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By Brad Rotz

SHIPPENSBURG— Almost three dozen bagpipers played marches, ballads, and other Scottish songs during the first-ever bagpipe competition Saturday at Shippensburg Station.

The Battle of the Bagpipes was organized by the Piobaireachd Association and sanctioned by The Eastern United States Pipe Band Association (EUSPBA) as a solo competition.

Both associations promote and encourage bagpipers in developing their skills. Thirty-four competitors from eight states competed in six different grade levels, performing throughout the day.

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Three judges graded them on correctness, execution of fingering, and musical expression. 

Winners were:

  • Grade I Piper of the Day:  Robert Dunn, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Grade II Piper of the Day:  Nate Silva, Salem, MA
  • Grade III Piper of the Day:  Scott Blevins, Ashburn, VA
  • Grade IV Senior Piper of the Day:  Evan Elliott, Prospect, PA
  • Grade IV Junior Piper of the Day:  Isaac Fisher, Lititz, PA
  • Grade V Piper of the Day:  Brandon Bryce, Hummelstown, PA
Bagpiper competes at Shippensburg Battle of the Bagpipes last Saturday. Phots by Brad Rotz
Bagpiper competes at Shippensburg Battle of the Bagpipes last Saturday. Phots by Brad Rotz

The above winners were the best across five events (Piobaireachd, 2/4 March, Strathspey & Reel, 6/8 March, and Hornpipe & Jig).

Clan Donnachaidh won the best informational display contest.

Learning About Scottish Heritage

In addition to the being entertained with great music, information on Scottish heritage was available for visitors.

The Scottish Society of Central Pennsylvania had a booth with information on Scottish events regionally and nationally. The society promotes the culture, traditions, and history of Scotland and Soctish-Americans.

Three other booths presented clan information, including Clan Lockhart, whose name is derived from the name Lockard. The Lockards fled from England to escape William the Conqueror, settling in Scotland.

In the 12th century, Clan Littlle was given land in Scotland by Walter Fitz Allen. The land was on the Shropeshire-Cheshire border.

Clan Donnadaidh, also known as Clan Robertson or Clan Duncan, had a booth at the event also. The Robertsons descended from King Duncan. The Clan is located in the Scottish Highlands. 

Clan Fergusson’s name means son of Furgus. The clan has spread from North to South across Scotland.

Several vendors provided great food and drink for sale. Appalachian Brewing Company offered light and dark ales. Castlerigg Wine Shop sold several varieties of wine.

Ed’s BBQ was also on hand for the event, offering brisket, pork, Scottish eggs and Scottish fries for sale.

Spectators came and went throughout the day, taking in the sight of the colorful bagpipers in their clan tartans kilts, knee socks, and other regalia and listening to the spirited Scottish music.

It was a very enjoyable and educational event, according to spectators.

Battle of the Bagpipes is a precursor for the Shippensburg Park & Recreation Authority’s first annual Cumberland Valley Scottish Games to be held next year.

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