The City of Edinburgh Pipe Band has announced the return of the legendary Pipe Major’s Wheel of Fortune competition. The Golden Chanter is set to spin again – for the first time since 2017 – on Saturday, April 29 at Danderhall Miners Club in Midlothian.

Eight top pipers have agreed to pit their wits against the Wheel of Fortune.  The line-up for the event is as follows:

  • John Dew
  • Cameron Drummond
  • Kyle Howie
  • Brian Lamond
  • Ross Miller
  • John Mulhearn
  • Jonathon Simpson
  • Craig Sutherland

Dr Gary West, who was at the helm of BBC Radio Scotland’s Pipeline show for over 20 years, will compere the event.

Looking ahead to the competition, Paul White, band secretary and a long-serving piper with the band said: “We are delighted to attract a field of top pipers to the Wheel of Fortune.  Brian Lamond has been a great supporter of our event over the years, winning the competition in 2006 and 2015, while Jonathon Simpson is making a welcome return after performing for us in 2017.  Our other six pipers will be making their Wheel debuts, while Gary West – the voice of piping – has kindly agreed to welcome our audience and guide them through an afternoon of brilliant entertainment.

“I want to thank everyone who has agreed to join us – without them, there is no Wheel of Fortune – and encourage band supporters and piping enthusiasts to turn out in force to give our musicians the welcome they deserve.”

The City of Edinburgh band, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, was originally known as Woolmet and Danderhall.  The band took its name from the Woolmet Colliery and the Midlothian village, where the band practices to this day.

Entry to the competition is £15.00 on the door for people aged 16 and over and £7.50 for people under 16.  Doors open 11.15am and the competition begins at 12.00 noon. The venue address is Danderhall Miners Club, 88 Edmonstone Road, Danderhall, EH22 1QU.

Regular updates on the event are available on the band’s Facebook page.

How the competition works

    Each competitor plays two sets of tunes – a March, Strathspey and Reel (MSR) of their choice and a selection of tunes determined by the Wheel of Fortune. 

    Four of the five tune categories in the Wheel selection are determined by competitors spinning the Golden Chanter on arrival at the competition.  The final category of tune is determined by a member of the audience spinning the Golden Chanter as competitors take the floor.

    The Wheel of Fortune tune categories are:

    • Donald McLeod tune
    • 4/4 march
    • Gaelic or Irish slow air
    • Gordon Duncan tune
    • G.S McLennan tune
    • Hornpipe
    • 9/8 march
    • Own tune
    • Pibroch (ground only)
    • Polka
    • Two Irish jigs
    • Two Irish reels

    Each competitor has a Joker which they can play to deselect a category of tune on the Wheel of Fortune.  Competitors can play the Joker at any time, but only once.  When a category of tune is deselected, the Golden Chanter will be spun again to provide an alternative.

    The tune categories selected by the Wheel can be played in any order, but they must be combined to form one continuous medley. 

    Each competitor can add a maximum of three tunes of their choice to those selected by the Wheel.  These tunes can also be played in any order but must form part of the continuous medley.

    The competition has three judges.  Two of the judges are respected for their ability, experience and dedication to piping, while the third judge is the audience.

    All competitors are invited to tell a joke at the end of their performance, with the best joke determined by an audience vote.

    Many of the top names in piping have pitted their wits against the Wheel of Fortune over the years.  Former winners include:

    • Chris Armstrong (2007)
    • Ben Duncan (2017)
    • Brian Lamond (2006 and 2015)
    • Stuart Liddell (2008, 2009, 2013)
    • Douglas Murray (2014, 2016)
    • Gordon Walker (2011, 2012)
    Ben Duncan and Derek Graham at the Pipe Major’s Wheel of Fortune 2017