The 2011 Metro Cup—A Series of Firsts for the Hardcore Bagpiper Only

There is probably no place in the eastern half of the USA where you will find nine Highland Society of London Gold Medalists (five double golds), three World Champion pipe bands represented (out of seven Grade 1 bands represented), a husband and wife, and a father and son all in one place and playing in the same bagpipe competition. If you were at the Ramada Inn at Newark, New Jersey on Saturday for The Metro Cup, you were there to bear witness to the first such combination.

Think you’re a hardcore piper or bagpipe enthusiast? This was your chance to prove it. This year’s invitational contest was a series of “firsts” in many regards, bringing together sixteen of the world’s top solo competitors for what was a marathon eleven hours of straight bagpiping (the longest Metro Cup ever) with piobaireachd in the afternoon right into the free form medley competition in the evening. Kudos to judges Jim Stack of New Jersey, Colin MacLellan of Edinburgh, and John Cairns of Ontario for sticking through it all with minimal breaks. Colin MacLellan also marked a first for his use of a digital collection of piobaireachd music which he used throughout the piobaireachd contest on a portable e-reader device.

It was Bruce Gandy who emerged as the overall winner of the Metro Cup (for a record sixth time) with a first placing in the medley event and a fourth in the piobaireachd. Gandy’s virtuoso medley performance edged out Willie McCallum, Glenn Brown, Alen Tully, and Gordon Walker in the event which allows players an unlimited time to perform tunes of their own choice. Stuart Liddell prevailed in the piobaireachd with a smooth rendering of “Lament for the Children” in what was likely a tough contest to judge. Gordon Walker’s presentation of the technically challenging “MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart’s Lament No. 2” was mesmerizing. Also in a first ever occurrence, Alex Gandy placed above his father Bruce with a classic styling of “The Menzie’s Salute” on one of the better sounding instruments of the day. Other memorable performances that did not make the prize list included Margaret Dunn’s solid, marshall delivery of “The Prince’s Salute” and Andrew Hayes’s classic rendition of “The End of the Great Bridge.”

The sizable crowd was given a solid five hours of exciting medley performances but it was the performance by the trio of Stuart Liddell, Alen Tully, and Andrew Carlisle in the hotel bar after it closed that was truly worth sitting through it all. Below is just a small sampling of what was nearly a full two hour session (but I lost track) before everyone was finally kicked out at five a.m. At one point, the TV screen above the three of them was scrolling video clips of NASCAR crashes. They had an excellent sound track

Don’t know yet if you’re a hardcore piper? You’ll have to wait until next year’s Metro Cup to prove it.

The 2011 Metro Cup Results

Open Piobaireachd
1. Stuart Liddell, “The Lament for the Children”
2. Gordon Walker, “MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart’s Lament No. 2”
3. Alex Gandy, “The Menzie’s Salute”
4. Bruce Gandy, “I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand”
5. Glenn Brown, “The Lament for the Earl of Antrim”

Open Medley
1. Bruce Gandy
2. Willie McCallum
3. Glenn Brown
4. Alen Tully
5. Gordon Walker

Amateur Piobaireachd
1. Glen Walpole
2. Bobby Durning
3. Dan Pisolowski

Thomas Brancella MSR
1. Bobby Durning
2. Dan Pisolowski
3. Glen Walpole

George M. Bell Amateur Champion: Bobby Durning

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