 Balmoral Summer session of his choice, a Premier HTS800 Premier Snare Drum donated by Henderson Imports of Traverse City, Michigan, the David Peet Memorial Trophy for the Overall Winner, and the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh Trophy for his first in the MSR.
Prizes for the 2nd and 3rd place overall winners include tuition for one week at any of the 2019 Balmoral summer sessions, and other prizes such as a dress sporran donated by the Piper’s Hut, and a Celtic Knot Highland Dress Accessory kit donated by Duncan’s Highland Supply.

Nicholas Moore, Medina, Ohio
Shane Stapleton, Deer Park, New York
Connor Williams, Sharpsville, Pennsylvania

Andrew Carlisle and Kolya Sier for Nicholas Moore
Andrew Carlisle and Kolya Sier for Shane Stapleton
Christopher Lorince for Connor Williams
After the Saturday contest, we moved to Carnegie Lecture hall where there was an evening award ceremony followed by a fabulous concert with Nuallan from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to an audience of approximately 500 that also featured dancers from the Thompson School of Highland Dance and Burke-Conroy School of Irish Dance.
The weekend event finished on Sunday morning with a free presentation to about 20 attendees by Dr. Angus MacDonald of Glenuig, Scotland. Three piobaireachd tunes on the list of 2019 Silver Medal tunes were covered: the MacGregor’s Salute, the Battle of Strome, and Salute to Donald.
The event was made possible by grants from the Sage Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, an Anonymous Foundation, The Pittsburgh Firefighters Memorial Pipe Band, The Pittsburgh Police Emeralds Society Pipe Band, the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh, and many individual donations.
The Saturday evening event also featured a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle. Many thanks to the 2018 Balmoral Classic contestants, judges, musicians, sponsors, donors, the Balmoral staff, and the many volunteers who helped to make the 12th Balmoral Classic a noteworthy success.

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