Pipes, Drums, & Bands

The British Columbia Pipers’ Association administers the solo piping, drumming, and pipe band events. All information related to event registration, order of play, and schedules will be posted on the BCPA website.Vancouver Police Pipe Band

Competitors visit the BCPA website for registration information.

Results of competitions are available here.

The Order of Play can be viewed here after entries close.

You Be The Judge…

Whether adjudicating a solo player or pipe band contest, the decision of a judge is dependent upon a number of variables beginning with the playing level of the competitor. A beginner, for example, is not held to the same standards as a professional. Beginners play in a grade 5 band. As players gain more experience and perform with higher skill level, they progress upward through grades 4, 3, 2, with grade 1 being the highest. Solo competitors can play in the professional class after grade 1.

The primary elements judges use to consider their prizes are:

  • Greighland Crossing Pipe BandEXECUTION – the technical aspects of playing an instrument with controlled sound.
  • MUSICAL EXPRESSION – the ability to properly phrase tunes at tempos that contribute to its overall musicality.  As players proceed up the grades they are expected to combine execution and expression into more competent performances which show an increase in control, mastery of the rudiments, and more expressiveness.
  • TONE & TUNING – the overall sound of the instruments. Proper tuning and blending of the chanter and drones contributes to tone. Tuning should be done so that no wavering sound is detected as the instrument is played. (Wavering is a sure sign that the drones are out of tune with the chanter). Side drums should always have a crisp sound, but when it comes to bagpipes, judges may have preferences for a particular tone. The judge listens in order to ascertain whether the tone is consistent throughout the performance and pleasing to the ear.Dowco Triumph St. Pipe Band, 2011
  • ENSEMBLE – pertains to band competitions. The ensemble judge listens to the ‘fit’ of the drum score to the pipe music, the balance of volumes from side, tenor, and bass drums with the pipes, and the overall effect of ‘one great instrument’, rather than a collection of individual instruments.


Simon Fraser University Pipe Band (Gr. 1)

Simon Fraser University Pipe Band (Gr. 1)



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