Piping & Drumming

The Glengarry Highland Games are home of the North American Pipe Band Championships™

The Grades 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 Band Competitions will take place on Saturday, August 3, 2019. The schedule will be available on the PPBSO website in early July, 2019. Massed Bands will be held at 1:00 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. when results are announced and awards are presented. All band registrations must be submitted to www.ppbso.org


2019 North American Champions


2019 Out of Province Judges

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Duncan Millar

Duncan Millar drummed for twenty years with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning four Grade One World Pipe Band Championships (1999, 2001, 2008, and 2009) and four Grade One World Drum Corps Championships (1999, 2004, 2008, and 2009). Duncan was fortunate to play at Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, Massey Hall, the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall and the Waterfront Theatre in Belfast with SFU, as well as on several albums.

Prior to SFU Duncan was the lead drummer of the LA Scots when they won the Grade Two World Pipe Band Championships and Drum Corps Championships in 1997. He has also won the North American, New Zealand, Australian and South American Pipe Band Championships drumming with other bands. He appeared numerous times in the final of the World Solo Drumming Championships and won several top solo prizes around North America.

A lawyer by trade, Duncan splits his time between Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle, WA and devotes his pipe band energy toward education and adjudication.


Robert Mathieson


Robert began his piping career with Polkemmet Colliery Pipe Band eventually becoming pipe major gaining many major successes. His greatest pipe band successes were with Shotts and Dykehead where he won 5 Grade 1 World titles as well as over 30 major championships including Grade 1Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association Champion of Champions 8 years in a row. After thirty years service with Shotts and Dykehead he then finished his competing career with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in Vancouver.

Robert is well known as a composer and solo recording artist. His first album “Gracenotes” was deemed the fastest selling solo piping album ever and voted album of the decade in an online readers poll conducted by pipesdrums.com. He has been awarded numerous gold discs for his solo and pipe band recordings.

Robert has travelled throughout the world teaching civilian and military pipe bands as well as doing recitals. He has lectured and taught at several music faculties including the RSMADA, known as the Royal Conservatoire.

As well as being one of Scotland’s most successful pipe majors Robert has also served as Standards Convener on the RSPBA Music Board and latterly worked as Secretary for the Adjudicators Panel Management Board.


North American Pipe Band Championships™

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All competitions are governed and organized by the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO). All competitors must be members of the PPBSO or a member of an officially recognized affiliated organization, or Society, in another Province, State or Country.

“At the line” refers to the point where a band halts and is met by a steward, before marching and or playing into the circle and contest. Should any member of the band withdraw from the band at this point, a penalty may result.

A medley must have a minimum of four tune categories, e.g. marches, slow airs, hornpipes, strathspeys, jigs and reels.

Submission of Tunes

As determined by the PPBSO, bands must submit a list of tunes and a roster with the names of the band members, when registering for competition. The requirements are as follows:

Grade 1 (minimum of 8 pipers, 1 bass and 3 snare drummers and 2 tenors)

  • two sets of a 2/4 march, strathspey & reel (MSR)

  • two medleys of 5 to 8 minutes

At the Glengarry Highland Games, Grade 1 bands must play in a MSR and a Medley competition at different times. The set and medley to be played are decided by respective draws "at the line".

Grade 2 (minimum of 6 pipers, 1 bass and 2 snare drummers)

  • two sets of a 2/4 march, strathspey and reel (MSR)

  • one medley of 4 to 7 minutes

At the Glengarry Highland Games, Grade 2 bands must play in a MSR and a Medley competition at different times. The set to be played is decided by a draw "at the line".

Grade 3 (minimum of 5 pipers, 1 bass and 2 snare drummers)

  • one set of a 2/4 march, strathspey and reel (MSR)

Grade 4 (minimum of 5 pipers, 1 bass and 2 snare drummers)

  • one medley, 3 to 5 minutes in duration and a minimum of 4 different tune types

Grade 5 (minimum of 5 pipers, 1 bass and 2 snare drummers)

  • 1 march-medley which is any number of tunes that by tradition are considered marches, (such as written in time signatures 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 6/8, 9/8 and 12/8) played in quick time, of 2:45 to 4:30 minutes duration.

Basic Rules

Each band must begin the competition “at the line”. There are no points for drill, dress and deportment. In medley contests, the band may, as pre-approved by the PPBSO, take their place in the circle before starting to play. There are two circles denoted by chalk lines. Bands must position themselves within the inner circle and the judges or adjudicators must remain outside of the outer circle.

All competitors must wear proper highland dress, including appropriate head dress.

Criteria for Judging

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Bands are judged on:

ATTACK - a combination of drum rolls, drones and chanters beginning at specific points together, in-sync, before the tune is started.

TONE/TUNING - quality of sound of chanters, drones and drums

EXPRESSION - a combination of tempo, rhythm and duration of notes in music.

PITCH - the sharpness or flatness of the pipe chanters and drum heads.

EXECUTION - how well particular movements and played and executed

UNISON - how well the pipe or drum corps plays together (as one)

ENSEMBLE - how the pipe and drum corps complement each other musically.

Entry forms may be obtained by contacting

Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario
50 Steeles Avenue East.
Milton Ontario
L9T 4W9

Champion Supreme

This award is given to the pipe band in each category by the Pipers Society of Ontario for accumulating the most points at 5 designated highland games over the summer season. Because of the size and prestigiousness of the competition at The Glengarry Highland Games, more points are awarded here than at other games.

Bands - Prize Money

Grade 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th Total
Grade 1 $3,000 $2,000 $1,600 $1,300 $1,000 $800 $9,700
Grade 2 $1,600 $1,400 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $600 $6,600
Grade 3 $1,400 $1,200 $1,000 $800 $600 $500 $5,500
Grade 4 $850 $750 $650 $550 $450 $350 $3,600
Grade 5 $600 $500 $400 $300 $200 $150 $2,150

Please note:

  • Bands are not permitted to tune-up within the gated area of the grounds other than in designated “Final Tuning” areas

  • Bands may not arrange for the installation of tents on the grounds

  • The installation of canopies or small tents are not permitted within the gated area.


Individual Piping and Drumming Competitions

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All competitors must register with the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario at www.ppbso.org where a 2018 Master Entry Form, available in late March, may be downloaded. Competitions include marches, strathspeys, reels, piobaireachd, jigs and hornpipes. Questions may also be directed to info@ppbso.org. The "Order of Play" under "Competition" at www.ppbso.org is posted one to two weeks before the Games.

Friday, August 2, 2019

  • All amateur, grades 1 to 5, solo piping and drumming, except bass & tenor

  • Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal and Bar (Canada)

Saturday, August 3, 2019

  • All professional solo piping and drumming

  • All tenor and bass drum contests

Prize Money - Professional Solo Events

Event 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Total
Glengarry Highland Games MSR $400 $300 $200 $100 $1000
Professional March – Piping $90 $80 $70 $60 $300
Professional S/R – Piping $90 $80 $70 $60 $300
Professional Jig – Piping $90 $80 $70 $60 $300
Professional Piobaireachd A $150 $120 $90 $60 $420
Professional Piobaireachd B $80 $70 $60 $50 $260
Professional M/S/R – Snare Drum $90 $80 $70 $60 $300
Professional H/J – Snare Drum $90 $80 $70 $60 $300
Professional Bass Drum $70 $60 $50 $40 $220
Professional Tenor Drum – Rhythm $70 $60 $50 $40 $220

Questions regarding Piping & Drumming competitions may be directed to

Gilbert Young
Tel: 613-678-3235

135 High Street
P.O. Box 486
Vankleek Hill, Ontario
K0B 1R0


Information for People Attending for the First Time

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The town of Maxville, Ontario, is located one hour east of Ottawa, Ontario and one hour west of Montreal, Quebec.

Exit at Highland Road, off Hwy. 417 and travel south for approximately 8 km. It is also approximately 45 minutes north of Cornwall, Ontario which is on Hwy. 401 traveling between Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec.

Temperatures during the time of the Glengarry Highland Games run from 85 to 95+ F or 25 to 32+ C, and historically it has been sunny and hot!

Consider the following for group or individual accommodations which comes highly recommended with very reasonable rates:

NAV Centre
1950 Montreal Road
Cornwall, Ontario
K6H 5R5
Tel. 1-613-936-5800

Camping is also available on the grounds.