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The competition winners at the new venue of Bruntsfield Primary School

Competition moves into a different class

Jim Gilchrist attended the Society’s 23rd annual LBPS competition on Saturday, 8 April, in its new Edinburgh venue.

A SPACIOUS, high-windowed classroom in Edinburgh’s Bruntsfield Primary School provided an airy new venue for the Society’s annual competition, staged once again under the umbrella of Edinburgh’s “Ceilidh Culture” festival. To my ears, the piping came over loud and clear, but it was frequently difficult or impossible to make out the competitors’ names as they were announced, not to mention many of the tune titles introduced by them, suggesting the need for the competition officials in particular to announce things more clearly.

Having been an LBPS member for long enough to be able to remember the earliest of these competitions, but not having attended one for a few years, it was gratifying to note the healthy numbers of entries to all classes (except the novice) and the often high playing standard.

As usual, competitors tended to fall into two clear categories: the majority who played basi- cally Highland piping style (and as often as not Highland pipe tunes, traditional or contem- porary), on bellows pipes, and those who favoured Lowland and Border repertoire, very occasionally using a covered fingering style.


There were some cracking sets of jigs, reels and hornpipes, from the Highland pipe reper- toire, although it was also nice to hear a fine “resurrected” Border tune like The New Way to Bowden being given brisk treatment. The win- ners are listed below, but a few things caught my fancy.

In the “Pipe and Song” class, It was good to hear Robert Tannahill’s fine song Are Ye Sleepin’ Maggie, sung here by Judy Barker while accompanying herself on smallpipes and at times harmonising nicely (she took first place), and I also enjoyed Tasmanian John Bushby’s entry, which took second place, sing- ing Calum and Rory Macdonald’s Cearcal A Chuain (“The Ocean's Cycle”) - a song, much favoured these days by Gaelic choirs, rather than Lowland pipers. I also took a certain

nepotistic interest in George Greig’s (unplaced) entry in the “New Composition”, a sprightly 2/4 pipe march he had written to welcome my brother, the Reverend Ewen Gil- christ, to his new parish in Cults, Aberdeenshire.

Unperturbed by a sudden rain storm that rattled the windows, Jock Agnew came second in the “Seasoned Pipers” class, but his mind-bogglingly eccentric performance brought the house down, and prompted the question as to whether there should be a class for playing two sets of small pipes at once every year, or would it pose a health hazard? “Looks like a bladder transplant,” muttered one bemused onlooker as the bold Jock, armed with one bel- lows but with a pipe bag tucked under each arm and a chanter in each hand, elbowed out Kenmure‘s Up and Awa’ as it had almost certainly never been played before. No marks for finesse, but certainly the Harry Houdini Contortionists Prize for sheer ingenuity. Rumour has it that next year he plans to do it while singin’, dancin’ and wrestlin’ a boa constrictor....

The “Open Solo for Smallpipes” showed a broad (if perhaps difficult for the judges) range of approach, from some interesting Highland strathspeys to the intricate variations (on a very quiet chanter) from the Dixon MS played by Pete Stewart. Following the prize-giving. Nigel Richard, the Society’s chairman, presented a silver quaich to the outgoing treasurer, Nigel Bridges, in token of his valuable work.

2006 competition results :

Intermediate - The Julian Goodacre Trophy (5 entries, judge: Julian Goodacre)

  • Steven Blake - Martyn Bennett, Immigrant Crossing, Traditional Jigs
  • Tom Dingwall - The Maggie, Angus John’s Fancy, Moonshine
  • John Bushby - The New Way to Bowden


Pipe and song - The Jimmy Wilson Memorial Cup (2 entries, judge: Julian Goodacre)

1. Judy Barker - Are Ye Sleepin’ Maggie 2. John Bushby - The Ocean’s Cycle

New composition - The London Trophy (8 entries, judge: Hamish Moore)

  • Matt Seattle - Julie and Ann’s Wedding Waltz Steven Blake - Louise Blake 3. Pete Stewart - 23rd of January

Duet for pipes and other instrument - Dunferm- line Tassies (5 entries, judge: Nigel

Richard)  1. Lee Moore and Steve Reid - Granny Duncan, Colin’s Favourite, Duncan Johnstone

  • Jean-Luc Lefaurier and Nigel Richard -

Farewell to Nigg, Thunderhead

  • John and Caroline Bushby - Catherine McKay of Tarbat Ness, The Dewars of Troon

Seasoned pipers - The Nigel Richard Trophy (5 entries, judge: Nigel Richard) 1. Alex Barty - Song

for the Small Pipe, Aspen Bank, Sleepy Maggie 2. Jock Agnew - Morag of Dunvegan, Ken- mure’s Up and Awa 3. David Hannay - Sorbie Tower, Kirkdale House

Novice - The Heriot and Allan Quaich (1 entry, judge: Julian Goodacre) 1. Chris Cooke - Kerry’s Welcome to the Dene

Open solo for Scottish small pipes - Colin Ross Trophy (7 entries, judge: Gary West) 1. Lee Moore - Montgomery’s Maggot, Donald Willie and his Dog, The Duck 2. Ewan Whit- more - Snug in the Blanket, Green Ivy, Donegal Lass, Bouncing of the Clouds 3. George Greig - Macleod’s, Change House, Miss Drummond of Perth, Rothiemurchus Rant, Fill the Stoup

Duet for pipes - Mains Castle Medals (5 entries , judge: Gary West) 1. Hamish Moore and Dave Finlay - Father John MacMillan of Barra, Irene Meldrum’s Farewell to Bon accord

2. Sean Jones and Clive Matthews - Sun Spotting 3. Tom Dingwall and Jeannie Campbell -

Rowan Tree, Bloody Fields of Flanders, Steam Boat, Scarce o’ Tatties

Open solo for lowland/border pipes - Hamish Moore Cup (5 entries, judge: Hamish Moore) 1. Christian Tewordt - Brasle d’Ecosse, Miss Shepherd, Lord Ramsay, Drummond Castle, The Seagull 2. (joint placing) Jean-Luc Lefaurier - Cullen Bay, Oviedo, Moonshine

  • (joint placing) Malcolm McInnes - John McDonald of Glencoe, Donald Maclean’s Fare- well to Oban