Last Saturday, we visited the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, a town north of Cornwall, Ontario. Although Maxville is of modest size, it boasts Highland Games of some renown, featuring the North American Pipe Band Championships and formidable massed pipe bands. I had thought we might attend the evening tattoo, but time got away on me and I missed the Friday night event. Instead, we stopped in for a few hours on Saturday to watch a bit of the pipe band competition. The Mounties above were leading a Parade of the Clans.
My knowledge of pipe band competitions quickly leapt forward from nothing to a little bit, which I’ll share with you here. Pipe bands are judged in classes graded from one to five, with Grade One being the most accomplished bands. Each competing band performs twice, first in a Set, or MSR event (March, Strathspey & Reel), which consists of three pre-arranged tunes, and then in a Medley event, which consists of a short selection of music chosen and arranged by the band. Each performance is scored by judges.
We watched the Grade 2 event. The bands came from across the country, and included the City of Regina Pipe Band, the Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band, the Greater Midwest Pipe Band from Chicago, and the Ottawa Police Pipe Band. The Ottawa band went on to win the Grade 2 event. The Grade 3 contest was won by the Dunedin Pipe Band from Florida.
The Grade 1 winner was the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band, which was crowned the North American champion band at the 67th running of the Glengarry Highland Games.
Here is a recording of the City of Regina Pipe Band performing in the Set event.