MacGregor Final/ WAPOL Feeder Band/ CPA AGM

En route to the top….a young Callum Beaumont receives the MacGregor Memorial prize in 2003 from the then AG piping convenor Jamie Fraser

The prestigious MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd competition moves to its final stage next week. The eight finalists have been given their tunes. They must record them on video and submit them by next Wednesday, August 26. This would have been the day when the competition would have been held had it not been for the current curbs.

Videoed performances are to be uploaded to YouTube and Highland dress must be worn. The contenders and their tunes are:

Ross Conner (17), Campbeltown, who will play End of the High Bridge. Ross played Lachlan MacNeill Campbell of Kintarbert’s Fancy in the qualifier.

Luke Kennedy (17), Strathaven, who will play the Daughter’s Lament. Luke played Lady MacDonald’s Lament in the qualifier.

Liam MacDonald (19), Ontario, who will play Too Long in this Condition. Liam played the Marquis of Argyll’s Salute in the qualifier.

Angus MacPhee (19), Inverness, who will play I Gave a Kiss to the King’s Hand. Angus played Battle of Auldearn No.2 in the qualifier.

Henry Paluch (16), Ontario, who will play Lament for the Children. Henry played Black Donald’s March in the qualifier.

Anna Smart (19), New Zealand, who will play MacDougall’s Gathering. Anna played Too Long in this Condition in the qualifier.

Hazel Whyte (17), Larkhall, who will play MacFarlane’s Gathering. Hazel played The Groat in the qualifier.

Campbell Wilson (17), New Zealand, who will play Lord Lovat’s Lament. Campbell played the Old Men of the Shells No.1 in the qualifier.

The result will be announced in due course by Piping Convenor Mr Torquil Telfer of the Argyllshire Gathering.

Western Australia Police have sent this: We would like to announce the official launch of the Western Australia Police Youth Development Pipe Band. The band will feature both a professional grassroots teaching program as well as a non-competing performance pipe band.

Tutored by the world-class members of WA Police Pipe Band, members ranging from complete beginners to the more advanced will be able to build self-confidence, communication skills, discipline and musical skills on the bagpipes or drums, creating new friendships and connections along the way. 

The WA Police Youth Development Pipe Band will be managed by Alisdair McLaren, the Pipe Major of the WA Police Pipe Band. Pipe Major McLaren said: ‘I am extremely excited about this new venture from the WA Police Pipe Band. Having been involved in developing young people in Scotland for over a decade, I’m really looking forward to being able to now do this in my home town. In time these players will then be able to filter out and be a part of their local band within the WA community. 

‘The team here at WAPOL is made up of many world class pipers and drummers with years of experience so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the local community to take advantage of this. Hopefully in the future we’ll see some of these kids making their mark both locally and internationally.’ 

The band is now actively recruiting for membership from complete beginners to young people already playing the pipes or drums. For more information and to register your interest, please contact Alisdair McLaren via email at .

Excerpts from minutes of the Competing Pipers’ Association AGM minutes: ‘As of 10 August 2020 there were 229 financial members of the CPA. This represents a decrease of three from last year. 197 of these are Professional Graded Members, with eight P Grade members, 14 Junior members and 13 current support members.

‘As noted in previous years there continues to be relatively few P Grade players who remain as members which is a concern in terms of the CPA being perceived as a grading mechanism and little else. This may impact upon perception of the association and its ability to provide top level competitors to events such as the Captain John MacLellan Competition. 

‘Website upgrades have been ongoing throughout this calendar year. The committee explored different avenues on moving forward with website upgrades. It was not financially viable to get a complete new website so it was agreed to upgrade the current site.

‘There are also now reminder emails in place for annual membership renewal which is positive for members and the CPA as it should help to prevent members missing out on information and help the association to prevent fluctuation in member numbers.  

‘The Duncan Johnstone Memorial Competition for B and C graded members was unfortunately cancelled for this year. To improve the running of the competition the plan was to have the C Grade competitions at NPC Otago Street and the B Grade at NPC McPhater Street. The Jig competitions were also planned to be split into separate graded events. These are two measures that we will look to continue for next year. 

‘The Captain John MacLellan Memorial MBE Piping Championship was held at the Army School of Piping at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh for a seventh year and was once again a great success, with members commenting once again on the impeccable organisation of the event.

‘The numbers for the P Grade events were higher in 2019 than they have been previously which is a positive sign. The Army School took some direct entries for the P events which also helped numbers. The CPA would encourage P Grade players to become members of the association in order to enter the competition and, as mentioned before, boost the perception of the CPA. 

‘In response to the Covid-19 pandemic the committee agreed to hold a series of online competitions throughout the summer. These have been well supported so far with 87 performances in the C Grade events and 48 in the B Grade events. Following consultation with the membership it was decided to move forward with holding A&P events in September. 

‘Grading Applications were submitted through the CPA website from October to December. The Grading Committee was again comprised solely of Senior Players appointed by the President. We would like to thank the grading committee for the huge effort that went into this, as with over 200 members to grade, this is a long process.

‘There were eight appeals this year, two of which were successful. The secretary would like to thank those who appealed for the polite way in which they did so this year and for taking the points on this from last year’s AGM forward. As was initiated in July, the Grading Committee will not meet in December 2020. 

‘Following consultation with the membership of the Competing Pipers’ Association, the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting – the qualification system trialled for the 2020 Silver Medal will discontinue. The selection system for 2021 will revert to the previous track record method in place before 2019/2020. The eligibility committee made up of representatives from the Argyllshire Gathering, Northern Meeting, SPJA and the CPA will review the track records of all pipers wishing to enter and select 25 players for both events. 

‘The Secretary and President held discussions with James Graham from An Comunn Gàidhealach about the CPA assisting with the Mod piping competitions. The conversations were based around the Mod becoming one of the CPA events. In a similar way to which the Captain John competition is run, the CPA would administrate entries for this but the Mod would run everything else. The talks were in advanced stages before the Mod was unfortunately cancelled for this year. 

‘There is a healthy surplus in the CPA account due to less outgoings this year with events not going ahead. The C Grade online competition provided a profit and these will be used to balance the B and A&P Grade events which are predicted to run at loss after prize money and judges fees. The CPA is in a strong financial position at the moment.

‘President Derek Midgley, Vice President Callum Beaumont, Secretary Ross Miller, Treasurere Steven Leask. The Committee: Peter McCalister, Dan Nevans, Darach Urquhart, Rebecca Tierney, Liam Kernaghan, Calum Watson, Nick Hudson, James MacHattie.

  • You can join the CPS here.

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