Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First-Ever Online Piping Competition Final Results & Wrap-Up

Last month, we announced the world's first-ever online piping competition and the response was incredible!  Pipers from six continents sent in over 100 entries in thirteen events in six competitive grades.  In a first-of-its-kind event, pipers submitted their competition tunes via YouTube video recording or audio recording. The recordings were compiled and sent to our panel of top-level adjudicators (each one a world-class piper), who listened to each recording and wrote a detailed sheet of comments for each competitor.  The list of prizewinners in each event was posted as the results came back from the judges, along with the videos from many of the winners.

The competition was a great opportunity for many pipers to compete, to gain valuable feedback from the judges, and to participate in the wider piping community.   Many of the pipers live in places that require long distance travel to get to traditional competition locations.  Several pipers (including some of the prizewinners) competed for the first time!

The feedback from the competitors has been very positive and I'm pleased to announce that the next Online Piping Competition is planned for April 2011.  Sign up to be notified when more details are available.

Some comments from the competitors:
"I think that online competition is a great idea, allowing players to compete with each other disregarding distance." 
"The online competition is an absolutely fantastic idea and you all did a great job. I got my first sheet yesterday and am very enthused about it. The critique is very constructive." 
"This was great! It's a great way to keep tunes going in the off season!" 
"I think overall it's a fantastic idea.  Information has been updated regularly, and I look forward to the next online competition."  
"Watching videos the winners and other successful participants gave me some new ideas for better piping."
The overall winners were determined by the highest total placings in the two events in each competition level.   Each overall winner receives a $50 scholarship gift certificate that can be used at any of the family of websites, including,, or

In addition, each overall winner receives a free membership to the new expanded and improved 30 Day Practice Challenge for March 2011.  The 30 Day Practice Challenge is a month-long online piping school based on the simple goal to practice every day for 30 days.   Each day, pipers will receive an email with a daily challenge and a specific focus for the day inlcuding educational tips, sheet music for tunes and exercises, mp3s, audio recordings, videos, live call-in question and answer sessions, and more.  Pipers of all skill levels will have the opportunity to discuss their progress by sharing video and audio files with the group.  Learn more and sign up for the 30 Day Practice Challenge. Online Competition Overall Prizewinners:

Grade 1: David MacNeil - Canada
Grade 2: Ernesto Góngora Acosta - Mexico
Grade 3: Colleen Poe - USA
Grade 4: Bill Urquhart - USA
Grade 5: George Low - USA
Beginner: Fred Arnold - Canada

Best Background: Peter Schmidt - USA
Best Dress & Deportment: Bill Urquhart - USA
Best Video Quality: Kevin McSwiggan - USA

Some videos of the prizewinners:

David MacNeil's winning Grade 1 Jig:

Colleen Poe's winning Grade 3 2/4 March:

Bill Urquhart's winning Grade 4 Strathspey & Reel.
Bill also won the prize for Best Dress & Deportment.

George Low's winning Grade 5 Slow Air:

Peter Schmidt's video won the prize for Best Background:

The complete list of prizewinners:

Event 01 - Beginner Slow Air (practice chanter)
1. Frederick Arnold - Canada
2. John Hanlon - Scotland
3. John Taylor - USA
Judge: James MacHattie of Prince Edward Island, Canada - Canadian Gold Medal Winner and Director of Piping at Canada's world-famous College of Piping
3 competitors

Event 02 - Beginner March (practice chanter)
1. Frederick Arnold - Canada
2. John Hanlon - Scotland
Judge: Andrew P. Hayes of Ottawa, Canada -  Inverness Gold Medal Winner 2010
2 competitors

Event 03 - Grade 5 Slow Air
1. George Low - USA
2. Russell Prewitt - USA
3. Matthias Kuehn - Switzerland
4. John Bergen - Canada
5. Kuno Zimmermann - Switzerland
Judge: Alan Bevan of Abbotstford, Canada -  Inverness Gold Medal Winner 2008
9 competitors

Event 04 - Grade 5 2/4 March
1. Karen Webb - Australia
2. George Low - USA
3. Russell Prewitt - USA
4. Guido Riedemann - Germany
5. Kuno Zimmermann - Switzerland
6. Brian Pack - USA
Judge: James MacHattie
7 competitors

Event 05 - Grade 4 2/4 March
1. Bill Urquhart - USA
2. John Campbell - Wales
3. Carraig New - USA
4. Matthias Kuehn - Switzerland
Judge: Alan Bevan
7 competitors

Event 06 - Grade 4 Strathspey & Reel
1. Bill Urquhart - USA
2. Henrik Idoff Hornhaver - Denmark
3. Carraig New - USA
4. John Campbell - Wales
5. Alexander Radionov - Russia
Judge: James MacHattie
5 competitors

Event 07 – Grade 3 2/4 March
1. Colleen Poe - USA
2. Kevin McSwiggan - USA
3. Ramsey Blissex - USA
4. Irene Alcántara - Mexico
5. Victor Serrano - Mexico
6. David Hester - USA
Judge: Andrew P. Hayes
7 competitors

Event 08 - Grade 3 Strathspey & Reel
1. Ramsey Blissex - USA
2. Kevin McSwiggan - USA
3. Colleen Poe - USA
4. Gwendolen Rowe - USA
Judge: Alan Bevan
6 competitors

Event 09 – Grade 2 March, Strathspey & Reel
1. Andrew Yu - Hong Kong
2. Claus Reiss - Denmark
3. Andrew Donlon - USA
4. Ernesto Góngora Acosta - Mexico
5. Kyle Banta - Canada
6. Nicola Sharp - Australia
Judge: Andrew P. Hayes
9 competitors

Event 10 - Grade 2 Jig
1. Ernesto Góngora Acosta - Mexico
2. Nicola Sharp - Australia
3. Claus Reiss - Denmark
4. Andrew Donlon - USA
5. Miranda Boath - Australia
6. Jonathan McIntyre - Australia
Judge: James MacHattie
9 competitors

Event 11 - Grade 1 March, Strathspey & Reel
1. Kirk Brunson - USA
2. Graham Thompson - USA
3. David MacNeil - Canada
4. William Woods - USA
5. Graeme McCombe - Canada
6. Ryan Morrison - USA
Judge: Alan Bevan
11 competitors

Event 12 – Grade 1 Jig
1. David MacNeil - Canada
2. Graeme McCombe - Canada
3. Graham Thompson - USA
4. Ryan Morrison - USA
5. Ross Wilson - Canada
6. William Woods - USA
Judge: Andrew P. Hayes
11 competitors

[Aggregate winners were determined by British Columbia Pipers Association Rules: 1st = 88 points, 2nd = 56 points, 3rd = 38 points, 4th = 25 points, 5th = 16 points, sixth = 10 points.]

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