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G5 - The South American Pipe Band Championships
September 4 7, 2013
With the Cowal Gathering just over, Joe and Lynn Noble and myself were on planes headed for Buenos Aires, Argentina on Monday, September 2. Arriving by separate carriers, we were whisked away to our hotel for the week, the Ramada Inn in Vicente Lopez, a suburb of Buenos Aires. Ironically, as quickly as we were met at the arrivals, the trip to the hotel took in excess of 90 minutes traffic thicker than a herd of buffalo at a watering hole! Bumper to bumper and stopped all the way With close to 13 million residents in the area, this has to be one of the most congested urban centers in the world!
The arrival behind us, we were joined by our new friend, dancing instructor Tony Cargill and we settled in for a few days of Argentinean BBQs (asados), band workshops and judging of the G5 the fifth South American summit for pipe bands.
Ken Eller, Tony Cargill and Joe Noble
Ken Eller overseeing the parrilla at the asado hosted by George and his wife Yvonne
Our hosts for the G5 were the members of the Highland Thistle Pipe Band Ernesto (Lead Drummer) and his father Ralph Ayling, who took us all out for a fabulous luncheon, Paula Martin (dance coordinator), Oscar Llobenes (Pipe Major),and band members like Paula, Gus and Chus, who assisted with transportation every day.
Javier Olivera (Chus), Cyril and Ralph Ayling and grandson Pat Schmidt-Liermann
All work and no play is not a recipe for enjoying oneself. Needless to say, we toured this fabulous city, did some shopping and even managed at midday asado in Tigre, a resort area down the River Plate.
Joe sitting down to his noon feast in an outdoor cafe in Tigre
I cant believe he ate the whole thing!
Joe, his wife Lynn and Tony (back seat) on the open-air top of the yellow city tour bus
History is everywhere, as traditionally uniformed guards preside over church crypts, monuments, national banks and government buildings
The downtown of Buenos Aires boasts wide avenues and old and new architecture as many of the pre-revolutionary buildings have been preserved alongside modern high risers
Next up, the bands, the workshops and the G5 main event.
2010 George Sherriff Memorial Contest
For the 15th year, the George Sherriff Memorial Competition was held yesterday in Hamilton, Ontario. This edition brought 12 of the best amateur players from all corners of North America to play in 3 contests - a morning (submit 2), 6-8 March - an afternoon (submit 3) Piobaireachd and an evening (submit 2) MSR event. This was a true marathon for the competitors as well as the distinguished panel of adjudicators - Murray Henderson (Scotland), Terry Lee (BC) and Peter Aumonier (ON). MC for the event was Ed Neigh, who often stole the show with so much history and serious or humorous anecdotes on the tunes and their composers. Truly this was a complete day! Emerging as the 2010 Sherriff overall winner was Andrew Laird from Winnipeg, MB. As Bob Worrall indicated in the prize presentation, it was certainly a "horse race" between Andrew and the runner-up, Glenn Walpole of Tiverton, ON with Andrew winning the Piobaireachd and Glenn taking top honors in the MSR. The 6-8 went to Bobby Durning (Milltown,NJ), the 2008 overall winner.
Listen to the winning performances:
Piobaireachd - The MacGregor's Salute
Piobaireachd - The Massacre of Glencoe
Winter Storm 2010
Gold Medal Champion
Andrew Lee(left), receiving Gold medal from R. G. Hardie's Alastair Dunn
Listen to Andrew playing The Big Spree
Silver Medal Champion
Brian MacKenzie, Seattle, Washington
Playing The Lament for Mary MacLeod
Ceol Beag Champion
James P. Troy receiving the Henderson Medal from Jim Moore, owner of Henderson's Imports
Listen to Jamie's winning Light Music Performance
The 2009 George Sherriff Memorial Competition
The 14th annual George Sherriff Memorial was held in Hamilton, ON on Saturday, November 21, 2009. As always, the crew of volunteers spearheaded by event organizer Bob Worrall did a splendid job, bringing professionalism to this major amateur event - great ambience in St. Paul's Presbyterian Church - superb playing and listening conditions with a concert-like atmosphere The enthusiastic audience was treated to light music and piobaireachd by 10 performers from as far away as Hong Kong, Oregon, Washington State, New Jersey, Maine and Texas. Ontario and Nova Scotia pipers represented Canada.
The panel of adjudicators represented the best in competitive and musical experience. Jack Lee from Surrey, BC; Reay MacKay from Orillia, ON; Stuart Liddell from Inverary, Scotland.
With wins in the 6/8 March and Piobaireachd events, the overall winner went to Richard Gillies of Portland, Oregon. while winner of the MSR was Houston, Texas resident, Anthony Masterson.
Richard Gillies Anthony Masterson
Listen to Richard Gillies' winning Piobaireachd The MacLeod's Salute
Listen to Richard Gillies' winning 6/8 marches Cameron MacFadyen and The Heights of Casino
Listen to Anthony Masterson's winning MSR Pipe Major Willie MacLean, The Doune of Invernochty and The Blackberry Bush
The day was filled with many other excellent performances. In my opinion, the standard was as high as ever, thus making the task of adjudicating quite daunting. I congratulate the judges on selecting Liz Dunsire's A Flame of Wrath for Squinting Patrick, second in the piobaireachd event.
Perhaps the best sounding bagpipe of all belonged to Thomas Harrington of Glenholme, Nova Scotia. A rich harmonic blend of chanter and drones resonated throughout his MacKay's Banner and for this he was rewarded with third prize in the piobaireachd.
The 2008 Champion, Bobby Durning from Milltown, NJ was not to be denied. A fourth in the piobaireachd, third in the 6/8 march and a second in the MSR secured him second place overall. Listen to his MSR, The Knightswood Ceilidh, Caber Feidh and Broadford Bay.
One of the pleasant surprises of the evening was the presentation of the George Sherriff Memorial trophy and banner to Richard Gillies. The presenters were Jamie Sherriff, grandson of George and his son, Tyler (great grandson)
Pipes Donated by McCallum Bagpipes, Kilmarnock, Scotland
Drawing the unenviable position of playing first on in the first contest fell to Glenn Walpole of Tiverton, Ontario. For his initial performance in the Sherriff, he played an excellent selection of 6/8 marches early in the morning. His "John MacColl's Farewell to the Scottish Horse and Dr. Ross's 50th Welcome to the Argyllshire Gathering" gained him the fourth place nod in the 6/8 march contest.
Fifth place in the piobaireachd went to Brendan Culver making his debut at the Sherriff. He acquitted himself well with the Lament for the Viscount of Dundee. If there was a prize for preparation in the tuning room for your performance on stage, Brendan would most assuredly take top honours. He presented himself to the judges with pipes in tune, a small play down and then right into the Viscount... most impressive.
And finally, the Captain's Corner award for teacher of the year - unanimous selection by the committee!
It must go to Bruce Gandy with three students in the Sherriff - Richard Gillies (The Champion), Thomas Harrington and Chris Lee (Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong). Congratulations Bruce on setting high standards and to your students for attaining them!
Bruce Gandy and Andrew Berthoff, Editor, PD Online
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