So You Want to Compete at the Big Games

March 28, 2010 on 6:14 pm by Michael Grey | In Music, Solo Piping, Video | 4 Comments

Thanks to the recent purchase of a video-to-digital box I’ve been able to post some ancient video. This particular sample presents as a fine demo of what it’s really like to compete at a big outdoor contest – in this case, The Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, Scotland. While this comes from 1991 (gulp) things haven’t changed and what you see is what you get.

This clip comes courtesy of PM Reay Mackay – thank you, Reay. I haven`t seen much on – or anywhere, really – of live outdoor piping contests. So here goes.

This piece has me and Colin Roy MacLellan playing our hearts out in the March event at Oban. The video speaks for itself. If any piper should ever get uppity about the piper`s true place on the world stage of music, videos like this will quickly bring them down to earth.

Can you imagine the best pianists or violin players – or didgeridoo players, for that matter – having to lay out their music interspersed with`fun-runs`, hill races and caber tosses?

Me neither.



  1. I wonder if the winners of the fun running get the same medals as the winers of the piping? Hmmm…might be worth splurging on some new laces for my Air Jordans!. Red, I think.

    Comment by jamsie an t-sealgair — March 28, 2010 #

  2. Alas, Jamsie, I don’t think the prizes in kind are much different. The big difference for pipers: John MacDonald of Inverness played at Oban games in 1905. It’s the history. Period. M.

    Comment by Michael Grey — March 28, 2010 #

  3. Out of curiosity, how did you and Colin do at this competition? Both tunes sounded really nice.

    Comment by keydetpiper — March 29, 2010 #

  4. Hmmm. Don’t recall us weighted down with prize dough (not that you would be even if you won). I can’t recall who won this event, either. Thanks for the good words! M

    Comment by Michael Grey — March 29, 2010 #

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