On April 25, I traveled up to Chicago with one of my students for the Terry McHugh Memorial Solo Piping Championships.
This was my first competition of the season, and it was a resounding success! I won first in both my 2/4 March event and my Strathspey/Reel event in Grade 2, and took home the overall prize. It was a long day of driving and competition, but ultimately rewarding.
For the contests, I played The Crags of Sterling for my 2/4 March, and Dorrator Bridge and The Sound of Sleat for my Strathspey/Reel. My pipes settled in very nicely for both competitions – or I was at least happy with them – after several weeks of painstakingly hunting down a reed which would tune well in my chanter. I am still not sold on it for my piobaireachd, but it assisted in providing me with a fantastic sound for the day. I was using a chanter reed made by Alastair Murray of Pennsylvania in my 1999 Naill African Blackwood chanter, and the two pair well.
Laureano Thomas-Sanchez won the Grade 1 contest, the highest level contest which was held that day. The Terry McHugh Solo Piping Championships are an Amateur contest. The judge on Saturday was Tom Weithers.
Below is a video of my 2/4 March performance of The Crags of Sterling:
And the following video is my Strathspey/Reel performance of Dorrator Bridge and The Sound of Sleat:
My next solo contest will be on May 16 in Springfield, Illinois for the Springfield Regional Highland Games. My pipe band, the Fountain Trust Pipe Band, will also be competing in a Grade IV Medley contest that same day.
Here is the Pipes/Drums Magazine report on the contest: