News and Notices
Thursday August 4th, 2022
Michael Grey, president of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, revealed the newest trophy on offer to competitors on the PPBSO games circuit. At the Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, July 30, “The Robert J Worrall Trophy for Professional Solo Piping – Light Music” was presented to Bob Worrall by Grey on behalf of trophy sponsors, McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland.
The overall season winner on the PPBSO’s summer games circuit in the professional event categories of march, strathspey and reel, and jig (or hornpipe and jig) events will receive the bespoke silver and gold mounted practice chanter. The trophy will be held by the season-winner for one year.
The PPBSO launched the new Championship Supreme trophy program in April of this year with “The William Livingstone Claret Jug for Professional Solo Piping – Piobaireachd”.
This year PPBSO Championship Supreme band and solo awards will be presented at the Society’s 75th anniversary ceilidh, Saturday, October 22, at the Royal Military College’s beautifully appointed Senior Staff Mess. The event features Canada’s famous Celtic band, Hadrian’s Wall and will include impromptu piping and drumming performances. More information here. Tickets can be purchased here.
There are many categories of Championship Supreme trophy sponsorship available for anyone looking to pay tribute or commemorate a person, organization or other recognition. More information here including currently available categories for sponsorship. All individuals, band and commercial enterprises are welcome to participate.
Membership in the PPBSO is not required to sponsor a trophy.
The full text of Michael Grey’s trophy presentation:
This year The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society put out a call for trophy sponsors for our overall season winners – our Champions Supreme award recipients.
One trophy category called out the name of one person in particular. He’s no stranger to pipers and drummers anywhere in the world – he is one of our greatest ambassadors of the music, the voice of the BBC’s world pipe band championships broadcast and, as a by the way, a 7-time winner of the professional solo piping title here at Maxville.
On behalf of McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland I am happy to announce our newest trophy: “The Robert J Worrall Championship Supreme Award for Solo Professional Light Music” – a mounted silver and gold practice chanter. I invite Bob Worrall to accept this presentation …
Wednesday August 3rd, 2022
The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario recognized two outstanding long-serving members at the 74th Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, on Saturday, July 30: Colin MacLellan and Hugh Cameron.
The PPBSO is grateful to the games committee for allowing us the opportunity to recognize our members in this public way.
Long-time friend and colleague of Hugh Cameron, Jim Sim, President of the Chicago-based Midwest Pipe Band Association, and renowned snare drummer, presented the award on behalf of members of the PPBSO.
What follows is the full text of Hugh Cameron’s recognition:
I have known Hugh Cameron for almost 50 years. In that time, Hugh has been a competitor, a mentor, an advisor, but most of all, a good friend. Hugh has been a great asset to not only Ontario drumming, but to drumming and drummers worldwide.
As a young drummer from Chicago, I always looked up to Hugh. Hugh has been a player in several bands in Ontario, but his greater influence has been on the overall art of drumming here in Ontario and around the world.
Hugh was part of the generation that paved the way for the players and bands of today. Hugh is a great teacher and technician who always has a smile and a kind word and is always willing to help. Hugh is sought out by drummers and bands around the world for his knowledge and advice on drum sound.
The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario is lucky to have Hugh Cameron as a member and Society contributor. Hugh has also run the Cameron Drumming Studio for many, many years. He is always fair and helpful and gives back to drumming everywhere.
I am proud to call Hugh a good friend and I have always valued his friendship. It is my honor to present Hugh Cameron with The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s Lifetime Achievement and Lifetime Membership Award.
Monday August 1st, 2022
The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario recognized two outstanding long-serving members at the 74th Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, on Saturday, July 30: Colin MacLellan and Hugh Cameron. Transcripts of both presentations will be published through the coming week.
The PPBSO is grateful to the games committee for allowing us the opportunity to recognize our members in this public way.
Life-long friend of Colin MacLellan, Michael Grey, presented the award on behalf of members of the PPBSO.
What follows is the full text of Colin MacLellan’s recognition:
Good afternoon, everyone!
Today I have the privilege of honouring the piping and pipe band world’s most famous dual citizen. He’s no stranger to the people of Glengarry County – and Maxville, in particular – in fact, you’ll know he lived here for many years raising his family. He is now a resident of Edinburgh, Scotland – and today he’s with us. Of course, you may know, I’m referring to the one and only, Colin Roy MacLellan.
With the thumb of one hand, I can count the number of pipers active today who I have known for a longer period of time. I first met Colin as a student at a piping and drumming summer school in Brockville, Ontario – a very long time ago. Along with his father, Captain John A MacLellan – that great legend of 20th century piping – the teen-aged Colin, administered the large and successful Seaway School of Piping and Drumming.
Since that long-ago time on the banks of the Saint Lawrence, Colin’s life has taken many twists and turns – as it does with most people over the course of a long time. From life lived in areas as varied as Vancouver, Lunenberg, Ottawa, St Catherines, Glasgow, Edinburgh – and Maxville – at least one thing stands as a common element in all these places and associated life situations. Yes. Of course … its bagpipes.
From his earliest days as a piper, Colin has been relentless in his pursuit of excellence. A successful stint in the amateur ranks saw him competing as a professional class piper at the age of 18. On his journey to becoming a piping master he won both Inverness and Oban gold medals, the Silver Chanter at Dunvegan Castle on Skye – twice in succession – and countless other piping prizes of note.
The man can play.
So there’s some irony, I think, when we look to a famous line from one of George Bernard Shaw’s works – and that is: “those who can: do – and those who can’t: teach”. Colin is a shining exception to Shaw’s contention.
It bares noting that in the tradition-bound world of the Great Highland Bagpipe teaching is everything. The soul of the music can’t be imparted from a cold recording. The survival of the instrument’s music is dependant on good teaching. Without pipers working to help others know and understand the music – it withers. In fact, without teaching, the music dies.
Colin has done his part. His teaching efforts have been monumental. They have also been impactful. The music of the bagpipe thrives in many places around the world thanks to Colin MacLellan’s teaching.
During his years in Canada he taught at seventeen different summer schools across North America – an astonishing number. I’d have to think during this time, especially, Colin wore the figurative clothes of piping missionary very well.
In 1986 he moved to Glengarry County, where he was appointed Piping Teacher for the Stormont Dundas and Glengarry County School Board as well as the Pipe Major of the Glengarry Pipe Band. It was due to Colin’s efforts in teaching at three different high schools – while also the Director of the Glengarry School of Piping and Drumming – that he was able to move the Glengarry Pipe Band upwards through the competition grades: from Grade 4 all the way to the Glengarry Pipe Band’s eventual promotion to the premier grade, that is: grade one pipe band status.
Along the way the band won Canadian, US, and North American titles in Grades 4, 3 and 2. For those who know even a little of the ins and outs of the competitive pipe band world you will appreciate the glorious magnitude of this accomplishment.
Of course, we know today, in Glengarry County, especially, Colin’s teaching efforts of not-so-long ago continue to bare fruit.
His work with pipe bands is broad and varied: he helped build a successful grade one band in Ottawa, the Dunvegan Pipe Band – an inventive and outward-looking group. After settling back in Edinburgh he took on the task of rebuilding, the Lothian & Borders Police Pipe band. In his first season with the grade two band he led them to the title of Champion of Champions. He is the last Pipe Major of the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band to have lead the band to the grade one finals of the World Pipe Band Championship.
In his piping career, Colin has worn many hats: player, teacher, reed-maker and two, in particular that can be called out: composer and administrator.
In 1992 Colin was winner of the international composing competition for piobaireachd, held by Clan Donald Canada. He performed his wining tune, ”The Salute to Sir John A Macdonald”, for then Prime Minister Mulroney, at a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of Macdonald’s death.
As an administrator Colin’s volunteer efforts have been many: He is currently Chair of the Scottish Solo Piping Judges Association and for the past fifteen years has served as a Board Member of Glasgow’s famous Piping Live! International Festival.
While we recognize Colin today for a life of contribution and excellence – we know there is more to come.
And, so, on behalf of the membership of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, I am privileged, to present Colin MacLellan our award for Lifetime Achievement and Life Membership.
Tuesday July 26th, 2022
A late-season reminder to all solo competitors of two rules from our rule book that they need to note:
C-4.1 Report to Steward. Competitors shall report to the steward for each event no later than the commencement of the event. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
This rule is in place for a number of reasons, including to ensure the person administering and controlling the competition – the steward:
- Is aware of the how many competitors will be playing that day and, so, manage effectively, including advising competitors of the potential to play sooner than planned due to no-shows
- Has the information needed to move playing order in order to accommodate schedule conflicts with other events
- Can effectively plan any brief break that might be required by the judge
C-4.2 Tuning Time. Piping competitors shall adhere to the following tuning times: for piobaireachd, a limit of 5 minutes; for all other events, a limit of 3 minutes. Individuals exceeding the allowable tuning times may be disqualified.
- Maximum tuning limits need to be followed in order to ensure contest momentum is maintained
- The competition is completed as scheduled in order to accommodate other events planned for that performance space (i.e. massed bands or another solo contest)
- The steward will make every effort to signal to a player that tuning time has reached its limit (e.g. by pointing to their watch)
- Competitors should know that exceeding a notice of exceeded tuning time may result in disqualification
Thanks to all who responded to our recent call-out for stewards. We received many enthusiastic responses from those interested to help!
Sunday July 17th, 2022
Ken Eller was presented official PPBSO “life membership” recognition on Saturday, July 16, 2022, just before the awards presentation of the 47th Cambridge Scottish Festival. The PPBSO is grateful to the games committee for allowing us the opportunity to recognize one of our own.
Life-long friend and colleague of Ken Eller, Bob Worrall, presented the award on behalf of members of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario.
What follows is the full text of Ken Eller’s recognition:
Please allow me to say the obvious….It’s so good to be back. To be back among friends, our music, and having a chance to celebrate. And, it’s my distinct honour today to join with all of you to celebrate, congratulate and thank one of our true pipe band icons.
I have known Ken Eller for 60 years. We competed with each other during the heyday of the Clan MacFarlane and City of Toronto Pipe Bands. He adjudicated me throughout my solo piping career. And, I adjudicated him during his long and successful leadership of the legendary Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band. During his 40 years playing at the Grade 1 level, with both the Clan MacFarlane and 78th Fraser Highlanders, Ken was part of a winning North American Championship team on 15 separate occasions. When Ken retired from active playing he made a commitment to devote his time to teaching and adjudication.
In 1985 he joined the PPBSO Adjudicators’ Panel and has become one of the greatest ambassadors for piping and pipe bands both throughout North America and the rest of the pipe band world. I’ve been so incredibly fortunate to journey with Ken on countless occasions over the last few years. And, yes, the competitive spirit always carries over into a battle for a cherished first class seat. But, I have to resign myself to the fact that Ken is the Captain and we all know where the Captain is seated on any flight. There have been so many piping trips shared with Ken that there were times when I think that Diane and Todd were starting to get a little worried. All joking aside, I’ve cherished and will continue to cherish every one of those seminars, workshops, summer camps, or adjudication assignments with Ken. Every time you are in his company, you continue to learn. He is truly a teacher’s teacher.
In 2005 Ken joined the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s adjudicators’ panel. In recognition of the depth of his pipe band pedigree, his integrity, professionalism, and the insight he brings to every single adjudication, the RSPBA has consistently assigned Ken to several of the Association’s Championships. This August will see Ken on the Friday Grade 1 March, Strathspey & Reel event at the World Pipe Band Championships.
I would describe Ken as a life long learner with an insatiable desire to understand and be able to communicate the intricacies of piping and pipe band music. This is something that has characterized him since his early days as a teenager in the 1960’s when he was making the weekly trek to the Armouries in Toronto for the much sought after lessons with the late John Wilson. And, for those of you who know him as well as I, the energy, passion, and drive for success have been directed to all aspects of his life. We just have to think back to those crazy years when he was training for Triathlon competitions. Thankfully, he now has had enough sense to focus his passion more on a good red wine and a delightful 15 year old Scapa.
Ken Eller’s generosity, inclusivity and support for players and bands at all levels are legendary. A true ‘giver’ in every sense of the word. So, please join me in thanking and congratulating The Captain on a lifetime of service to piping and pipe bands. He is one of ours and we’re so proud and honoured to have been able to share him with the world.
Friday July 15th, 2022
Bob Worrall is part of a very small group of people associated with The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario: he is an Honourary Life Member. He is also one of the most well-known faces in the piping world and he will be back in August to Glasgow to provide colour commentary for BBC Scotland’s annual broadcast of the event.
Just as it has been since 2008, the BBC will provide live-streaming of the World Pipe Band Championships on Saturday, August 13, 2022. Bob will, again, be giving the ongoing commentary over the course of the day.
It has not been confirmed yet if live-streaming will take place on Friday, August 12. In the past there has been live-streaming for the first day of the event, but without commentary. Stay tuned!
The link for the live-streamed event remains the same as in the past. For all those unable to venture to Glasgow Green and the Championships, tune in online to bbc.co.uk/worlds for a front row seat to the big event, the first since 2019!
Monday July 11th, 2022
Among the many roles that are vital to the smooth running of the competitions administered by The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society is that of contest steward. The PPBSO is currently in need of people interested in fulfilling the steward role.
While the judge assesses an event, the PPBSO steward has discretion for enforcing the rules for any solo contest (see rule B-1.4).
While stewards are needed for all our contests, the immediate need is for solo competition stewards, starting with Cambridge games, July 16, in addition to Maxville games, July 29-30.
Each steward receives an honourarium of $50, a complimentary pass for entrance to the games and has a front row seat to the day’s musical events. In this case the request is that stewards be on the field at 8:00 am and be prepared to administer competitions to mid-day.
- Be the central point for competitor “check-in”
- Ensure competitors are aware of their playing order
- Ensure competitors are aware of any unplanned changes to playing order
- Facilitate changes in playing order due to individual timing conflicts (e.g. a competitor may be required to accompany a solo drumming competitor at the same time as their scheduled piping event)
- Be a steadying presence for competitors!
Some level of highland dress is always encouraged as steward attire but this is entirely optional.
We need your help!
Tuesday July 5th, 2022
As reported to members this past April, the History & Archives committee of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario has digitized approximately 35 hours of VHS videotape. A reminder that these recordings come from a box found in the storage facility used by the PPBSO to house society documents, files and equipment. The intention is to ensure, over time, that digitized files are made available to all members.
The recordings from the 1989 grade two pipe band medley contest at the Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, Ontario are now online. The whole of the thirteen-band grade two medley contest is now available on the PPBSO’s youtube channel.
As in today’s Maxville contest, the grade two bands then played in two events: the march, strathspey and reel and medley competitions. Grade two winners are decided on overall excellence across both events.
Here’s a look back at Maxville of 1989.
We know bands, pipers and drummers are all looking forward, after two seasons away, to revisiting the storied Maxville games at the end of the month.
In the meantime, we know you will enjoy this look back!
Order of performance:
- Royal Canadian Air Force 400 Squadron, Toronto, Ontario
- Jervis Bay Memorial, Saint John, New Brunswick
- Winnipeg Legion, Manitoba
- Canadian Forces Base, Ottawa, Ontario
- Fredericton Society of St Andrews, New Brunswick
- Toronto Transit & Gray Coach, Ontario
- North Coast Caledonia, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
- Town of Newmarket, Ontario
- 48th Highlanders of Canada
- The Saffron Kilts, New York, USA
- Dartmouth & District, Nova Scotia
- Peel Regional Police, Ontario
- Schenectady, New York, USA
- Fredericton Society of St Andrew
- Town of Newmarket
- 48th Highlanders of Canada
- Toronto Transit Commission & Gray Coach
- North Coast
- Winnipeg Legion
Best base section: Toronto Transit Commission & Gray Coach