At the inaugural town hall on Saturday, February 27th, new president Michael Grey announced the Piping & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s first step towards launching educational opportunities for members, writes Andrea Boyd
Taking place from Monday July 5th to Friday July 9th 2021, Summer Blast! will offer a virtual week-long summer school in piping, drumming, bass and tenor drumming tuition for all abilities and ages.
Drawing from Ontario’s leading exponents of piping and drumming, tuition will be offered by John Cairns, Ken Eller, Michael Grey, Reagan Jones, Jim McGillivray, Doug Stronach and Bob Worrall, the school’s director.
This is the first time in the PPBSO’s 74-year history that it has organised a summer school.
‘It took us 74 years but our Summer Blast! school is worth the wait,’ says Michael Grey, president of the PPBSO. ‘In the tradition of all great summer schools, it’s shaping up to present an epic and memorable experience for attendees.’
Tuition will take place in four, one-hour sessions daily, using the zoom platform. In addition to twenty hours of tuition that will be offered in a variety of styles and formats, daily extra-curricular activities will be included in the price of registration.
The first to be announced is Scotch Rocks! a whisky and piping appreciation event presented by Stuart Cassells, the founder and former frontman of the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, and the current general manager of The Macallan Estate in Speyside, Scotland.
As announced at the town hall, the PPBSO is offering its members a special rate of $280 for the week, a 20% discount on the registration fee. This special pricing offsets the cost of renewing 2021 membership to the PPBSO within the registration fee. Non-PPBSO members will pay $350CAN.
Register your interest at www.summerblast.ca. Full registration will be open next week, and as a bonus incentive, registrations received on or before April 30th will be entered in an early bird draw to win a free place in the school, which will be applied to their 2021 registration.
For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
California Competition Celebrates 10 Years with a Sold Out Event
Holding a virtual competition wasn’t how the St. Florian Pipers Society anticipated celebrating their 10th anniversary of sponsoring the Redding Bagpipe Competition (RBC) but as it turned out, the March 6th online competition was a huge success, writes Charlie Martin.
The competition’s organiser, St. Florian President, Monty Messenger, wanted to provide as close to an “in person” feel as much as possible so a couple of different formats were combined. The use of Zoom breakout rooms as virtual competition platforms allowed multiple events to be held simultaneously, just as a regular event. Borrowing from the Peel Regional Police’s virtual competitions, competitors played in front of the judge live, and a video backup was provided to meet WUSPA sanctioning requirements. Due to the length of performances, the piobaireachd event was held by video submission only.
This format drew a record entry for the RBC, either live or virtual, with over 90 registrations between light music and piobaireachd. The registration also drew a truly international crowd with competitors from Canada, the UK, Australia and Germany. For a RBC first, Open/Professional events were provided for both light music and piobaireachd, which drew 12 competitors. Being able to offer a professional grade event has always been a goal of the RBC and the 10th anniversary was a good time to start.
The competition was honoured to have a great suite of judges with Jack and Terry Lee, Bruce Gandy and Liz Tubbs filling the benches. Alex Gandy and Andrew Lee were added at the last minute to handle the needs of the large registration. This bench of talent provided not only their wealth of piping and judging knowledge for “regular” events, but all have experience with the new virtual formats.
This is the third virtual offering by the RBC but the first using in-person judging. There definitely were some lessons learned. Zoom breakout rooms are a great format that allowed competitors to move to each event in the same way as a live competition. Technology is great but still a limiting factor.
The use of virtual backgrounds, now common in Zoom Meetings, had some competitors fading in and out of their chosen pictures while they played! Poor internet connections and sound setups hampered many competitor’s performances, and the backup video proved necessary. With the virtual format likely to stick around even after Covid-19 restrictions end, players need to test drive and fine-tune their sound and visual setups before competition day.
The RBC is grateful to the St. Andrews Society of San Francisco Foundation for their continued support. Their generosity provided the prize money for the professional events.
The results of the Professional events are:
Open MSR 1 Callum Wynd 2 Teddy Krogh 3 Andrew Donlon 4 DQ 5 Tony Adkins 6 Brad Davidson
Open Hornpipe Jig 1 Teddy Krogh 2 Andrew Donlon 3 DQ 4 Callum Wynd 5 Mark Elliott 6 Tony Adkins
Open 6/8 March 1 Andrew Donlon 2 Teddy Krogh 3 Callum Wynd 4 DQ 5 Tony Adkins 6 Brad Davidson
Open Piobaireachd 1 Teddy Krogh, Nameless Hiharin Dro o Dro 2 Ryan Murray 3 Alastair Murray 4 Andrew Donlon 5 Douglas Gardiner 6 Brad Davidson
The Overall Professional winner was Teddy Krogh of Anchorage, Alaska.
For a full list of prize winners, please see: https://www.reddingbagpipecompetition.com/ or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/reddingbagpipecompetition