James Murray, who dressed for the occasion, competing yesterday from his home.
James Murray, who dressed for the occasion, competing yesterday from his home.

This weekend’s amateur piping competition held for members of the Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers (CLASP) was voted an overwhelming success by competitors and judges alike.

As a result of the Conronavirus pandemic, the contest was held using videoconferencing technology and audio files. Competitors – from around the world – and judges participated from their homes and in their respective time zones.

CLASP co-organiser, Margaret Dunn, said: “We published the draw a few days prior to the competition and gave the competitors their tunes as well as allocate them a time slot. On the day of the competition, Saturday, we contacted the competitors at the times they were each given to ensure they had their laptops or smartphones to hand. We allowed 20 minutes for each competitor and the wearing of highland dress wasn’t a requirement. 

“Once competitors completed their tune, they transmitted their audio recordings to us. We collated them and the judges then listened to them today [Sunday]. They arrived at their decisions based purely on the audio recordings.

Adjudicating from the comfort of their homes. Alastair Dunn and Wilson Brown were two of the judges at this weekend's competition.
Adjudicating from the comfort of their homes. Alastair Dunn and Wilson Brown were two of the judges at this weekend’s competition.

““It isn’t new to hold a competition remotely but this one had the competitors judged from a live, time-sensitive audio recording.”

Dugald MacLeod competing yesterday in front of his recording device.
Dugald MacLeod competing yesterday from his south of Scotland home and in front of his recording devices.

Ceòl Mòr
Grade 1 – 1. Robert Wilson (Massacre of Glencoe); 2. David MacKenzie (Lament for Mary MacLeod); 3. Stuart Robinson (Isabel MacKay); 4. Stewart Allan (Cabar Feidh Gu Brath); 5. Con Houlihan (King’s Taxes); 6. Aaron Malcomb (MacLeod’s Salute).
Grade 2 – 1. Giovanni Giulianini (Lament for The Iolaire); 2. Evan Wraga (Lament for The Iolaire); 3. Ben Hall (Lament for Donald of Laggan); 4. Bill Copland (Lament for Donald of Laggan); 5. Dagmar Pesta (Catherine’s Lament); 6. Dugald MacLeod (The Macleod’s Salute).
Judge: Wilson Brown.

Dagmar Pesta competing form Germany.
Dagmar Pesta competing form Germany.

Grade 3 (Ground) – 1. John Hunt (The Little Spree); 2. Joe Moore (The Little Spree); 3. Sven Vollberg (The Little Spree).
Grade 3 (Full Piobaireachd) – 1.  –  John Hunt (The Little Spree); 2. Sven Vollberg (The Little Spree); 3. Stephen McCusker (Cabar Feidh Gu Brath); 4. Philip Duthie (The Little Spree); 5. Joe Moore (The Little Spree); 6. Cameron O’Neill ((The Little Spree).
Judge: Alastair Dunn.

2/4 March
Grade 1 – 1. Neil Henderson (Argyllshire Gathering); 2. Robert Wilson (Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque); 3. William Wardrope (91st at Modder River); 4. Con Houlihan (Duncan MacInnes); 5. Stewart Allan (Glenfinnan Highland Gathering); 6. James Waugh (Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban).
Grade 2 – 1. Giovanni Giulianini (The Taking of Beaumont Hamel); 2. David Livingstone (Father John MacMilliam of Barra); 3. Ben Hall (The Crags of Stirling); 4. Tom Broderick (Inverness Gathering); 5. Bill Copland (Major Manson at Clachantrushal); 6. James Carniegie (74th Farewell to Edinburgh).
Grade 3 – 1. Cameron O’Neil (Miss Elspeth Campbell); 2. Sven Volberg (Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban); 3. Hector Thomson (Siege of Delhi); 4. Mark MacRae (Captain Norman Orr Ewing); 5. Leslie Barrett (PM Bob Brown’s Farewell to Ballochbuie); 6. Neil Scotland (Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque).

Strathspey & Reel
Grade 1 – 1. William Wardrope (Dorrator Bridge/Bessie MacIntyre); 2. Neil Henderson (The Shepherd’s Crook/The Rejected Suitor); 3. James Thomas Murray (Maggie Cameron/Alick C. McGregor); 4. Con Houlihan (Cpt. Colin Campbell/Brown Haired Maid); 5. Jannette Greenwood (Caledonian Society of London/Blackberry Bush); 6. David MacKenzie (Lady Loudon/Thomson Dirk). 
Grade 2 – 1. Giovanni Giulianini (Lady MacKenzie of Gairloch/The Sound of Sleat); 2. David Livingstone (Peggy Gilles/Dolina MacKay); 3. Ben Hall (Struan Robertson/Thomson’s Dirk); 4. Bill Copeland (Lady MacKenzie Gareloch/Lt Col DJS Murray); 5. James Carnegie (Lady MacKenzie/Bessie McIntyre); 6. Dagmar Pesta (Maggie Cameron/Kalabakan).
Grade 3  – 1. Cameron O’Neil (Islay Ball/Fiona MacLeod); 2. Sven Volberg (Dorrator Bridge/Kalabakan); 3. Mark MacRae (Caledonian Canal/Lexie McAskill); 4. Leslie Barratt (Duncan Johnstone Strathspey/Thompson’s Dirk); 5. Neil Scotland (Maggie Cameron/Kalabakan); 6. Hector Thomson (Cpt. Colin Camp/Col. MacLeod).

6/8 March
Grade 1 – 1. Neil Henderson (Jeannie Mauchline); 2. Con Houlihan (Mrs Lilly Christie); 3. James Thomas Murray (Archie Kenneth); 4. William Wardrope (Jeannie Mauchline); 5. Robert Wilson (Isabel T. MacDonald); 6. Aaron Malcomb (Jeannie Mauchline).
Grade 2 – 1. Giovanni Giulianini (Stuart MacKenzie’s Welcome to Gairloch); 2. David Livingstone (Beinn Ghuilean); 3. Bill Copeland (Angus MacKinnon); 4. James Carnegie (10th HLI Crossing the Rhine); 5. Ben Hall (Mrs Lily Christie); 6. Dagmar Pesta (Rab’s Wedding).
Grade 3 – 1. Cameron O’Neil (Mrs Lily Christie); 2. Mark MacRae (10th HLI Crossing the Rhine); 3. Sven Volberg (Fairview Cottage); 4. Neil Scotland (PM Sam Scott); 5. Leslie Barrett (John D. Burgess); 6. Hector Thomson (All the Blue Bonnets are Over the Border).
Dan Nevans judged the Light Music.

Overall: Con Houlihan (Grade 1); Giovanni Giulianini (Grade 2) and Sven Vollberg (Grade 3).

* April’s Piping Times, pictured right, includes a full report on this landmark piping competition.