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Ottawa’s Glengarry Cup Event a Big Success!

Sunday September 25th, 2022

On Saturday, September 24, the Ottawa Branch of The Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario held the Glengarry Cup. This event marked the first in person event for the association since February 2020 and drew a crowd of almost 100, filling the room at the Army Officers’ Mess, in Ottawa. The event was held this weekend as it coincides with the National Police and Peacekeepers Memorial events on Parliament Hill, which brings in police pipe bands from outside the area.

Karine Mayers, Ottawa Branch president shared that “it was so wonderful to see the community gathered once again and welcome these performers from across the province.”

The Glengarry Cup has been awarded since the 1980s when it was donated by the Glengarry Pipe Band. Past winners include Bruce Gandy, Colin MacLellan, Michael Grey, Andrew Hayes, Rob Crabtree, Andrea Boyd, Matt MacIsaac and many others.

Twelve competitors played a march, strathspey and reel of their own choice and the judge was Michael Grey, president of the PPBSO.

  1. Ian K. MacDonald (MacLean of Pennycross, Maggie Cameron, John Morrison of Assynt House)
  2. Andrea Boyd (John MacDonald’s Welcome to South Uist, Lady Louden, Fiona MacLeod)
  3. Daniel Carr (The Lochaber Gathering, The Shepherd’s Crook, Charlie’s Welcome)
  4. Jacob Dicker (Jeannie Carruthers, The Caledonian Society of London, The Little Cascade)
  5. Tyler Bridge (Tyrone Heade, The Top of Craig Venow, Cronan’s reel)
  6. Aidan Bowen (Morag Ramsay, The Islay Ball, Mrs MacPherson of Inveran)

Also competing but not placing were: Amy Garson, Tyler Harris, Kate Kimove, Liam Melville, MacGregor van de Ven, Dylan Whittemore.

Following a short recital of tunes from Michael Grey an impromptu ceilidh followed with about a half dozen competing pipers adding much to the great occasion, thanks, in part to Ian K MacDonald’s bagpipes!

Ian K MacDonald (centre) wins the 2022 Glengarry Cup with PPBSO Ottawa Branch president, Karine Mayers and Michael Grey

New National Piping Centre Archive Open for All!

Wednesday September 7th, 2022

Scotland’s national centre for excellence in bagpiping has launched a new, free to access digital resource and research hub. The Archives from The National Piping Centre will protect the heritage and legacy of piping in Scotland and make valuable pieces of piping history available for students, scholars and enthusiasts around the world.

The Archives from The National Piping Centre holds digitised copies of five influential piping periodicals dating back to 1948 – Piping Times, Piping Today, The International Piper, Piper and Dancer and Notes from the Piping Centre – as well as photograph galleries of piping through the years.

It also incorporates The Centre’s Noting the Tradition oral history archive, which holds recorded interviews with people involved in piping at all levels and all over Scotland over the past 50 years.

Available to access at archives.thepipingcentre.co.uk, The Archives from The National Piping Centre keeps the legacy of these publications, information, conversations, images and other materials alive and makes them more easily accessible than ever before.

The British Library and website developers Mucky Puddle provided digital expertise to complete the project and it was all made possible by a hugely successful crowdfunding campaign launched last year.

An incredible £33,500 [$50,750 CAD] was donated by piping fans from right around the globe, allowing the Centre to complete the mammoth task of digitising the titles and launching the new platform within a year.

The National Piping Centre now plans to continue adding to the resource and is encouraging piping fans with historic materials related to piping to share them so they can be utilised for research purposes and preserved for future generations.

The National Piping Centre’s Director of Piping, Finlay MacDonald, said: “With this new online resource, the legacy of the piping in Scotland which is recorded in vital publications, interviews and photographs, can live on. The contents of this remarkable archive will continue to educate and inform pipers, fans and researchers the world over.

“What is so exciting about this project is that it has the potential to grow and accommodate various sources of information provided not just by us, but by the global piping community. We would encourage researchers or enthusiasts who think they have something to add to The Archives from The National Piping Centre to please get in touch.

“The creation of this resource was a big task, but it was also extremely important. We are so grateful to all those who helped us reach our crowdfunder target, and those who, like us, recognise the importance of championing the history and heritage of piping.”

Head of Piping Studies at The National Piping Centre, John Mulhearn, said: “The history recorded in The National Piping Centre’s magazine and oral history archives is of great value to the international piping community. Students and scholars of the bagpipe deserve, and will greatly benefit from, the access granted to them through The Archives from The National Piping Centre project. In making this resource accessible, and allowing piping enthusiasts globally to contribute, we hope to open up new conversations and opportunities for learning.”

The periodicals – and the important information and data they hold – have been completely digitised and are held by the British Library and searchable on the new online platform.

Piping Times and Piping Today together record over 70 years of piping history and were recognised internationally as the most significant source of piping information, opinion and news. Both were forced to cease publication in 2020, however, due to the unprecedented financial challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Archives from The National Piping Centre can be accessed at archives.thepipingcentre.co.uk.

Northern Meeting, Inverness to be live-streamed September 1st

Monday August 29th, 2022

Since 1788 The Northern Meeting has been held each year in Inverness, Scotland. The annual gathering has always featured piping as a central part of the schedule of events. The Northern Meeting, or “Inverness”, as it is known today to competing pipers, describes one of its central purposes “is to support and encourage the traditional music of The Highlands”.

This year two of the premier events of Inverness will be live-streamed, both on Thursday, September 1, 2022: The Gold Medal piobaireachd competition, beginning at 8:30 AM (BST) [3:30 AM (EDT)], live from the auditorium of The Eden Court theatre and, following the Gold Medal on the same stage at approximately 5:00 PM (BST) [12:00 PM (EDT)], the Former Winners, March, Strathspey & Reel event.

Tickets can be purchased here.

Entry to the competition is restricted to those of the highest calibre and the bar is set high with only around 100 competitors selected to take part in the various events. These include the classic Piobaireachd, March, Strathspey and Reel and Hornpipe & Jig events.

As has been the case for every year since the early 1970s there are members of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario participating in piping contests at Inverness. This year member participants include Jacob Dicker, Andrew Hayes, Sean McKeown, Ian K MacDonald and Alistair Murray.

This year Jim McGillivray, Chair of the PPBSO Music Committee, will join Bruce Hitchings, MBE and Ronnie McShannon to judge the Gold Medal contest. Michael Grey, PPBSO president will sit on the bench judging the Former Winners March, Strathspey & Reel event alongside Ian Duncan and Stuart Samson, MBE.

Independent of the NM Society, the Northern Meeting Piping Trust is responsible for the NM Piping Competition which is run by the NM Piping Committee whose members include distinguished pipers, members of the Inverness Committee of the Highland Council and members of the Northern Meeting Society.

Newest PPBSO Championship Supreme award: The Robert J Worrall Pro Light Music trophy!

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.

Bob Worrall receives the new Championship Supreme Trophy: The Robert J Worrall Trophy for Professional Light Music , presented by Michael Grey on behalf of sponsors, McCallum Bagpipes of Kilmarnock, Scotland
A close-up of the custom-made silver and gold 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 … 

PPBSO Lifetime Achievement Award: Hugh Cameron

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.  

Hugh Cameron receives his his Lifetime Achievement Award from Jim Sim on behalf of PPBSO members (Photo courtesy of Lindsay McIntosh-Mainville)
Hugh Cameron (L) and Colin MacLellan PPBSO Lifetime Achievement Award recipients presented at Glengarry Highland Games, July 30, 2022 (Photo courtesy of Lindsay McIntosh-Mainville)

PPBSO Life Achievement award: Colin MacLellan

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.

Colin MacLellan receives his PPBSO Life Achievement award from Michael Grey (photo courtesy: Courtesy of Lindsay McIntosh-Mainville)

Solo Contests: Competitor Reminder

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!

Tuning limits: 3 minutes light music and 5 minutes for piobaireachd

PPBSO Life Achievement award: Ken Eller

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.

Ken Eller (right) accepts his award (photos: Michele Curtis)
PPBSO Branches

PPBSO Office

President: Michael Grey
Vice President: Kevin Shand
Secretary: Michele Curtis
Treasurer: John Allen

Administration

Administrator: Sharon Duthart
Chief Steward: Glenn Covert
Ombudsman: Ken Eller

Niagara/Hamilton