The BC Highland Games Open Pìobaireachd Competition

This is the highest level of piping competition and takes place the night before the BC Highland Games officially opens. Some of the best pro players from the Pacific Northwest are competing in this classical form of highland bagpipe "big" music.

Join us for an evening of Ceol Mor (the big music) in the Highland Village at Percy Perry Stadium. Come in your kilts and tartans to enjoy the atmosphere of the Highlands of Scotland with other piping aficionados. You can read more about Piobaireachd music below, but why not see it live.....

When: Friday night June 15, 2018 Starting at 5:00 pm
Where: Highland Village, Percy Perry Stadium, Coquitlam
Admission: $5.00 Tickets avail online in March, 2018

2017 Competitors

Andrew Lee. Last year's BCHG Open Piobaireachd and Boney Music Invitational winner is back to defend his title. 

Zephan Knichel

Alastair Lee

John Lee

Andrew Lewis

Edward McIlwaine

Kevin McLean

What is Piobaireachd?

(from The Piobaireachd Society) 

Piobaireachd, pronounced "pea-brock", is the classical music of the Great Highland Bagpipe and for which the highest awards in the bagpiping competitions world are given.

A more general term is Ceòl Mor (Scottish Gaelic ceòl mór) meaning the "Great Music" which separates piobaireachd from the more popular dances, reels, marches and strathspeys which are called Ceòl Beag or "Little Music." There is freedom in the piobaireachd to express joy, sadness, or sometimes in the “gathering” tunes , a peremptory warning or call to arms.

Piobaireachd is an art music genre unique to the Great Highland Bagpipe that consists of a theme or “ground,” which  is repeated and underlined in a series of variations of increasing complexity that follow the theme. This usually progresses to the crunluath variation, where the piper’s fingers give a dazzling technical display of embellishment or gracenotes.

The theme is often very slow, and the general effect of the whole piece of music is slow – slowness being a characteristic of Highland music. They are anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes in length and present the performer with technical, musical and tonal challenges to address to give a high quality performance.



Champion BC piper Jack Lee performs “War or Peace” – a rarely heard pìobaireachd at the More Ceol Mor recital at Mosspark Armoury in Toronto, January 31, 2015. Video courtesy: Pipes/Drums magazine.

2016 BCHG Open Piobaireachd Winner Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee (L) with Andrew Bonar & son Cameron

Andrew Lee, on right, with Andrew Bonar and son Cameron

Andrew Lee from Surrey, BC has been piping since the age of five. Born into a family of famous pipers, with his father and uncle being the founders and leaders of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, he has been part of the piping world his whole life.

Andrew was a member of the Robert Malcolm Memorial juvenile pipe band for several years, finishing off as pipe major of the band. He won three World Juvenile Championships with RMM, and he has won the World Championship with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

Andrew placed second overall in the BC Pipers’ Association grand aggregate standings for 2016 and achieved a Gold Medal victory at Winter Storm in Kansas City. His other major 2016 prizes include the Cairn (Open Piobaireachd) at the BC Pipers’ Association Annual Gathering, and the Bellingham, Penticton, and Kamloops Highland Games aggregates.

Andrew is unique in that he makes his own drones, bag, and reeds as part of Lee and Sons Bagpipes.

In previous years, Andrew has won the BC Pipers’ Association Grand Aggregates in grade 3 and twice in grade 1.  He won the United States Silver Medal competitions in Kansas City in 2007. In 2010, Andrew won the United States Gold Medal for piobaireachd in Kansas City.

As well as his North American success, Andrew has been a regular prizewinner at events in Scotland, including 2nd prize in the B Strathspey Reel at Oban in 2010.