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The Place, the People, the Piping, all added up to a very successful annual competition, hosted by the Lowland and Border Pipers’ Society, and linked to the Edinburgh Folk Festival. Jock Agnew reports . . .

It was worth travelling a long way to attend - the 1992 Annual LBPS piping competition, and some people did. American and English and Flemish and Irish accents could be heard amongst the half hundred or so people in the hall. And of course there was no shortage of home-grown enthusiasts.

‘The atmosphere and the organisation and the players all combined to make the afternoon exactly as it should be, an assortment of good humoured, entertaining and informative demonstrations - rather than a flexing of competitive piping muscle.

‘There were over 35 entries in the seven categories - and not a category that wasn't worth sitting down and listening to. All were well supported with the exception of the Duet for Pipes. A single player entered (and of course won) this class after the audience had been balloted to allow a duet to be played on a single bagpipe with a double chanter!

In fact throughout the afternoon the audience took part in the judging - as has been the case in previous years. Asked to consider only the degree of enjoyment given by music and player, random members of the audience are given a card to mark. These are added to the points given by the judge (and judging was carried out at various times by lain MacInnes, Andy Hunter, Hamish Moore, and Gordon Mooney) the total result establishing the order. It seemed a pity, in most cases, that any such order had to be decided upon; but there were trophies to be won and certificates to be handed out.

18 Pipers competed. And in the five entries for “Pipes and other Instrument’, the pipes were variously combined with Clarinet, Fiddle, Viola, Guitar, and Concertina.

Some familiar tunes were played, some new tunes were played, and some familiar tunes were played in a new way. There was a sonata and there was the “Japanese National Anthem” (though it probably lost something in the translation)! One of the entrants in “Pipe and Song” achieved some impressive harmonies between voice and instrument. And in the

"Small Pipes Open" one contestant played pipes modelled on the Montgomery set (see COMMON STOCK No. 6) which had a sweet vibrant sound pitched somewhere near Eb.

So to the results:-

The NOVICE competition was won by Matt Seattle, playing “The Parson and his Boots” followed by his own composition “Lindisfarne”. Second was Douglas Hunter: third Iain McGee.

ORIGINAL COMPOSITION was won by Jock Agnew with the dance tune "I've Lost My Sgian Dhu”. Second was Lindsay Davidson with “Sonata No. 4". ‘Third Jon Swayne with the reel “Allemain”.

DUET FOR PIPES went to Julian Goodacre with “The Mill The Mill O” and "The Keel Row’. ‘This was played with harmonies that were intricately fingered on a double chanter.

DUET FOR PIPES AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS; First Jan Vanoutrive accompanied

Philip Masure on the guitar playing “Sir John Fenwick”, “Pumpkin’s Fancy”, a jig and “Rocking The Baby”. Second Manuel Trucco with John Levine on the Clarinet. Third Andy Hunter with Davy Lockhart on the Viola.

PIPE AND SONG was won by David Robertson with “Dowie Dens o Yarrow”. Second Laura MacKenzie. Third David Stevenson.

SMALL PIPES OPEN was won by Iain MacInnes playing “Tulloch Gorum’, “Willie Wassel”, “I’ll Gae nae mair tae Yon Toon”, “Jacky Latin” and “Wee Totum Fogg”. Second was Hugh MacDairmid. Third Lindsay Davidson,

LOWLAND BORDER PIPES OPEN SOLO First Jon Swayne with a Song air, "Woo’d And Married And A”, "Drink The Worts and Spill the Beer". Second Andy Hunter. Third Jock Agnew.

Finally, the OVERSEAS section (introduced for the first time this year) was won by Bill Telfer in Hong Kong, second Malcolm McLaren from Tasmania. ‘These had been submitted on tape in advance, and judged by the Committee a week earlier. The winning set included "Dowie Dens of Yarrow’; “Jacky Latin” (with variations); "Wha should a guid man lie"; “Drops of Brandy”.

Without doubt a successful Competition. And with the relaxed philosophy of allowing the Music 10 stretch into areas not normally considered to be Lowland or Border, the playing and enjoyment of the Cauld Wind pipes must inevitably widen. And surely, as it would have done in days gone by, the music most suited to the instrument will rise to the top and beckon the way ahead.