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Maxville’s North American Championships Goes Big:

Full Slate of Graded Professional Solo Piping Contests


Solo piping entries in the many contests administered by The Pipers’ & Pipe Band Society of Ontario in 2023 have experienced a big bump across piping and snare drumming grades; especially when compared to last year’s first full post-pandemic outdoor season. All games have enjoyed an up-tick in participation.

Unlike what might be typical of games in some international piping and drumming jurisdictions, solo competitions have always been a big feature of the PPBSO Highland Games experience, with the sounds of pipes and drums often filling the field as early as 8:00 am on a summer’s games day morning.

“In these last few years as president I’ve found myself occasionally hearing the question, sometimes from a games committee member, just what is the value of staging a full slate of solo competitions” said Michael Grey, PPBSO president, adding, “while I know our solo slate is a real expense for games organizers the answer is easy: solo contests are our talent pipeline to pipe bands; without solos contests the quality of piping and drumming would be diminished and our bands would suffer in a big way, and with bands weakened, so are the games.”

The Glengarry Highland Games, Maxville, Ontario, the home of the North American Championships have long been a well-organized festival of great music and Scots-Canadian culture with thousands turning up, rain or shine, to take in the experience. This year, in particular, the solo professional piping event has exploded in entries with representation from a cross-section of experts from all over North America. Pipers set to take to Glengarry’s boards include gold medallists, world champions, seasoned veterans as well as young guns looking to break-in and make their name alongside the best.

With a view to equitably manage the large 30-plus entry of professional solo pipers, Glengarry games committee representatives have partnered with the PPBSO to go the way of the large Scottish competitions, like The Argyllshire Gathering, Oban and The Northern Meeting, Inverness, to pilot the offering of a graded professional class, essentially providing a platform for seasoned experts (i.e “A grade”) and less-seasoned experts (“B grade”) to make their mark.

Said, Grey, “On behalf of the PPBSO I can’t thank our Glengarry games representatives enough; Matt Goral and Gilbert Young, at the 11th hour, these volunteer guys worked with us to make this break-through change happen. As well, in recognition of the importance of this advancement to our solo piping framework, the PPBSO’s Executive Committee has approved one-time modest funding in order to nurture this development.”

The full offering of professional solo competitions can be heard at Maxville fairgrounds on, Saturday, August 5, 2023.

Be there bright and early. There’s not a performance to be missed!

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