All posts by Robert Wallace

Robert Wallace is an award winning piper, writer and journalist.

Victorian Solo Pipers Association Annual Championship Results and Pictures

Murray Blair reports: The Victorian Solo Pipers Association (VPA) based in Australia, recently (Saturday, Sept 9, 2017) held it’s Annual Championships at Scotch College, Melbourne. 

Formed in 2003, the VPA facilitates solo piping competitions, along with regular workshops, piping nights and has a membership of just under 100.
A focus of the association has been resurrecting the playing of piobaireachd which almost completely died out during the 90s. Its resurgence can be credited to the efforts of Jono Quay, Fiona Manson and Craig Sked, and at the recent Championships there were 31 entries out of a total of 58 pipers.
The competitions success relies on good entries and generous support is given by the Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation, McCallum Bagpipes, Clan Maclennan, MacGillivray, Bradshaw and of significant note, the family of James A Center (bagpipemaker/piper).
The Center family donate substantial prize money to the overall A Grade Champion  (Piobaireachd, MSR, Hornpipe & Jig) along with a Sterling Silver Medal and a perpetual trophy originally won by James A Center. Jamie Hawke was the 2017 winner.
The family’s enthusiasm in supporting local piping is to be admired, and they’re also actively collating any information relating to Center bagpipes, from pictures of old sets, music, medals, and anything to do with their history.
The VPA is an association in its own right, not part of Pipe Bands Victoria. The handsome medals presented by the Association are pictured top.Simon Gibson (VPA secretary) has provided details of the results:
Overall Champion and winner of James Center Memorial Trophy & James Center Medal: Jamie Hawke

Jamie Hawke with the James Centre Memorial Trophy

A Grade
Piobaireachd and Victorian Pipers Association Gold Medal
1 Jamie Hawke, Lament for Hugh
2 Andrew Roach, Lament for Donald of Laggan
3 Jonathan Quay, The Park Piobaireachd No.2
4 Simon Gibson, Lord Lovat’s Lament
Judge: Greg Wilson

2/4 March
1 Jamie Hawke
2 Katherine Belcher
3 Josh Chandler
4 Andrew Roach
5 Jonathan Quay
Judge: Greg Wilson, Craig Sked

1 Jamie Hawke
2 Katherine Belcher
3 Josh Chandler
4 Jonathan Quay
5 Andrew Roach
Judge: Greg Wilson, Craig Sked

1 Jamie Hawke
2 Josh Chandler
3 Andrew Roach
4 Will Sincock
5 Katherine Belcher
Judge: Nat Russell, Mark Saul

VPA Silver Medallist Josh Chandler

B Grade
Piobaireachd and Victorian Pipers Association Silver Medal
1 Josh Chandler
2 Robert Wilkinson
3 Craig McKenzie
Judge: Greg Wilson

2/4 March
1 Josh Chandler
2 Simon Gibson
3 John Bamford
4 Stacey Riches
5 Gabrielle Doecke
Judge: Nat Russell, Craig Sked

1 Josh Chandler
2 Anna Doecke
3 Stacey Riches
4 Simon Gibson
5 Gabrielle Doecke
Judge: Nat Russell, Craig Sked

1 Josh Chandler
2 Simon Gibson
3 Anna Doecke
4 Stacey Riches
5 Robert Wilkinson
Judge: Matt Fraser, Mark Saul

C Grade
Overall Champion and winner of Clan MacLennan Shield:
Matthew Rutley

Piobaireachd and Victorian Pipers Association Bronze Medal
1 Andrew Jenkins
2 Stacey Riches
3 Imogen Williams
4 Liam Stapleton
5 Roger Sinclair
Judge: Andrew Roach

VPA Bronze Medallist Andrew Jenkins

2/4 March
1 Matthew Rutley
2 Angus Evans
3 Imogen Williams
4 Craig McKenzie
5 Liam Stapleton
Judge: Nat Russell, Matt Fraser

1 Dan Whelan
2 Angus Evans
3 Matthew Rutley
4 Imogen Williams
5 Erin Russell
Judge: Nat Russell, Matt Fraser

1  Matthew Rutley
2 Angus Evans
3 Erin Russell
4 Charlie Cooper
5 Liam Stapleton
Judge: Will Sincock

D Grade
Overall Champion and Winner of Bradshaw Family Trophy:
Johnny Cameron

No piobaireachd contest held for this grade

2/4 March
1 Angus Bodon
2 Johnny Cameron
3 Hugh Hosking
4 Kelly Cheng
5. Anna Blanch
Judge: Murray Blair, Simon Gibson

1 Johnny Cameron
2 Amy Ryan
3 Kelly Cheng
4 Callum Cooper
5 Bill Cameron
Judge: Murray Blair, Simon Gibson

6/8 March
1 Johnny Cameron
2 Callum Cooper
3 Sebastian Kritikides
4 Roger Sinclair
5 Eva Ryan
Judge: Nat Russell, Matt Fraser

Novice Grade
Overall Champion and Winner of Clan MacGillivray Shield:
Jasmine Hofen

1 Amy Ryan
2 Jasmine Hofen
3 Rosie Ryan
Judge: Greg Wilson

2/4 March
1 Jasmine Hofen
2 Nicholas Buckley
3 Max McCulloch
4 Zeb Lyons
5 Louis Cameron
Judge: Katherine Belcher, Jamie Hawke

1 Zahli Clark
2 Max McCulloch
3 Jasmine Hofen
4 Nicholas Buckley
5 Zeb Lyons
Judge: Katherine Belcher, Jamie Hawke

All-Ireland Solo Piping & Drumming Results

Last Saturday (September 15) saw the All Ireland Solo Piping and Drumming Championships take place at the Trinity Comprehensive School, Ballymun, Dublin.
There was an excellent entry across the grades although a few of the drumming sections were on the low side however the standard of playing was of the highest quality. The picture above is of FMM pipers Kris Coyle, winner of the Senior Piobaireachd event, and Ashley McMichael runner-up in the Senior Piping.
The adjudication panel comprised some very experienced personnel with Tim Farrelly, Jim Semple, Jennifer Hutcheon (Piping),  William Morrison and Michael Egan (Piobaireachd), Stephen Creighton, Jim Baxter and Paul Turner (Side Drumming) and John Dunne and Derek Doyle (Bass and Tenor Drumming).  The following were the results of their deliberations:
Senior Piping:
1 Scott Wallace (Field Marshal Montgomery) – above
2 Ashley McMichael (Field Marshal Montgomery)
3 Kevin Rogers (St Laurence O’Toole)
Intermediate Piping:
1 Seán Maloney (Closkelt
2 Cameron Hume (Closkelt
Noel Kelly (St Lawrence, Howth
Junior A Piping:
1 Scott McKay (Scottish Power)
2 Alastair Donaghy (Field Marshal Montgomery)
3 Cillian Hartford (St Maurs)
Junior B Piping:
1 Tim Wharton (Joseph Forde Memorial)
2 Joshua Truesdale (Upper Crossgare)
3 Cillian Bissett (St Maurs)

Juvenile Piping Under 14:
1 Jack Hamill (McDonald Memorial)
2 Brady Annett (Lisnamulligan)
3 Emma Ferguson (Matt Boyd Memorial)

Juvenile Piping Under 16:
1 Beth Preston (PSNI)
2 Jordan Gibson (Marlacoo & District)
3 Nathan Coburn (Portavogie)
Piobaireachd A:
1 Kris Coyle (Field Marshal Montgomery)
2 John McElmurry (Matt Boyd Memorial)
3 Ashley McMichael (Field Marshal Montgomery)
Piobaireachd B:
1 Ryan Cupples-Menendez (PSNI)
2 Craig Davidson (Scottish Power)
3 Dion Boyle (Bleary and District)
First and third placed Michael McKenna and Steven Creighton of St Laurence O’Toole PB, Dublin

Senior Drumming:

1 Michael McKenna (St Laurence O’Toole)
William Glenholmes (Vale of Atholl)
3 Stephen Creighton (St Laurence O’Toole)
1 Matthew Wenlock (Vale of Atholl)
2 Dean Smyth (Field Marshal Montgomery)
3 John Murphy (Closkelt)
Junior Drumming A:
1 Glenn Creighton (St Laurence O’Toole)
2 Rob Barrett (St Laurence O’Toole)
3 Denis Lane (Closkelt)
Junior Drumming B:
1 Brian Hasson (Colmcille)
2 Lauren Irvine (Lomond & Clyde)
Colm Aherne (St Joseph’s Clondalkin)
Juvenile Drumming Under 14:
1  Tiernan Kavanagh (Arklow)
2 Jamie Kerr (Major Sinclair Memorial)
3 Arren McWilliams (PSNI)
Juvenile Drumming Under 16:
1 Daniel Mulcahy (Closkelt)
2 Fionn Murphy (New Ross & District)
3 Lee Montgomery (Quinn Memorial)
Juvenile Drumming Under 18:
1 Richard Black (Syerla)
Tenor Drumming: Grades 4B/5:
1 Demi Moore (Kildoag)
2 Oliver McIlwaine (Major Sinclair Memorial)
3 Vutaute Plekaviciute (De La Salle)
Grade 4A:
1 Claire Bracken (St Lawrence, Howth)
2  Amy McKeown (Tullylagan)
3 Rebecca Patterson (Tullylagan)
Grade 3:
1 Aoife Bissett (St Maur’s)
2 Calum Smyth (Quinn’s Mem.)
3 Zoe Abraham (Battlehill)

Grade 2:
1 Ryan McGavigan (Manorcunningham)Grade 1:

1 Jordan Bailie (Inveraray & District)
Cameron Sinclair (Vale of Atholl)
3 Craig Rogers (Ravara)
Open Bass Drum:
1 Robert Coady (McDonald Memorial)
Ewan Smyth (Quinn Memorial)
3 Jordan Bailie (Inveraray & District)

Fred Concert and Scots Guards KO Details/ FMM Bass Drummer Retires/ Denny & Dunipace Recruiting

The Scots Guards Club’s Knockout contest details have been announced featuring some of the best young professional pipers currently on the solo scene. The club is also staging a recital  by Fred Morrison. Jimmy Banks: ‘Our winter piping programme will start again on 24 September [this coming Sunday] with the first in our popular series of knockout events starting at 4pm. Tickets are £5 on the day with pies on sale.

‘The legendary folk musician Fred Morrison (pictured top) will perform from 5.30pm on Sunday 26 November, immediately after the knockout. Tickets on sale shortly.’

Sun 24 September: Callum Moffat v Jonathon Simpson

Sun 29 October: Ben Duncan v John Dew

Sun 26 November: Jamie Elder v Dan Nevans

Sun 28 Jan 2018: Callum Watson v Ross Miller

The Scots Guards Association hold their annual junior competition in Inchdrewer House, home of the Army School of Piping, on October 21. The school hosts the Captain John MacLellan Memorial professional competition on Oct 7.

Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles Pipe Band: ‘We had a successful 2017 season in which the band were placed in four of the five majors and placed in the top three in all the minor contests entered including becoming Grade 4A British Champions and placing fourth in the World Championships. The band is now hopeful of being upgraded and is looking to increase both the pipe corps and drum corps for the 2018 season.

‘This is an exciting time for the band with the senior band also making a return. The band also teaches beginners on Monday nights from 7pm with the aim of developing players to go right through the grades. Anyone interested should contact P/M David Todd  or get in touch through the band Facebook page or go along to practice on Monday nights in Denny High School.

Chris on the FMM bass

John Kelly reports: Chris Pollock, who for the past twelve years has played the bass drum for Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, has announced that his time with the band has come to an end.  I first photographed this big guy in July 2008 at, of all places, my home town of Lisburn.

In a Facebook post Chris says, ‘For the past 12 years I have had the honour to play for Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band.  Every second has been a pure joy.  In particular the last 11 seasons, the time I was entrusted with beating the big drum, will be a time that I will treasure forever.  It’s not possible to put into words how humbling it is to be deemed good enough to play in Keith Orr’s drum corps and in Richard Parkes’ band.

‘That alone makes my time in FMMPB special.  The music – wow, what a thrill!  The titles are just a bonus.  But there is ‘a time for everything’ and my time in FMM has come to an end.  Work commitments and my growing family mean that I would be letting down the people I love the most, my Lord, my family and my band mates, if I were to continue.  So, I’ve handed the big drum on to Robert Smyth and no finer man could I be handing it to!   Robbie, I pray you have as much fun playing in ‘the best spot in pipe bands’ as I did – and even more success!’

Chris with the best bass drummer trophy at the All-Irelands

Two Sets of Second Hand Pipes Sold Today

Two sets of second-hand pipes were offered for sale today via the Piping Press Shop, both very reasonably priced. The sets sold within one hour of appearing on the site. Pipes to sell? Contact Piping Press!

The first was a set of Grainger & Campbell African blackwood and imitation ivory pipes in excellent condition complete with new Canmore bag and wooden case. The case was free but weight considerations made mailing unviable but the pipes were sold in the UK and collected in Glasgow.

Drone top of the Grainger & Campbell set

The bagpipe dated from the 1970s, played perfectly well and suited a beginner as a first set. First offer of £300 secured.

Bell top, ring cap and insert on the Peter Henderson half-sized set

The second set was a lovely collector’s set of Peter Henderson half-size pipes in African blackwood, nickel silver and real ivory complete with a D Naill half-size chanter (pictured top). The instrument probably dated from the 1930s or 40s.

The perfect combing on the drones

The drones have perfectly shaped bell ends and produce a smooth but rich tone. The combing is beautifully done and as a whole the instrument is in perfect condition.

Ivory projecting mount, nickel ferrule and slide

The bag needs replaced and there is no cover but green silk cords are included. This is a perfect bagpipe for a boy or girl transitioning from practice chanter or goose to full-sized pipes, or for a collector interested in an historic instrument from the iconic maker Peter Henderson. First offer of £250 secured.

Silver Medal Tunes for 2018 Available for Download/ Grade 3a Band Looking for Leading Drummer

The Piping Press Shop now has a full set of recordings of tunes set by the by the Music Committee of the Piobaireachd Society (PS) for the 2018 Silver Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness.

They are played in full on the practice chanter by Piping Press editor Robert Wallace more or less as published by the Society but with some differences as handed down in oral tradition. These differences are usually, but not always, recorded in the notes to the tunes in the PS collection. By playing along with these recordings the piper may get an idea of the song of the tune and how to link its passages, phrases and variations. Robert strongly advises additional tuition from a qualified tutor for anyone entering these important competitions.

The tunes are Chisholm’s Salute, Desperate Battle of the Birds, Glengarry’s March, Grain in Hides and Corn in Sacks, Lament for the Little Supper, MacCrimmon’s Sweetheart and MacLeod’s Salute. Access the recordings here:

The above picture shows 2017 Silver Medallists at the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, Cameron MacDougall, Nigg, and Stuart Easton, New Zealand. Both pipers now go forward to compete for the coveted Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal presented annually at both gatherings.