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News and Notices

RSPBA provide information page for overseas bands

Wednesday November 16th, 2022

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association has added to its website an information page for overseas bands planning to travel to Scotland to compete. The page outlines in detail the steps a competing band must take to register, enter and compete in RSPBA contests. 

This includes joining the RSPBA, registering players and being graded, entering a competition, playing requirements, engaging transportation and accommodation, and what to do once you arrive at the band competition.

This information page should prove valuable to bands making the trek to the U.K., particularly those going for the first time. It can be found here.

New Learning Subsidy for PPBSO Amateur Drummers!

Tuesday November 15th, 2022

With an eye on the future of drumming excellence in the province, The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario has today committed to providing financial support for those amateur drumming members interested in pursuing tuition at places like workshops, seminars and summer schools.

With an annual budget currently set at $1000 the plan will see $200 learning subsidies provided to each of five solo drummers (bass, tenor or snare) to assist the financial cost of an educational session – again – like a workshop or summer school.

“We are doing what we can to allocate tight resources to developing the musicianship of our membership,” said, Jim McGillivray, Chair, PPBSO Music Committee. He added, “We recently partnered with The Piobaireachd Society to help advance our solo amateur pipers and I think this kind of initiative will help encourage our drumming community.”

“Its a modest start,” said Michael Grey, PPBSO president, “but we’ve got to start somewhere. As we encounter new funding opportunities these initiatives will naturally grow in size and scope – for both drummers and pipers.”

Interested drummers should email our administrator, Sharon Duthart, with details of their planned educational session. The subsidy will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis with final approval of the subsidy application made by the Music Committee of the PPBSO.

Barrie Highland Games, July 1987!

Sunday November 13th, 2022

The archives of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario have again been tapped. As you know, we have digitized scores of hours of the PPBSO’s VHS video from the 1980s and 1990s. Here is the latest offering, this from the well-attended games at Barrie, Ontario on Saturday, July 25, 1987. The venue was the then-famous concert location, Molson Park (now an industrial area). For those from outside of Ontario and may not know, Barrie is a city located about an hour’s drive north of Toronto and is generally considered the gateway to “cottage country”, the summer playground of southern suburban city-dwellers.

The day was a hot one, around 31 degrees Celsius. Judges visible in this video are Willie Connell, Ed Neigh and, guest judge, the famous, Ronnie Lawrie, Oban, Scotland.

It is noteworthy that the grade two medley contest featured a number of bands not starting their performances with “three-pace drum rolls to the bagpipe note ‘E'”.

Details of the playing order along with activity (and tunes) on the day can be found with the youtube video. We have a number of gaps in identifying bands. All help is appreciated in ensuring bands are recognized. Please drop a line if you recognize a band not duly noted.

A good taste of the games at Barrie, Ontario from July 25, 1987

We hope you enjoy this look and listen back. Much more to come from the History & Archives committee of the PPBSO!

Glenn Covert: Deep Thanks!

Tuesday November 1st, 2022

After a remarkable 20 years as a member of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s highland games stewarding team, with the last 10 of those years as Chief Steward, Glenn Covert has decided to step down from the role. Said, Glenn, “I have enjoyed my tenure greatly,  meeting and making hundreds of friends over the years”, adding, “I wish to thank everyone that I have been associated with and worked with over the years”.

The role of a games steward is critical to the success of any highland games – anywhere. And the Chief Steward, the “steward of the stewards”, is pivotal to the success of any contest. “The Chief Steward is, like so many of the administrative roles of this organization, often thankless and under-appreciated, yet Glenn put his heart into the task at hand, of ensuring our games were set-up with all the must-have parts in place to run the events we all love”, said Michael Grey, PPBSO president. “Whomever steps up to fill the vacant role will have big brogues to fill. On behalf of members of the PPBSO and our partner games committees I sincerely thank Glenn for his diligence, dedication and unwavering commitment to ensuring we have a place to play”.

The PPBSO wishes Glenn and his partner, Catherine, also a familiar supporter and steward of our games, all the very best and look forward to seeing their friendly faces at future PPBSO events.

Thank you, Glenn and Catherine!

PPBSO 75th Anniversary Ceilidh!

Monday October 24th, 2022

Over 150 people gathered in Kingston, Ontario, to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario. The Senior Staff Mess at the historic Royal Military College on the shores of Lake Ontario proved an ideal venue for the event. Championship Supreme winners received their awards and a number of impromptu piping and drumming performances added to the fun.

Hadrian’s Wall were in fine form and were a great high energy soundtrack to the evening.

The evening also marked the first time a number of new perpetual or “challenge” trophies were presented in a number of Championship Supreme categories. A list of trophies still available for sponsorship can be found here.

Congratulations to the 2022 Championship Supreme winners! Get practicing for the 2023 season!

The George Sherriff Memorial Invitational is Back!

Wednesday October 19th, 2022

The George Sherriff Memorial Invitational Competition is back! After its cancelation in 2020 and going online in 2021, the event is returning ‘live’ on November 19, 2022. It’s the 26th year for the contest and it’s shaping up to be a spectacular feast of piping. Many previous winners of The Sherriff have gone on to win some of the most prestigious professional prizes offered in the world!

As in the past, the location is St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, an official Canadian Historic Site, in downtown Hamilton. A visually impressive and acoustically stunning venue for any solo piping event.

The competition will feature ten of the finest amateur pipers from throughout Canada and the United States. Check out their bios on the George Sherriff website. This year’s adjudicators will be John Cairns, Ann Gray, and Roddy MacLeod MBE. The MC for the event will the the President of the PPBSO, Michael Grey. 

The contest is comprised of three separate events. The 6/8 Marches will kick off at 10 a.m., with the Piobaireachd event commencing at 12:30 p.m., and the March, Strathspey & Reel performances starting at approximately 7:30 p.m. The presentation of awards will take place at the conclusion of the evening event. 

Sponsorship is key to the success of this prestigious competition. Visit our website to see the list of individuals, bands, companies, and organizations who have stepped forward to lend financial support or contribute prizes to this year’s contest. All sponsors, including all members of contributing bands, gain full admission to the event. Supporters to date are listed in the Sherriff website.

It’s still not too late to lend some financial support. Make your cheque payable to the George Sherriff Invitational and mail it to Bob Worrall at 1316 Monmouth Drive, Burlington, ON L7P 3J6. Please send an email to Bob at to indicate your financial support.

All key information surrounding the contest can be found on the website.

Can you be an adjudicator?

Monday October 17th, 2022

The Music Committee is gearing up for another off-season of judges’ training and certification, consisting of sessions on solo piping, band piping, solo drumming, band drumming, piobaireachd and ensemble.

We invite those who qualify and who wish to become part of our judges’ panel to apply by the end of this month.

Qualifications for adjudicators are listed in the rule book, page 8, section B-10 and forward. The rule book can be found here.

Applications should be in the hands of the Music Committee Chair no later than October 30.  Please send your application to:  jimmcg@piping.on.ca

Jim McGillivray

Chair, Music Committee

The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario

Jim McGillivray, Georgetown Highland Games (78th Fraser Highlanders in background)

Generous New Solo Piping Bursary Announced!

Saturday October 15th, 2022

The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario is delighted to announce a new annual bursary for solo piping. The Lillian Livingstone Solo Amateur Piobaireachd Bursary will be awarded annually to the winner of the Championship Supreme award for senior amateur piobaireachd. The winner will receive $3000 to allow for travel and other expenses incurred in the pursuit of piobaireachd knowledge. 

Said Lillian Livingstone, “I decided that our amateurs need some incentive to further support their study of this great music and so we’re creating this bursary”,  she added, “The bursary is intended to be used for the study of piobaireachd under the tuition of a respected expert or experts, institution or facility devoted to the study and preservation of ceol mor and such individual or institution is to be approved by the Music Committee of the PPBSO”.

“This is a remarkably generous and outstanding gesture and one that will without doubt have a material impact on the piping career of any lucky recipient,” said Michael Grey, PPBSO president, adding, “On behalf of the PPBSO and its members I want to offer sincere and heartfelt thanks to Lillian Livingstone; a bursary of this kind is a first for us and speaks to many good things, including the Livingstone’s faith in – and support of – the Society”.

The first recipient of the Lillian Livingstone Solo Amateur Piobaireachd Bursary is Kayleigh Johnstone. She will receive this and her Championship Supreme recognition at the PPBSO’s Diamond Anniversary Ceilidh this coming Saturday, October 22, at the Royal Military College in Kingston. 

Here’s to Lillian Livingstone! And Congratulations, Kayleigh!

Lillian Livingstone with husband, Bill (Photo from Belfast, Northern Ireland)
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