By GEORGE BALDEROSE, Executive Director and LESLIE CLARK, Associate Director
The Balmoral School of Piping & Drumming
The Seventeenth Annual Balmoral Classic organised by the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming began on Saturday morning, November 4, 2023 with the US Junior Solo Junior Bagpiping Championship contests held at the Cathedral of Learning, University of Pittsburgh, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Pipers were required to submit two MSR medleys (March Strathspey, & Reel) and two Piobaireachd, one of each to be selected by the judges for the contest. Ten pipers were invited to compete, with a final field of nine pipers from six states plus Ontario province. Our piping judges were John Cairns from Canada, Glenna Mackay-Johnstone from Canada, and Scot Walker from the United States.
- Liam Horne – Bristol, Virginia, USA
- Roy Huang – Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
- Alex Knox – Woodbine, Maryland, USA
- Elizabeth Knox – Woodbine, Maryland, USA
- Abby Long – Houston, Texas, USA
- Thomas McCollum – Redmond, Washington, USA
- Flora Stone – Natick, Massachusetts , USA
- Magnus Stone – Natick, Massachusetts, USA
- Duncan Winters – Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
Liam Horne of Bristol, Virgina, is the Overall Champion of the 2023 Balmoral Classic was presented with the Ralph and Patricia Murray Overall Winner Award, and a set of blackwood MacRae Bagpipes donated by McCallum Bagpipes. There was a three way tie for points, with the piobaireachd placings breaking the ties. The Piobaireachd piping contest winner, Liam Horne, won the Balmoral Award and a Murray Blair Digital Chanter donated by The Pipers Hut. March, Strathspey, Reel contest winner Duncan Winters of Grand Junction, Colorado, took the E.W. Littlefield, Jr. Award and Pipers Choice Traditional Smallpipes in A donated by Henderson Imports.
- Liam Horne, Bristol, Virginia – Too Long in This Condition
- Magnus Stone, Natick, Massachusetts – Rory MacLeod’s Lament
- Flora Stone, Natick, Massachusetts – MacLeod’s Controversy
- Duncan Winters, Grand Junction, Colorado – Lament for the Little Supper
- Abby Long, Houston, Texas: – The Battle of Waternish
March, Strathspey and Reel
- Duncan Winters, Grand Junction, Colorado – Murdo MacLeod, The Shepherds Crook, The Sheepwife
- Abby Long, Houston, Texas – Bonnie Ann, Andrew Wright, The Man from Glengarry
- Magnus Stone, Natick, Massachusetts – Hugh Alexander Low of Tiree, Tulloch Castle, Bessie McIntyre
- Liam Horne, Bristol, Virginia – Invergordon’s Welcome to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Cabar Feidh, Broadford Bay
- Alex Knox, Woodbine, Maryland – The Stirlingshire Militia, John Roy Stewart, Lieutenant Colonel
- Liam Horne, Bristol, Virgnia, age 18
- Magnus Stone, Natick, Massachusetts, age 15
- Duncan Winters, Grand Junction, Colorado, age 18
- Abby Long, Houston, Texas, age 14
- Flora Stone, Natick, Massachusetts, age 16
Prizes for second to fifth place pipers included a handcrafted blackwood Cocobolo practice chanter donated by MacLellan Bagpipes, Targe hardcase donated by Henderson Imports, Gift Certificate of 100 tune credits for pipetunes.ca donated by McGillivray Piping Inc., downloadable Piobaireachd lessons donated by Bruce Gandy Music, Leather Hunting Sporran donated by Patrick Regan, and additional prizes donated by BagpipeLessons.com, and Lowland & Border Pipers’ Society Sessions Tune books donated by Balmoral School.
In addition to the Award plaque and set of bagpipes, the first place Overall win includes tuition plus meals and lodging for two weeks at the 2024 Balmoral summer sessions. The first place Piobaireachd and MSR winners each receive award plaques and one week of tuition plus meals and lodging at any of the 2023 Balmoral summer sessions. The second to fifth place Overall Winners will receive tuition for one week at any of the 2024 Balmoral School summer sessions.
Scheduling and logistics were intensive and organised and executed by Leslie Clark, Balmoral’s Associate Director; and Sean Patrick Regan, Interim Artistic Director. Clark and Sean Regan also served respectively as Registrar and Chief Steward for the Classic. Special thanks to our outgoing Marketing Director, Elaine Lee; Patrick Regan, Master of Ceremonies; and Photographer, Suzie Silver who brought additional expertise to the events.
After the Saturday contest, we moved to the Scottish Nationality Room, University of Pittsburgh for the award ceremony, and gathered late for a Ceilidh at the DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Green Tree, our host hotel for the Classic. It should be noted that the Classic concert with the Tannahill Weavers was held on Friday, October 13 at the Greater Pittsburgh Masonic Center for a rousing evening of Scottish songs, tunes and stories.
The weekend event concluded on Sunday morning with a free Piobaireachd workshop with John Cairns of London, Ontario, Canada, held in the Heinz Room, DoubleTree by Hilton Pittsburgh Green Tree.
The event was made possible by grants from the Sage Foundation, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Laurel Foundation, the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh, and many individual donations. The Scottish Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh, represented by Kati Csoman, Michael Walters, and Committee Chairman, Jim Hunter, was our co-sponsor for the Saturday championships and awards ceremony.
Many thanks to the 2023 Balmoral Classic contestants, judges, sponsors, donors, the Balmoral staff, and the many volunteers who helped to make the 17th Balmoral Classic a success.