By Drum Major Thomas Lorenzen
The Swiss Pipe Band Meeting which includes the Swiss Pipe Band Championships and the Swiss Solo Piping & Drumming Championships will be take place on the weekend of 30th August – 1st September 2019 in Abtwil, St. Gallen, Switzerland. All events will be organized by the Appowila Highland Games Club on their festival site.
The Appowilla Highland Games are so kind to organize again the Swiss Pipe Band Meeting 2019 which will include the Swiss Pipe Band Championships and the Swiss Solo Piping & Drumming Championships 2019. This year there will be a new chanter competition for beginners.
In the 12thcentury, Abtwil’s name was Appowila – hence the name of the Games and the club who run the games. Over 100 members of the club transform the festival site into a miniature Scottish Highlands to share their enthusiasm and fascination for Scotland – a country that has become like a second home to many of them. The initial Appowila Highland Games in 2009 had 5,500 visitors; at the next Games in 2011 the number of visitors increased to 12,500.
In 2013 more than 16,000 visitors from the whole of Switzerland plus neighbouring countries, such as Germany and Austria, made their way to Abtwil. Despite the bad weather in 2015, there were still 14,500 visitors to the Games!
At the fifth Appowila Highland Games in 2017, we wanted to mark our anniversary with a huge celebration, however, the extreme weather conditions thwarted that somewhat. Nevertheless, 13,000 faithful Scotland fans proved that even heavy rain is no hindrance to celebrating.
The Swiss Pipe Band Meeting will be take place on Saturday the August 31 and starts with the Opening Parade of the Highland Games. The Massed Band will lead the parade to the festival site and opening ceremony will be held by the Appowila Club.
Actual eight bands with more than 110 pipers and drummers are registered to take part in the Parade led by Senior Drum Major Thomas Richard Lorenzen from the Police Scotland Fife Pipe Band.
Afterwards the bands will play small concerts for the visitors during the day and enjoy the outstanding atmosphere of the Highland Games. The Gathering of the Bands are a important part of the Pipe Band Scene in Switzerland to keep contact between the bands and keep the friendships between them alive.
During the saturday the Swiss Pipe Band Championships will be take place and the bands can compete in the following Grades: Grade 5, Grade 4 MAP, Grade 4 MSR, Grade 3 Medley
The Pipers & Drummers can take part in more then 25 different categories. Please check them at the homepage of the Swiss Pipe Band Association: https://www.pbas.ch/de-regeln/
The Swiss Solo Piping & Drumming Championships will be take place on Sunday, September 1.
Judges for both events will be: Donald Mackay (Piping), Jim Semple (Piping) and Ciaran Mordaut (Drumming).
The closing date for entries for all events will be 11th August 2019. Entries can be made by the homepage of the Appowilla Highland Games: https://appowila.ch/
Next to the Piping & Drumming Solo Championships there will be for the first time ever a Chanter Competition which will be take place on Saturday, August 31st.
The Apowilla Highland Games want to thank Wallace Bagpipe very much for their kind support for the Chanter Competition.
The aim of this competition is the promotion of young/new players. All who are ‘not sure yet’ on the bagpipe or for healthy reasons currently not allowed to play, have the opportunity to participate in a competition in various categories. As well all competitiors are welcome to join the massed band with their chanters to get their first experience to play in a massed band without any pressure. The competition will be judged by Piper Andrea Zingg who will give a feedback to the players in the local language.
The Swiss Pipe Band Association is happy to announce that they can hand out more the 30 brand new trophies to the competitiors. The Association want to thanks all sponsors for their kind donations.
Concerts: well-known bands from the Scottish and Irish music scene (e.g. in 2017 we had the Red Hot Chilli Pipers)
Children’s Highland Games: various attractions for children including a junior Highland Games, fairy tale tent and even a wild boar race!
Medieval Market: one of the largest in Switzerland with a great assortment of stands and activities.
Scottish sports disciplines: Tossing the caber, shot put, weight over the bar, hammer throw, as well as tug o’war. There are both fun and professional categories, the latter counting towards the Highland Games Association of Switzerland championship.
Food stands: huge variety of food and drink – from ox roast to haggis or fish and chips, as well as local specialities.