Just a week ago the British Columbia Pipers’ Association hosted their 90th Annual Gathering at North Delta Secondary School. The previous two years, 2021 and 2022 were online events and 2020 was canceled, making this 2023 competition very much welcomed. The two day event saw 112 Solo competitors and 13 Pipe bands. The senior Piping judges were Peter Aumonier from Oakville, Ontario, and Donald MacPhee from Alexandria, Scotland. Along with senior drumming judges Paul Brown from Fife, Scotland and Greg Dinsdale from London, Ontario.
It was a full weekend of events. Friday was the Piobaireachd competitions from Grade four to Open solos. Drumming workshops with Paul Brown and concluding the day, Open Drumming solos. Saturday saw a full schedule of Piping and Drumming solo competitions, finishing the day with our first band contest of the season.
Saturday’s solo events included the brand new Pacific Rim Drumming Championship sanctioned by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. The top four placed competitors in the MSR event, qualified each drummer (who has not already prequalified) as semi finalists for the 2023 World Drumming Championships taking place in Glasgow, Scotland. Blair Brown won the newly minted J. Reid Maxwell medal, Robert Graham Jr., Steven Paynter, and Taylor Killoran rounded out the top four, qualifying them for this prestigious event on October 21st.
In addition to winning the inaugural Pacific Rim Drumming Championship, Blair Brown, won both Open Solo Drumming events receiving $800 towards travel for competing in Scotland.
Jack Lee set a new record receiving the” Cairn” trophy for his fifteenth time winning the Open Piobaireachd event.
Alastair Lee was the Open Piping aggregate winner with 1st place in the MSR and 3rd place in both the Jig and Piobaireachd events. Alastair was awarded the brand new “Cuach nam Piobairean” trophy, a silver Quaich mounted on an ebony base. This new trophy replaced the Mary MacLeod-Collins trophy and features the names of every aggregate winner throughout the 90 year history of the BCPA Annual Gathering. Seumas Coyne rounded out the Open Piping awards winning the Jig event. Zephan Knichel received the Darleen Milloy Memorial trophy by winning the Competing Pipers Association B and C grade Piobaireachd for the fifth time in a row. The award for the most points earned by a solo competitor was won by Cameron Bonar. Cameron placed an impressive first in all three Grade 1 solo events. He also won the combined Grade 1 piping aggregate for the BCPA Mini Gatherings and the BCPA Annual Gathering. The most promising Piper went to Truin Tomasetti and the most Promising Drummer to Max Fenwick.
Saturday evening featured the Pipe Band competition with bands from across the Pacific Northwest. Simon Fraser University Pipe Band won the uncontested Grade 1 event. The Portland Metro won the Grade 2 competition with a tie broken on Ensemble preference over the newly promoted Cascadia Pipe Band from Seattle.The Robert Malcolm Pipebands had a strong showing with both their Grade 3 and 4 bands winning their respective events. The Portland Metro Youth Pipe Band were the grade 5 winners.
At the awards ceremony, wrapping up a fantastic two days of competition, two BCPA Honourary Life Memberships were awarded. The two recipients were Scott Robertson and the late Skye Richendrfer (posthumously). Scott, who is a professional drumming teacher and devoted pipe band instructor, received his membership and high praise from his friends and colleagues, Graham Davidson, Hal Senyk, and Reid Maxwell. Caley Schmid, the new Executive Director of the Celtic Arts Foundation accepted the award on Skye’s behalf from Robert MacNeil and Jack Lee who shared their praise for Skye and his lifelong commitment to Pipe Band music.
Thank you to all who attended, supported and helped make this year’s 90th Annual Gathering such a success. We look forward to seeing you next year.