Surrey’s Jack Lee, internationally noted bagpiper and Pipe Sergeant for the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, has taken first prize in a recent prestigious piping competition in Scotland.
His win of the Senior Piobaireachd (contest for former gold medal winners) at the annual Argyllshire Gathering, in Oban on Aug. 21, was part of what has been described as a “historic” sweep of the top awards by B.C. pipers at this year’s event.
Fellow SFU piper Alan Bevan took the Highland Society of London gold medal at the contest, while Vancouver Island piper James Troy received the contest’s silver medal.
Close on their heels was another Surrey piper, Andrew Bonar, who placed fourth in the gold medal competition, following a best overall piper win – out of a field of 50 – at the Perth Highland Games.
While SFU performed well in its March, Strathspey and Reel (MSR) program on Glasgow Green that morning, during the medley performance in the afternoon the band was hit by a downpour of cold, driving rain and wind gusting to more than 45 km/h (blowing some spectators’ umbrellas inside-out).
“It was going pretty good for us until the weather hit us like that,” Lee said at the time.
“Not the worst we have ever had in 32 years, but close. Then after that we got (sunshine) and it’s not a level playing field. The bands after us have an advantage. The judges aren’t allowed to take the weather into account.
“They have to judge each band only on what they hear.”
But it has not been an unprofitable trip for Lee, who also won the Masters Invitational Solo Piping contest in Glasgow, and was consequently invited back to the Glenfiddich Championship in Scotland in October (he was the first North American piper to win the contest, in 2003).