Preview of Ontario’s George Sherriff Memorial Invitational Competition

The prestigious George Sherriff competition for amateur pipers takes place in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday. If you are in the area please go along to support this important day in the piping calendar. Promoter is the Music Board of the of the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. The Board has as one of its initiatives, ‘Competitions’. The George Sherriff Invitational is one of those initiatives and has been run for the past 24 years. The late P/M Sherriff is pictured above and here is a preview this year’s contest:

The 24th annual George Sherriff Memorial Invitational will take place on Saturday, November 16th in Hamilton, Ontario. This contest features the top 10 amateur pipers selected from throughout Canada and the United States. The performers and audience will experience the favoured acoustics in Hamilton’s historic St Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

The adjudicators for this year’s competition are Glenn Brown, James McGillivray, and Michael Grey. Glenn, a Gold Medallist and the winner of the 2018 Bratach Gorm, was the overall winner of the ‘Sherriff’ back in 2000. James MacGillivray is a double Gold Medallist and Michael Grey is the noted champion piper and pipe music composer.

The M.C. for the November 16 competition will be Lynda Mackay, chair of the PPBSO Music Committee.

Filemon Tan, the winner of the 2018. GS is pictured above with the presentation set of MacRae pipes donated by McCallum Bagpipes.

McCallum Bagpipes has donated an engraved set of MacRae pipes to be presented to the overall winner.  Chanters have been donated by R.G. Hardie, and David Naill.  Additional prizes will be awarded from Michael Grey, , Donald MacPhee, Scott’s Highland Services, the PPBSO, and others.

The players will be playing two 6/8 marches of their own choice in the morning, a selected piobaireachd in the afternoon, and a selected march, strathspey and reel in the evening.  The evening performances will be recorded and posted on the contest website.

The 2019 performers are:

ALISTAIR BEVAN (Abbotsford, British Columbia)

KEVIN DARMADI (Houston, Texas)

TYLER DESTREMPS (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania)

JOSEPH HORWATH (Saginaw, Michigan)

COLIN JOHNSTONE (Aurora, Ontario)

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STUART MARSHALL (Greensboro, North Carolina)

LIAM MELVILLE (Carleton Place, Ontario)

LIAM MACDONALD (Wellesley, Ontario)

CHARLES MORRIS (Agoura Hills, California)

BLAISE THERIAULT (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

All key details (times, location, order of play, and sponsors) can be found at the contest’s web site:

Of George Sherriff himself, the competition website records: On April 21, 1995 the Ontario piping community lost an ardent supporter and a good friend.  Before coming to  Canada in 1947, George resided in Glasgow, where he started piping with the Boys Brigade.  He played with a number of bands in Scotland.  These included the Cabar Feidh, Stewart and Lloyd’s and Clan MacRae Pipe Bands.

After emigrating to Canada he joined the Dofasco Pipe Band.  He later joined the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders of Canada Pipe Band, under P.M. John Wilson, where he rose to the rank of Pipe Sergeant.  He retired from the band in 1967.

George was well known in Ontario as a dedicated teacher of the pipes and a composer of many tunes.  He was a loyal supporter of the Niagara-Hamilton Branch of the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario.

George will be remembered fondly by his many friends and pupils.  His keen wit will be unforgettable to those of us who  knew him.  He was never without a story or wee joke.

George Sherriff’s unfailing support of many generations of young players has helped contribute to the legacy of successful piping in Ontario.  This contest is named in his honour.

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