The 15th Annual Balmoral Classic, featuring the US Junior Solo Piping & Drumming Championships, were held on November 13/14 beginning on the Saturday morning with piobaireachd contests streaming via YouTube. The winners Cameron Bonar and Sebastian Arguelles are pictured above.
This was the second Balmoral Classic that was online, remote and virtual. Scheduling and logistics were intensive and very competently organized and executed by Sean Patrick Regan, Program Coordinator; Leslie Clark, Balmoral’s Associate Director; Elaine Lee, Marketing Director and Arthur McAra, Master of Ceremonies.
By Elaine Lee
Fifteen pipers were invited to participate in the contest: eleven from six US states and four from Canada. Six drummers were invited to compete in the contest: five from the US, and one from Scotland.
Competitors submitted one video for each of two events in their discipline: an MSR and Piobaireachd for pipers, and an MSR and Hornpipe & Jig for snare drummers.
1. Cameron Bonar, Surrey, British Columbia; Lament for Donald of Laggan
2. Sebastian Benedetto, Cape Neddick, Maine, USA; The MacGregor’s Salute
3. Katherine Miller, Safety Harbor, Florida, USA; Mackay’s Short Tune
4. Kevin Darmadi, Houston, USA; The Groat
5. Roy Huang, Stouffville, Ontario, Canada; Glengarry’s March
March, Strathspey, Reel:
1. Cameron Bonar, Braes of Brecklet, Dora MacLeod, The Grey Bob
2. Elizabeth Knox, Woodbine, Maryland, USA; Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Tulloch Castle, Alick C. MacGregor
3. Alexandra Knox, Woodbine, Maryland, USA; Marchioness of Tullibardine, John Roy Stewart, Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran
4. Kevin Darmadi, John MacColl’s March to Kilbowie Cottage, John Roy Stewart, Thompson’s Dirk
5. Harrison Little, Fergus, Ontario, Canada; Miss Elspeth Campbell, Shepherd’s Crook, John Morrison, Assynt House
1. Cameron Bonar
2. Kevin Darmadi
3. Sebastian Benedetti
4. Elizabeth Knox
5. Katherine Miller
Here’s a link to a video of the Overall Piping Winner, Cameron Bonar: https://youtu.be/Dtacmp-UgzU .
Judges: M Henderson, M Rogers, B Tidswell
Cameron Bonar of Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, won a set of blackwood Duncan MacRae Bagpipes donated by McCallum Bagpipes, and the Ralph and Patricia Murray award for a full scholarship at the 2022 Balmoral Summer session. The 2nd to 5th place Overall Winners receive tuition for one week at the 2022 Balmoral School summer session.
March, Strathspey, and Reel:
1. Sebastian Arguelles, Houston, Texas, USA; Lord Alexander Kennedy, Bogan Lochan, Pretty Marion
2. Andrew McNamara, Laurel, Maryland, USA; Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society, Cameronian Rant, Pretty Marion
3. Tommi McAndrew, Laurencekirk, Aberdeenshire, Scotland; The Conundrum, Struan Robertson, Dolina MacKay
4. Alec Flansburg, Rotterdam, New York, USA; Angus MacKinnon of Eigg, Cabar Feidh, John Morrison, Assynt House
5. Caleb Ruddock, Dunedin, Florida, USA; Willie Gray’s Farewell to the Glasgow Police, Dorrator Bridge, Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree
Hornpipe and Jig:
1. Sebastian Arguelles, Lucy Cassidy, Bronni’s Blue Brozzi
2. Tommi McAndrew, Crossing the Minch, Donald Cameron’s Powderhorn
3. Andrew McNamara, Touching Cloth, Troy’s Wedding
4. Alec Flansburg, Lucy Cassidy, Kitchen Maid
5. Caleb Ruddock, The Drunken Landlady, Donald McKillop
1. Sebastian Arguelles
2. Tommi McAndrew
3. Andrew McNamara
4. Alec Flansburg
5. Caleb Ruddock
Drumming Judges: S Creighton, JR Maxwell, E MacNeill
Link to the Overall Drumming Winner, Sebastian Arguelles: https://youtu.be/I64kPqCb8s8
Sebastien was awarded an Axial “Silver Sparkle” Snare Drum donated by Henderson Imports of Traverse City, Michigan, the David Peet Memorial Award for the Overall Winner, and the Henry Matthews Scholarship for one week’s full scholarship at the 2022 Balmoral Summer session. The 2nd to 6th place Overall Winners receive tuition for one week at the 2022 Balmoral School summer session.
After the Saturday contests, there was a Live via Zoom awards ceremony, attended by the competitors, their families, our judges and staff, and Classic supporters.
After a break, we were treated to an outstanding concert with Scottish fiddle virtuoso Alasdair Fraser, and renowned cellist, Natalie Haas. Calvary United Methodist Church with its amazing collection of Tiffany stained glass windows, surrounded the audience with special ambiance for the in-person event, which was also live-streamed.
At the start of the second concert set the Overall Winners’ videos were projected onto the big screen: Piper Cameron Bonar’s winning MSR video, and Drummer Sebastien Arguelles’ winning Hornpipe & Jig video, accompanied by piper, Nick Hudson.
The Balmoral Classic was made possible by grants and donations from the Sage Foundation, the Laurel Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Ralph & Patricia Murray Family, the St. Andrew’s Society of Pittsburgh, The Pittsburgh Firefighters Memorial Pipe Band, McCallum Bagpipes, Henderson Imports, Murray Henderson Piping, MacLellan Bagpipes, Scott’s Highland Services, Jim McGillivray Piping, The Pipers Hut, Celtic Croft, Duncans Highland Supply, Temple Records, Pittsburgh Trophy, and many individual donations.
Many thanks to the 2021 Balmoral Classic contestants, judges, musicians, sponsors, donors, the Balmoral School staff, the online publications and platforms, and the many volunteers, who helped to make the second VIRTUAL Balmoral Classic an outstanding success!