Piobaireachd in North America

Last week was the annual Midwest Highland Arts Fund Winter Storm competition in Kansas City, Missouri. The event features three top-flight piping competitions – two in piobaireachd and one in light music.

The list of competitors is interesting, because they are mostly quite young, and many already play with some of the top bands. Some have also competed in major solo competitions in the UK. Despite all their experience, it must still be quite intimidating to play in front of the panel of world-class pipers who were assembled to judge the competition. The formidable list included Andrew Wright (President of the Piobaireachd Society), Willie McCallum and Angus MacColl.

The Captain, Ken Eller, has generously made recordings of the three competitions available on his website, so I’ve spent the last few days listening to the prize-winning performances. The recordings show the healthy state of piobaireachd in North America, and I think anyone listening should feel optimistic about the future of the Big Music in the hands of the next generation of pipers.

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