This weekend, the summer contest season starts here in the Midwest Pipe Band Association with the Alma Highland Games.
This year is Alma’s 50th anniversary, and they have quite the line-up of top-grade bands in attendance, plus some fantastic soloists. In the bands, the event will have three Grade 1 pipe bands, all from Canada – the 78th Fraser Highlanders, the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel, and Peel Regional Police. There are also three Grade 2 bands in attendance – Great Lakes, Greater Midwest, and Midlothian Scottish. In the open piping competition you will have names like Bruce Gandy (my teacher) and Alex Gandy. There will also be 11 Grade 1 soloists in attendance.
I personally will not be traveling to Alma for the competitions, but if you have some free time this Memorial Day weeknd, GO. Very few places in the United States gets the opportunity to hear this kind of piping, so take the opportunity while you have the chance.
My first competition this season will be at the Milwaukee Highland Games, on June 3. For the first half of the season I will not be performing in solo competitions as much as in years past – if at all. However, I have a student competing in the Grade 4 Senior Piobaireachd in Milwaukee, and I may take up the pipes for the Grade 1 March, Strathspey, and Reel competition.
Next up will be the Chicago Highland Games on June 17. This year Chicago will be the single largest contest in the Midwest. Eight Grade 2 bands will be in attendance from all across the country – from San Diego, California to Albany, New York. In Grade 3, Fountain Trust will be facing off against six other bands, including one from North Carolina. June will be rounded off with the Ohio Highland Games in Oberlin, Ohio on June 24.
There is a contest in the Twin Cities metropolitan area in Minnesota on July 15, but that is it until September, where four more contests are hosted.
First up is the Wisconsin Highland Games in Waukesha, Wisconsin over Labor Day Weekend. After Waukesha, the Indiana home contest in Columbus, Indiana takes place on September 9 at the Columbus Scottish Festival. A solo-only contest will take place on September 16 in Eminence, Kentucky at the Central Kentucky Celtic Festival & Highland Games, and the MWPBA season will round out with the St. Louis Scottish Games on September 30 in Chesterfield, Missouri.
If you’re looking for some great piping, come out to the contests this summer! If you are a competitor – good luck!