16th Annual Balmoral Classic Invitational Participants (Paul Mackay, center)

Seattle’s Northwest Junior Pipe Band piper Paul Mackay is the overall prize winner at the 16th Balmoral Invitational Classic: the US Junior Solo Bagpiping Championship in Pittsburgh on November 12, 2022. This is the second year in a row that a BCPA piper has taken the top prize at this prestigious event for junior pipers. In 2021, Cameron Bonar of Surrey, who plays with Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, won top spot.

Mackay won the Ralph & Patricia Murray Memorial Award and Scholarship. The scholarship includes room, board and tuition for two weeks at the Balmoral School of Piping and Drumming Summer Session in Pittsburgh. Mackay also took home a set of MacRae bagpipes donated by McCallum Bagpipes.

Paul Mackay competing at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh.

The Balmoral Classis took place in-person after two years of pandemic restrictions and online contests. It was held in the historic landmark Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Pittsburgh. The Invitational caps the number of participants at 15, with pipers flying in from across Canada and the United States. Judges for the event were Robert Wallace (Scotland), Amy Garson (Canada) and Lezlie Webster (USA).  The competition consists of two event – MSR and Piobaireachd – with top awards going to the best performance in each and the Overall prize going to the piper with the best combination of scores across both events.

The MSR winner was Leland Reid (Maryland) and Abby Long (Texas) placed first in piobaireachd. In determining order of placement for the Overall prize, preference was given to the piobaireachd score over the MSR. 

1. Paul Mackay (Washington)
2. Liam Horne (Virginia)
3. Leland Reid (Maryland)
4. Abby Long (Texas)
5. Alexandra Knox (Maryland)
6. Thomas DeBuchananne (West Virginia)

The BCPA congratulates Paul on his win at this important event.

Balmoral Classic Winners (Paul Mackay in center) with Judge Robert Wallace