30 October update: the results are in for the 2023 Glenfiddich Piping Championships, with Alex Gandy of Dartmouth placing 3rd overall and taking first place in the march, strathspey and reel (MSR) portion of the competition.
Dartmouth father-son Bruce and Alex Gandy will go head-to-head as they compete at the Glenfiddich Piping Championships on Saturday, October 28, at the historic Blair Castle in Scotland. They are two of only ten bagpipers in the world invited to compete after winning qualifying events in the United Kingdom over the past year.
Having us both there is an amazing part of sharing a passion with my dad and represents years of hard work and dedication from both of us. – Alex Gandy
This is the second time the Gandy duo will compete, having previously made bagpiping history in 2018 by being the first father and son invited to compete in the contest.
Five years later, they are set to return to compete again, and although there will only be one winner, the Gandys are approaching the event in the spirit of mutual respect and support.
Calling it the highest honour an individual solo piper can have, the younger Gandy says with only ten players competing each year, it is even more exciting to compete with his father for the second time.
“It doesn’t increase intensity for us or create animosity,” says Alex. “Having us both there is an amazing part of sharing a passion with my dad and represents years of hard work and dedication from both of us.”
Alex Gandy is the Pipe Major of the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel Pipe Band, one of only three top-level Grade 1 pipe bands in Canada. Bruce Gandy is the Pipe Sergeant for the Band.
When not competing against each other, the two run the Gandy Bagpiping Foundation, whose mission is to “promote and enhance bagpipe music through educational funding and partnership.”
“Having both Bruce and Alex qualify once again within a five-year time span is really quite remarkable,” says Scott Long, managing director and executive producer of the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. “Sure, Nova Scotia is known for its Scottish music and traditions, but I am not so sure people realize that we truly have some of the world’s top bagpipers living and teaching music in our communities.”
Celebrating its 50th year, the Glenfiddich Piping Championship was established in 1974 to inspire and showcase the world’s best solo bagpipers.
This year’s championships will be live-streamed from Blair Castle in Scotland on October 28, starting at 6:00 a.m. Atlantic Time. Tickets to the live stream are available by visiting The National Piping Centre’s website.