Carnegie Mellon University Virtual Solo Piping Championships 2020

Three of thre big CMU winners: Adam Blaine, Liz Cherry and Sean Patrick Regan

All in all, the event went very well. Last year CMU held its first competition which was confined to students at the University. This virtual competition was opened up to all.

Being a virtual event, I include video links of the prizewinners in Grade One and Open. We had a waiver on the entry form that gave the University permission to post the prizewinning performances online.

By Andrew Carlisle, Professor of Music, Director of Piping

The Championships took place online between Sunday, May 10th and Tuesday May 12th 2020. The purpose of the competition was to provide a performance platform and something for pipers to work towards during the challenges we are all facing with stay at home orders and social distancing. 

We were fortunate to have a very accomplished judging panel. For the piobaireachd events, we had Jimmy McIntosh MBE and his good wife Joyce McIntosh who judged from their home in Anderson, South Carolina. For the ceòl beag events we had Michael Grey from Dundas, Ontario, Canada, and Ken Eller from Fonthill, Ontario, Canada. 

I would like to sincerely thank our four esteemed judges for all of their hard work. They diligently sat at their computer screens and judged for many hours. In many ways, judging virtually has more challenges and takes longer to carry out than in-person contests… you have to be your own steward, download and compile your own scoresheets and then format them and email them all back to the organiser after the competition is over.



All four judges felt that because they could judge the competitions in their own time, they were able to spend time providing quite detailed feedback on the competitor scoresheets which has been greatly appreciated by the competitors. 

Every grade was very well contested, which can be seen in the spread in results in the various disciplines. Champion Amateur Piper winning An Bratach Dubh was Adam Blaine from San José CA. Champion Open Piper was Sean Patrick Regan from Pittsburgh, PA.

The results were announced live on Zoom by myself at 8:30pm on Tuesday, May 12th with around 30 of the competitors and judges tuning in. Some of the judges spoke briefly to the competitors prior to the announcement of results. They thanked the competitors for entering and for helping to keep our tradition alive during this pandemic and reported a high standard of playing, particularly in the 11 person Grade One competitions.

I would like to thank Jon Maffett and The Piper’s Hut for very kindly sponsoring our competition. Each Amateur Overall Champion (in each grade) receives an electronic gift certificate for The Piper’s Hut to help support their piping needs. https://www.thepipershut.com/

GRADE ONE (11 competitors)

Grade One Piobaireachd 
1 Adam Blaine, San José CA MacKenzie of Applecross’s Salute https://youtu.be/SYCeAa3VLxI
2 Stanton Man, Raleigh NC I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand https://youtu.be/d8aXiMmns6Y 
3 Ryan Kavanagh, Kingston ON Park Piobaireachd No. 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIxd4BvSiQw 
4 Alex Burlew, Bethlehem PA The Massacre of Glencoe
5 Elizabeth Knox, Woodbine MD Tulloch Ard
6 Steve Knox, Woodbine MD The Glen is Mine
Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce McIntosh


Grade One 2/4 March 
1 Tyler Destremps, Bethlehem PA Jeannie Carruthers https://youtu.be/lSi8LOUoBCA 
2 Stanton Man, Leaving Lunga https://youtu.be/xi481v3vmqo 
3 Alexandra Knox, Woodbine MD Major Manson at Clachantrushal https://youtu.be/LI9oT0q7AIU 
4 Adam Blaine, Hugh Alexander Lowe of Tiree
5 Elizabeth Knox, The Duchess of Edinburgh
6 Steven MacDonald, Orlando FL Inveran
Adjudicator: Michael Grey

Grade One Strathspey and Reel
1 Tyler Destremps, Loch Loskin / Cecily Ross https://youtu.be/uUuIUHRevp0 
2 Mason Parsons, Albuquerque NM Caledonia Society of London / The Smith of Chilechassie https://youtu.be/q8Pbj_dWoTs 
3 Elizabeth Knox, The Islay Ball / Lt. Co. D.J.S Murray https://youtu.be/V9k4PEFAWU8 
4 Stanton Man 5 Steven MacDonald  6 Adam Blaine
Adjudicator: Ken Eller

Grade One 6/8 Marches
1 Elizabeth Knox, Leaving Port Askaig / Fairview Cottage https://youtu.be/50SzSw2Oti8 
2 Mason Parsons, Miss Ishabel T. MacDonald / The MacNeils of Ugadale https://youtu.be/TpV4TaN5xRg 
3 Stanton Man, Dr. Ross’s Welcome to the 50th Argyllshire Gathering / The MacNeils of Ugadale https://youtu.be/UkVpSLG8nhc 
4 Ryan Kavanagh, Mary Kiely / Moria Ann McIntosh
5 Tyler Destremps, Redford Cottage / Jean Mauchline
6 Steven MacDonald, Fairview Cottage / Miss Ishabel T. MacDonald
Adjudicator: Ken Eller


Grade One Hornpipe and Jig
1 Adam Blaine, The Heningham Reunion / Kenny Gillies of Portnalong https://youtu.be/CJaj5TP_Cyc 
2 Tyler Destremps, Lucy Cassidy / The Skylark’s Ascension https://youtu.be/aLo5w_eOHu8 
3 Mason Parsons, Gordon MacRea’s Favourite / The Skye Rovers https://youtu.be/wAyB0kXad2Y 
4 Stanton Man, The Ship in a Bottle / Alex MacDonald
5 Steven MacDonald, Skippiwazakiwi / Center’s Bonnet
6 Ryan Kavanagh, The Streaker / Donald of the Sun
Adjudicator: Michael Grey

Award for Piobaireachd: Adam Blaine
Best overall Ceòl Beag / Light Music:Tyler Destremps
OVERALL AMATEUR CHAMPION (An Bratach Dubh): Adam Blaine who received the CMU Black Banner:

GRADE TWO (3 competitors)

Grade Two Piobaireachd 
1 Colin Swett, West Chester PA Lord Lovat’s Lament
2 Emily Trimpey, Pittsburgh PA The Battle of Auldearn No. 2 
Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce McIntosh
Grade Two 2/4 March
1 Emily Trimpey 2 Colin Swett
Adjudicator: Ken Eller
Grade Two Strathspey and Reel
1 Emily Trimpey 2 Colin Swett; Adjudicator: Michael Grey
Grade Two 6/8 March
1 Colin Swett  2 Emily Trimpey; Adjudicator: Ken Eller
Grade Two Hornpipe and Jig
1 Emily Trimpey 2 Colin Swett; Adjudicator: Michael Grey
OVERALL GRADE TWO: Emily Trimpey, Pittsburgh PA

GRADE THREE (6 competitors)

Grade Three Piobaireachd (6 competitors)
1 Bridget Englebreston, The Marquis of Argyll’s Salute
2 Amy Howard, Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonnell of Glengarry
3 Elly Ciesinski, Lament for Sir James MacDonald of the Isles
4 Reece Calovini, Struan Robertson’s Salute
5 George Smith, The Glen is Mine
Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce McIntosh
Grade Three 2/4 March
1 Reece Cavolini 2 George Smith 3 Elly Ciesinski 4 Bridget Englebreston
5 Amy Howard; Adjudicator: Ken Eller
Grade Three Strathspey and Reel
1 George Smith 2 Bridget Englebreston 3 Amy Howard 4 Reece Cavolini
5 Elly Ciesinski; Adjudicator: Michael Grey
Grade Three 6/8 March
1 Reece Cavolini 2 George Smith 3 Bridget Englebreston 4 Elly Ciesinski
5 Amy Howard; Adjudicator: Ken Eller 
Grade Three Jig
1 Bridget Englebreston 2 Reece Cavolini 3 Amy Howard 4 George Smith
5 Elly Ciesinski; Adjudicator: Michael Grey 
OVERALL GRADE THREE: Bridget Englebreston, Raleigh NC

GRADE FOUR (6 competitors)

Grade Four Piobaireachd
1 Maureen Moore, Glengarry’s Lament
2 Casey Buchanan-Smith, Lament for Sir James MacDoanld of the Isles
3 David Van Buskirk, Struan Robertson’s Salute
4 Jean Zhang, Struan Robertson’s Salute
Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce McIntosh
Grade Four 2/4 March
1 Walter Maghee 2 Maureen Moore 3 Casey Buchanan-Smith 4 David Van Buskirk 5 Jean Zhang; Adjudicator: Michael Grey
Grade Four Strathspey and Reel
1 Casey Buchanan-Smith 2 David Van Buskirk 3 Maureen Moore 4 Walter Maghee; Adjudicator: Ken Eller
Grade Four 6/8 March
1 Casey Buchanan-Smith 2 David Van Buskirk 3 Walter Maghee 4 Maureen Moore 5 Jean Zhang; Adjudicator: Ken Eller
OVERALL GRADE FOUR: Casey Buchanan-Smith, Pittsburgh PA

GRADE FIVE (NOVICE) (5 competitors – all of which were competing for the first ever time)

Grade Five (Novice) Piobaireachd
1 Walter Maghee, Struan Robertson’s Salute 2 Christine Nolin, Lament for Donald of Laggan; Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce cIntosh
Grade Five (Novice) March
1 Joseph Paetz 2 Nathan Love 3 Christine Nolin; Adjudicator: Ken Eller
OVERALL GRADE FIVE NOVICE: Christine Nolin, Pittsburgh PA

OPEN PIPING (3 competitors)

Open Piobaireachd
1 Liz Cherry, USAF Lady MacDonald’s Lament https://youtu.be/Kxs2LhDKYSk 
2 Sean Patrick Regan, Pittsburgh PA The Earl of Seaforth’s Salute https://youtu.be/CC-oEilZGJU 
Adjudicators: Jimmy McIntosh MBE, Joyce McIntosh
Open 2/4 March, Strathspey and Reel
1 Sean Patrick Regan John MacFadyen of Melfort / Susan MacLeod / The Cockerel in the Creel https://youtu.be/NcC7tuBEJrw 
2 Liz Cherry Bonnie Ann / The Shepherd’s Crook / Miss Proud https://youtu.be/N8dlLilC6Jo 
Adjudicator: Ken Eller
Open 6/8 Marches
1 Sean Patrick Regan John MacColl’s Farewell to The Scottish Horse / Miss Ishabel T. MacDonald https://youtu.be/M3DkX2HzMzA 
2 Liz Cherry Jean Mauchline / Ballochyle https://youtu.be/b9DItK-ging 
Adjudicator: Michael Grey
Open Hornpipe and Jig
1 Sean Patrick Regan Tam Bain’s Lum / The Brae’s of Melenish https://youtu.be/5FTpwGM_WFg 
2 Liz Cherry The Man from Skye / Kenny Gillies of Portnalong https://youtu.be/8pKdhrnEIYI 
Adjudicator: Michael Grey
OVERALL OPEN PIPING: Sean Patrick Regan, Pittsburgh PA


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2 thoughts on “Carnegie Mellon University Virtual Solo Piping Championships 2020

  1. More to do with actual piping. If it wasn’t for this damn crisis, I would be looking out my brogues etc and seeing if my clothes still fitted me, checking my vehicle for fuel, getting a flask of coffee and a few pieces together, looking for a pencil and sharpener, getting a wee notebook, searching for my tickets, thus getting prepared to go to Fochabers, for the Gordon Castle Games/Fair. I am not an Aberdonian, but if I was, the terminology, would be ‘I’ve tae bide at hame.’ And of course that is what the situation is.
    So no flasks, pieces, pencil, sharpener, no tickets to search for etc. It leaves me wondering if my clothes still fit me and the brogues can remain unpolished. So what am I to do? Well I read that Sean Patrick Regan played the Earl of Seaforth and I will tune into that. Liz Cherry played Lady MacDonald’s Lament and I want to hear both tunes and probably others. I have always had a notion for the Lady MacDonald’s Lament and one of aspects I am looking forward to is the contrast between the ground, cast in 3/4 time and the doubling of the ground cast in 4/4 time.
    There will be no need or desire for the use of a pencil or wee book to write in. I suppose throughout the summer, the thoughts in my mind will be commonplace among pipers. Goodness knows if my kilt etc will fit me next year?

  2. Sean Patrick Regan with a beard! It makes me feel old and brings memories
    My wife and I were at Nethy bridge games and Patrick Regan was there and had his young son with him, who would have been Sean. He was very small. During the course of the day Patrick was engaged in the playing at the competitions and the young lad was wandering round the games field. I was a little concerned about the loon’s safety and welfare and asked Patrick where the young guy was. Patrick was very at ease with the situation, saying the crowds at Nethy were a friendly lot and there was no danger. I suppose particularly in that era things were safer. It is nice to know that the young Regan is engaged in piping.

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