Category Archives: Pipe Bands

Highlands & Islands Draw/ Tickets for the Worlds

All solo piping interest will be on Oban this weekend for the Highlands & Islands Music and Dance Festival with very good entries in all events through P/A, B and C grades. The contest is held in Oban High School on Saturday April 29.

Senior adjudicators are Iain MacFadyen, Ronald MacShannon, Tom Speirs, Robert Wallace, John Wilson and Andrew Wright. There are five prizes in each event. All piobaireachd classes start at 9am with the MSRs in the afternoon. Here are the draws:

P/A Piob


Gordon McCready and Sarah Muir, recent champions at the Scottish Pipers’ Association contest, will do battle again at the Highlands & Islands

B Piob


C Piob






There is also a full selection of contests for juniors. Check PP on Saturday for all results.

Tickets for the Worlds are now on sale – at a discount if you buy now. Grade 1 arena on the Saturday is £28 plus transaction fee. Other prices (add minimum £1 transaction fee): Here is the blurb: ‘The World Pipe Band Championships are a unique celebration of Scottish culture featuring outstanding musicians who have practised for years to reach the pinnacle of Pipe Band competition. The event has been associated with Glasgow for nearly 70 years.

‘Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland are the World Pipe Band Champions for 2016. They fought off stiff competition from Inveraray and District who finished second and St Laurence O’Toole from the Republic of Ireland who were third. The 2016 event was the 30th year in a row Glasgow has hosted the World Pipe Band Championships.’

Get your tickets here.

Piping Live Launched

Press release for the Piping Live Festival held each year during Worlds Week: 

‘The landscape of Glasgow Green looked very different today, Tuesday 25th April, as a giant 23ft piper mural, known as The Colossal Clansman, popped (or piped) up in the park – announcing that Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival and The World Pipe Band Championships are returning to the city from 7 – 13 August.The world’s biggest week of piping will see over 50,000 music fans, families and tourists flock to Glasgow to enjoy 200 events and 8,000 performers throughout the week.

‘The Colossal Clansman was created using a remarkable six miles of fabric – the same amount it takes to kit out the 23 participating Piping Live! bands and 21 competing in Grade 1 qualifiers of The World Pipe Band Championships. The 7m by 4m portrait, made by Glasgow artist, Bruno Gallagher, was created to showcase the grand scale of both events, which annually attract thousands of visitors from across the globe to the city.

‘Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival is the biggest festival of its kind in the world and the week-long celebrations will see over 200 events take place in various venues across the city from 7 – 13 August. Its diverse programme is famed for bringing the best pipers and pipe bands in the world to Glasgow and 2017 is set to be just as outstanding, with acts including Peatbog Faeries, Battlefield Band and Tejedor topping the bill and many more to be announced in coming weeks. The programme will also see performances by the very best international acts from countries such as Estonia, Argentina, Canada, Czech Republic, Northern Ireland, Australia and Italy, as well as numerous events including the fiercely contested Master Solo, International Quartet and Pipe Idol competitions.

‘Throughout the week there will be daily performances and family fun in George Square, the festival’s city centre hub, as well as recitals, book launches and the hugely popular Street Café at The National Piping Centre. The hugely popular Pipers’ Market will also return this year to George Square, bringing with it some of Scotland’s very best food and drink, as well as craft stalls for everyone to enjoy.

‘The World Pipe Band Championships will return to Glasgow Green on 11 and 12 August. This year it celebrates its 70th anniversary, with the first ever World Pipe Band Championships being held at Murrayfield in Edinburgh in 1947. The event was first held in Glasgow in 1948 and has been staged in the city continuously since 1986.

‘Known affectionately as The Worlds, they’re hailed as the pinnacle of competitive Pipe Band competition and are organised on behalf of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association by the City of Glasgow. This year, the Worlds will be part of the celebrations for the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

‘This year, Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland defends the title they reclaimed last year. The band has been World Champions five times in the last six years.

‘In recent years, over 225 bands have travelled from all over the world, bringing around 8000 pipers and drummers to compete in eight grades for the world title. Entries for this year’s event are open and the final list of participants will be confirmed six weeks before the championships.

‘Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: ‘We are delighted to be supporting Piping Live! and The World Pipe Band Championships, with both events attracting the best piping talent from around the world. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and it is fitting in the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology that Glasgow continues to host these two wonderful international events, which truly showcase Scotland’s heritage and cultural offering.’

Virginia Tattoo Participating Bands/ 2017 Silver Medal Tunes

This Saturday, April 29, 2017, the Virginia International Tattoo hosts the second annual Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship on Scope Plaza in downtown Norfolk, Virginia. In the past the contest has featured Scottish Grade 1 bands Inveraray and Fife Police. This year UK representation comes from the Pipes and Drums of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards (pictured). Director of Piping for the contest is Andrew Carlisle of Field Marshal Montgomery.

The press release reads: The competition, which coincides with the Tattoo performance weekend, will feature a total of ten bands, three in Grade 2 and seven in Grade 3. Grade 2 bands entered: City of Dunedin (Dunedin, Florida), MacMillan Pipe Band (Washington, DC), Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band (Worcester, Massachusetts).

Grade 3 bands entered include: 1st Battalion Scots Guards Pipes and Drums (British Army, United Kingdom), Carnegie Mellon University Pipes and Drums (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), Silver Thistle Pipes and Drums (Austin, Texas), St. Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band (Houston, Texas), Ulster Scottish Pipe Band (Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania), Wake & District Public Safety Pipes and Drums (Raleigh, North Carolina).

Bands will compete from 12 to 6pm on Scope Plaza, followed by a massed bands performance and presentation of awards. In case of inclement weather, the competition will be held inside Scope Arena. There is a March, Strathspey and Reel competition and a Medley Selection competition for both Grade Two and Grade Three.

The Grade Three MSR competition will commence at 12pm followed by the Grade Three Medley. For Grade Two, the Medley will be first, followed by the MSR as a request by the three pipe majors, as this is the format for the 2017 World Pipe Band Championships for bands that are fortunate enough to qualify for the final.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the aggregate winners in each grade:  Grade 2: 1st $2,500 (£2,000 approx.), 2nd $1,000 (£800), 3rd $500 (£380); Grade 3: 1st $2,000 (£1,500), 2nd $800 (£600), 3rd $400 (£300). The event will also include an Open Drum Fanfare Competition with a single $1,000 (£800) prize. Participating bands were also given travel stipends to help assist with the costs of travelling to Norfolk.

The spectacular Virginia Tattoo in Scope Arena, Norfolk

‘I am thrilled to see a contest like this happening within our borders,’ remarked Dan Cole, President of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association. ‘We were blown away by the success of last year’s event,’ said J. Scott Jackson, the general manager of the Virginia Arts Festival and Producer/Director of the Virginia International Tattoo. ‘We had world-class bands and great support from enthusiastic spectators. Most importantly, the bands had a positive experience, starting off their competitive season against strong competition and playing for outstanding judges. For 2017, we again have a highly qualified panel of international adjudicators representing six world pipe band associations and spanning three continents.’

The Virginia International Tattoo runs from April 27-30 at Scope Arena. International pipe bands scheduled to perform include Australia’s Scotch College Adelaide Pipe Band, the Canadian Forces Base Trenton 8 Wing Pipes and Drums, New Zealand’s Christchurch City Pipe Band and the 1st Battalion Scots Guards.Tickets for the Virginia International Tattoo are still available at A video of the massed bands and awards from last year:

Entrance to the 2017 Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship is free of charge to the public. Tickets for the Virginia International Tattoo are still available at

Budding Silver Medallists will be interested in a new post from the Piobaireachd Society concerning Donald MacLeod tunes set for this year’s Silver Medal and intimating that recordings from expert pipers Finlay Johnston (Cronin Padruig Seamus), William McCallum (Roderick MacDonald’s Salute), Angus MacColl (Lament for John Morrison of Assynt House) and Iain Speirs (Lament for the Iolaire) are now available on the Society website

Anyone who’s not yet a member of the Society should join now!

Lessons on the other tunes in the 2017 Silver Medal list are available from PP Editor Robert Wallace. These tunes are all taken from the Society’s most recent book, Book 16, but appear in other out of print source collections too. The tunes are Hail to My Country, Rev. Dr Norman McLeod’s Lament, the Sword’s Lament and Lord Berisdale’s Salute. All four have been recorded in full on the practice chanter and give guidance on how the tunes might be played. The student can play along with the recording and get an idea of how to link the phrases and variations. Use the drop down arrow to select your tune(s).

PP Ed’s Blog: Gourock Contest/ PP Audio Archive/ Argylls Book/ Bagpipe Muffler

Pleased to see such a healthy entry for the Grade 1 contest at Gourock on May 14 with Glasgow Police, Shotts, Inveraray and Scottish Power all to the fore.

There is a top down effect at these minor contests. If the big boys are there it gives the event the kudos it requires and brings in much needed revenue. Many of our smaller pipe band events have been struggling of late. I have always argued that the leading bands have what you might call ‘a duty of care’ for these contests. It is where many a youngster first get a taste for pipe bands and certainly takes the best music to the grassroots.

So well done to all participants (not just those in Grade 1) and to those Grade 2 bands playing up – great experience for them. Here are the G1 bands and the playing order and times courtesy the RSPBA.

Grade 1 MSR – Ring 1
01 15:35 Scottish Power Pipe Band
02 15:45 Inveraray and District
03 15:55 Lomond and Clyde
04 16:05 Shotts
05 16:15 Johnstone Pipe Band
06 16:25 Glasgow Skye Association
07 16:35 Glasgow Police (pictured top)

Top of the Pops, piper Chris Terry, South Africa

The PP Audio Archive continues to attract many listeners and it is interesting to see, from time to time, whose recordings are the most visited.

By far the most popular recording, and therefore our ‘top of the pops’, is South Africa’s Chris Terry playing the piobaireachd, the Glen is Mine. Chris has had 896 listens so far. Second place goes to John MacFadyen, with 633 people dipping in to his Too Long in the Condition.

Next comes a recital by the imperious Alasdair Gillies with 606. Thereafter we have Donald MacPherson with a recital which includes Salute on the Birth of Rory Mor MacLeod, then the writer with 540 for his MacDougall’s Gathering closely followed by Jimmy McIntosh with 534 for Lament for the Children.

Here’s the list:
Chris Terry, Glen is Mine 896
John MacFadyen, Too Long in this Condition 633
Alasdair Gillies recital, 606
Donald MacPherson recital, 589
Robert Wallace, MacDougall’s Gathering, 540
Jimmy McIntosh, Lament for the Children, 534
Andrew Pitkeathly, light music 480
Donald MacLeod light music, 476
Robert Reid light music, 449
John MacDougall, MSR, 443
Angus MacColl MSR, 442

Other recordings of note: Gordon McCready’s winning tune at the recent SPA Professional has had 87 listens so far and Dr John MacAskill’s  self-penned piobaireachd Rubh An Dunain 118. Good figures after only a couple of weeks on the stocks.

Any reader who has recordings – band or solo – he/she believes deserves a place in the archive please forward same to the usual address. All of these recordings are offered free of charge both by the artists themselves and by Piping Press. The cost of the archive is borne by our advertisers so a big thanks to them for advancing piping education in this way.

The new Argylls book

The new Argylls book is in the home straight and the editors will this week be heading to the regimental museum in Stirling Castle to complete the final picture selection. Proofing will begin next month and this eagerly awaited publication will be launched during Worlds Week in August.

The book will have tunes by such expert composers as John MacLellan, Dunoon, Willie Lawrie. There will also be contributions from the Director of Army Bagpipe Music, Gordon Rowan, and the current Sovereign’s Piper, Scott Methven.

Scott Methven, Sovereign’s Piper

Gaita players in Spain can now practice with impunity even if they live in the least soundproof flat. It’s all thanks to this ‘practice muffler’ which fits round the hands and chanter. Might get a bit hot in there but better that than no practice at all. Thanks to Breton piper Patrick Molard for bringing it to our attention. What do you think guys? Would it be worth someone developing this for the GHB? Have a look: