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First Scottish Competition For Solo Pipers

21st June 2005

Scotland's first Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers Will Launch At Piping Live.

The first ever World Amateur Solo Piping Championships are to be held this year as part of the Piping Live festival in Glasgow this August, it was announced today.

The Championships, which will also be the launch of Scotland's first Competition League for Amateur Solo Pipers: CLASP, will take place from 10-12 August at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

CLASP was developed in recognition of the fact that there is little encouragement or provision made for amateur adult pipers who could be interested in taking part in solo competition in Scotland, despite the fact that there are systems of graded amateur competitions in place in many other parts of the world.

CLASP will benefit those who perhaps have put their instruments aside for years due to the pressures of study, work or family commitments. For many in this category, the opportunity to take part in solo competition is there, but it means that they face pitting their playing ability, wits, and skills against pipers of a much higher level, which perhaps is a step too far.

Membership at 30 a year, is open to amateur pipers aged 18 and above. For the purposes of the League events, an amateur piper is defined as "someone who does not compete in open solo piping competitions where prize money is offered."

Administered and operated by the National Piping Centre, the league will maintain a three-level grading system that correlates with the system already operating in the United States. This will encourage entries from other piping associations and make them feel welcome in the Scottish league, and reciprocally this will make life easier for Scottish CLASP members who wish to compete abroad.

Members of the League will accumulate points for taking part in events and for the number of other pipers they place ahead of in their grade at each of the competitions. There are 3 grades, and members will receive separate gradings for piobaireachd and light music. Grade 1 is the highest, with grade 3 the entry level standard. Grade 3, though, is not a grade for learner pipers.

Grade 1 competitors will need to submit three piobaireachds to judges who will select one to be played, two 2/4 marches of which one will be played, and two strathspeys and reels, of which one of each will be chosen for performance. For 6/8 march, hornpipe and jig, jig and march strathspey and reel competitions, two tunes of each form need to be submitted (one of each to be played).

For Grade 2 competition, two piobaireachds will need to be submitted, two 2/4 marches two jigs, one strathspey and reel set, one 6/8 march; and, for the 2/4 march,

Strathspey and reel, competitors will be expected to submit two marches, one strathspey and one reel (one march to be played).

Grade 3 tune requirements are one piobaireachd, one 2/4 march, one 6/8 march, one strathspey and reel set, one hornpipe and jig set.

There will be a circuit of graded competitions, initially at venues throughout the U.K. and Ireland: seven events in all in CLASP's first year. The first will be the World Championships at this year's Piping Live festival in August, while subsequent events include competitions at Madras College, St Andrews, on 26 November during St Andrews' Week; at Tulloch Castle, Dingwall, on 14 January next year and at the Ballyearl Theatre, Newtonabbey, in Northern Ireland on 18 February.

Says Roddy MacLeod, Piping Live Festival director and principal of The National Piping Centre: "It has bothered me for sometime that there has been no amateur league in this country and no real reward for amateur pipers who want to compete and be challenged. This year's World Amateur Solo Piping Championships will be a fantastic and exciting addition to Piping Live and the perfect launch pad for CLASP."

"I hope that CLASP members feel the benefits of this new league and that some of them will graduate from Grade 1 and look towards CPA membership as their next step."

For full details of how to become a League member, competition entry and further information about CLASP, visit: http://www.theclasp.co.uk

Piping Live, the Glasgow International Piping festival, takes place from 8-14th August 2005 at various venues and outdoor spaces across the city. The festival aims to showcase and celebrate the diversity of international piping with performances from the world's top musicians alongside the future stars of tomorrow. Tickets are available now by calling The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall Box Office on 0141 353 8000 (all ticket prices s.t.b.f). For more information about Piping Live, please visit http://www.pipingfestival.co.uk

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