American Championships returns to Norfolk, Virginia on April 22

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The Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship will return to Scope Plaza, Norfolk on Saturday, April 22nd starting at 12 noon EST. Eight bands from five US states and one Canadian province are so far registered to compete. There are still a couple of travel stipends available if there are any Grade Two or Grade Three bands wishing to enter.

Grade Two

  • City of Chicago Pipe Band, Chicago IL
  • MacMillan Pipe Band, Washington DC
  • Ottawa Police Service Pipe Band, Ottawa ON
  • Ulster Scottish Pipe Band, Warminster PA
  • (Carnegie Mellon University Pipes and Drums), Pittsburgh PA *Challenging Up
  • (St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band), Kearny NJ *Challenging Up

Grade Three

  • Carnegie Mellon University Pipes and Drums
  • MacMillan Birtles Pipe Band
  • Siren City Pipe Band
  • St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band
•The massed bands at the 2022 American Pipe Band Championships.

This year’s contest will once again be livestreamed on the Virginia International Tattoo’s Facebook page (@VaTatt) beginning at noon Eastern Time. The closing ceremonies will also be livestreamed at 5.50pm. To see videos from previous contests, search for #VITAPBC on Facebook.

The contest format will require each band to play twice—first in a March, Strathspey and Reel event and then in a Medley event—for a panel of eight highly acclaimed international judges. Cash prizes will be awarded to the aggregate winners in each grade:

  • Grade 2: $2,000, first place; $1,000, second place; $500, third place.
  • Grade 3: $1,500, first place; $1,000, second place; $500, third place.

The event will also include a Drum Fanfare Competition with a single $1,000 prize.

•The judges and officials at the 2022 American Pipe Band Championships.

St. Columcille United Gaelic and Carnegie Mellon University will “challenge up” in the Grade 2 events, requiring them to play four times throughout the day.

Andrew Carlisle, a Professor of Music and the Director of Piping at Carnegie Mellon University and a longtime member of the 13-time world champion Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band in Northern Ireland, will return as the contest’s Artistic Director.

“It will be great to hear bagpipes and drums echoing around Scope Plaza again.  Located in the middle of a vibrant city centre – the venue is one of the most exciting locations for a pipe band competition”, Andrew said. He added: “We have our largest gathering of Grade Two bands this year.  Fingers crossed for the weather, but we always have a wet weather venue within 8,000 seat Scope Arena if we need it.”

The 2022 American Pipe Band Championships

The American Pipe Band Championship is a signature event within the Virginia International Tattoo, which will take place April 20 – 23 at Scope Arena in Norfolk, Virginia.  The international Massed Pipes and Drums in this year’s Virginia International Tattoo features: The Pipes and Drums of The Royal Air Force (UK), Bagad de Lann Bihoué (Brittany, France), Andy’s Tartan Army (USA), Camden County Emerald Society Pipes and Drums (USA), Scotch College Perth Pipe Band (Australia) Tidewater Pipes and Drums (USA). 

The Virginia International Tattoo American Pipe Band Championship originated in 2016, when J. Scott Jackson, General Manager of the Virginia Arts Festival and Producer/Director of the Virginia International Tattoo, added the event to draw competitive pipe bands to the Tattoo’s diverse line-up. Scotland’s Inveraray & District Pipe Band won the inaugural event, which featured four Grade 1 bands. Grade 2 champions in subsequent years included City of Dunedin Pipe Band in 2017 and 2018 and MacMillan Pipe Band in 2019 and 2022.

The Virginia International Tattoo

The 26th Annual Virginia International Tattoo is April 20 -23 in Norfolk, Virginia and features the largest international cast to date. Eight countries will bring their awe-inspiring performers to Norfolk and be a part of the largest spectacle of music and might in the United States. The heartbeat of the 2023 Virginia International Tattoo will be its incredible international cast of more than 800 performers with bands from the U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps joined by civilian and military performers from eight nations. You will see returning favourites such as the Singapore Armed Forces Central Band and Cultural Dance Team, U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Band and the Massed Pipes, Drums, and Highland Dancers from four nations. The Tattoo will also include first time performers which are sure to become new favourites including the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon and The Crazy Drummers from Ukraine.

The soul of the 2023 Virginia International Tattoo will be an emotional and grateful “Tribute to Military Families”.

Performers from Latvia, Singapore, Ukraine and more will join the cast in what is sure to be an emotional and inspirational Tribute to Military Families. The Virginia International Tattoo is located in the Coastal Virginia city of Norfolk – home to the world’s largest Navy base, NATO’s only North American headquarters, and the largest population of active duty and retired military in the United States. With our “home port” in these waters, it is no surprise that our Tattoo is widely known as the most patriotic in the world. For more information visit vafest.org/tattoo.

Tickets to the Virginia International Tattoo are available and on sale now at www.vafest.org, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office located at 440 Bank Street, Norfolk, VA 23510.

About Virginia Arts Festival 
The Virginia Arts Festival celebrates its 26th Anniversary in 2023. The largest and most prestigious performing arts organisation in southeastern Virginia, Virginia Arts Festival has transformed the region’s cultural scene, presenting great performers from around the world and making this historic region a cultural destination for visitors from across the United States and around the world. Over the past 25 years, the Festival has welcomed visitors from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 25 foreign countries. The Festival has presented over 1,438 performances, free community events, and student matinees and workshops with a reach of over 1.2 million attendees. Each season, millions more are reached through international broadcasts of Festival performances on American Public Radio’s Performance Today, nationally on PBS TV, and regionally on WHRO TV. Over 32% of ticket sales come from outside the region, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to local museums and attractions and filling regional hotels and restaurants. The estimated annual economic impact of the Festival exceeds $25 million. For more information visit vafest.org.