CLASP Contest Sets a Trend for Others to Follow During Virus Shutdown

Margaret and Finlay have come up with a competition format other promoters could follow during shutdown

Margaret Dunn and Finlay Johnston of the National Piping Centre have instituted a superb way of keeping the next CLASP contest for amateur pipers alive during the Covid-19 shutdown.

It could form a basis for others to follow. In a letter to all contestants Margaret writes: ‘Yesterday CLASP proposed an alternative format which would allow the competition to run as planned, but instead of gathering together in one location, it would be in a remote setting using technology. 

‘The feedback to date from current members has been positive, and therefore we have decided that we will not cancel the competition and start planning for a remote CLASP competition instead. After a little more thought and feedback from members, we have made some tweaks to the initial suggestion (emailed yesterday to current CLASP members) and I hope that you see this as a positive move to minimise any technical issues on the day, whilst still keeping the performances live! 

‘Please see full document attached which outlines the new format. If you have any questions, please email both Finlay and I. We will be in touch with competitors with more detail over the next week.’ 

Outline: The NPC recently contacted all current CLASP members to gauge the feeling of an alternative format, which would allow the competition to run on the same day, but remotely using technology.  This will stop gatherings of people and help to keep our members safe, but in this technically advanced world we live in, we believe that things can be kept going. If we knew that this would be the only affected competition this year, I think the option to cancel would be an easier one, but the current situation may go on longer and we do face unknown times.   

The idea has been well received so far by members and we can now confirm that the NPC will start preparing to run the competition remotely.  Having listened to members views, the NPC has made a few tweaks to the initial idea and after much thought, here is what we believe will work best and minimise technical issues on the day and give the judges undisturbed audio files to best judge each performance. The National Piping Centre will facilitate competitors where we can with time zone differences, a space to use to make the video call if required (but only a small number) and if it is safe to do so at that time.

For the remote competition, competitors would need the following:
1. Internet and suitable device to make a live video call to CLASP admin 
2. Smartphone or recording device to record the audio of the live video call performance with the capacity to email performance on same day to CLASP admin. (Same idea as used for CLASP grading purposes currently). 
3. If competitors choose to use Skype, please download Skype (free download) onto your PC/Laptop and make sure that the webcam and mic are working- the webcam and mic tend to be inbuilt in most devices nowadays. We can test that this works before the competition if anyone has not used Skype before. 

The competition would work as follows: The rules for a remote competition will be as follows to allow a level playing field for all taking part:
All performances will be captured live via video link. CLASP admin staff will make live video contact with each competitor (at their allocated time for Piobaireachd and their allocated time for Light Music) using Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime etc..

At this time we also ask that each competitor take an audio recording of their live video performance on their smartphone/recording device at the same time as their live video call performance and competitors can then email the audio file using MP3/dropbox/wetransfer to CLASP admin after the live video call has ended. 

Competitors will be asked by CLASP admin to turn on their recording device and admin staff will announce the event and competitor number so every recording will start with this introduction. It will be the audio file taken at this time that will be used by the judges to decide the results and therefore we stress the importance of having devices fully charged and tested prior to the event. A helper could be more relaxing for competitors on the day! 

Tune submissions (both Light Music and Piobaireachd) should be emailed to the CLASP admin team no later than Friday 20th March and each competitor will be emailed their tune selection the day prior to the competition (Friday 27th March).

Saturday 28th March will be used as the competition day where Finlay Johnston (TBC) and Margaret Dunn will collect the live audio recordings from competitors. The audio recordings will then be sent to the judges on Saturday 28th March and the Judges will spend Sunday (29th March) judging and writing crit sheets for each performance and results will be announced on Sunday afternoon/evening via the CLASP website. Crit sheets will be emailed to competitors after results are issued.

The use of the audio files will take any technical problems out of the equation, this is how all CLASP grading recordings are currently done. 

The draw will be emailed to competitors over the weekend (not published online until after the results have been announced on Sunday). To enter the competition or to become a CLASP member please visit or if you have any questions please email both and

Posted in News   

6 thoughts on “CLASP Contest Sets a Trend for Others to Follow During Virus Shutdown

  1. I hate to be the one to throw water on this subject however, this is not a new idea. In the earlier part of this century the late Scots Guards piper and owner of Duntroon publishing Bruce Campbell ran a contest whereby you videoed your performance then sent it in, where a panel of judges watched the video and awarded prizes. If memory serves me correctly the MSR winner received the Willie Ross medal. The medals were all mailed out to the winners. Nice to see an “old” idea revived.

  2. What a brilliant and innovative idea. With so many events being cancelled, this will allow pipers to still participate in contests. Given many people have more time on their hands than normal it is an ideal opportunity to improve playing. Well done Margaret and Finlay!

  3. congratulations to Margaret and Finlay for this great idea to keep the competition running. In this time of crisis, we must do everything possible to keep life, society, hobbies, and events functioning as near to normal as possible. Where possible, other organisers should follow this great lead. It may not be ideal, but a modified contest will always be better than no contest at all.

  4. I think we need the piping press championships. How is this for a bit of fun. Pipers enter the competition and a draw is make in the form of a knockout. Pipers send in a video of them playing a set , what ever Msr, Piobaireachd or Medley, let’s say Msr to start. Each day the two videos could be posted and the public vote on who they like best,winner goes through to the next round and in the event of a tie the editor casts the deciding vote. Close entries at say 32 or 16 then it works down to a could be done for A,B and C grade pipers

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *