Nicol - Brown Amateur Invitational

Admission is free at all piping events during the Nicol-Brown weekend, thanks to the EUSPBA and other generous sponsors and volunteers. Your donations are always welcome!


Ben McClamrock Reviews the 2017 Nicol-Brown in the Piping Press.

Ian K. MacDonald and Andrew Lee in Concert

Friday, October 6, 2017 at 7:00 pm
First Reformed Church of Scotia
224 N. Ballston Ave (Route 50)
Scotia, NY 12302


A rare evening of piping by two of the world’s premier pipers, Ian K. MacDonald from Whitby, Ontario, and Andrew Lee from Surrey, British Columbia.

The recital was a benefit for the Nicol-Brown Amateur Invitational Competition, and a welcoming reception for the 2017 competitors. The competitors were introduced and received their tune selections for the contest on Saturday.

The 2017 Nicol-Brown Contest

Saturday, October 7, 2017 - 9:30 am to 7:00 pm
First Reformed Church of Scotia
224 N. Ballston Ave (Route 50)
Scotia, NY 12302


Ten of the finest Amateur pipers from across North America have been invited to play in an elite invitational contest with three events: 6/8 Marches, Piobaireachd and MSR. The contest is dedicated annually to the memory of Robert U. Brown and Robert B. Nicol.

View a pdf of the 2017 Nicol-Brown program.
(Program graphics donated by Kevin Wisehart.)


The 2017 Results are posted here.


Judges for the 2017 Nicol-Brown Contest:

Ian K. MacDonald, from Whitby, Ontario, won the Gold Medal at both Oban and Inverness in 2016, and placed 2nd in the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban in August, 2017. He has been Pipe Major of the Toronto Police Pipe Band since 1996, and brings decades of experience in band and solo competition to the bench this year at the Nicol-Brown. Ian K. was a competitor at the Nicol-Brown as an amateur piper in 1984, and we are honored to have him return as a judge, recitalist, and workshop teacher for the 2017 Nicol-Brown Weekend.

Andrew Lee, from Surrey, British Columbia, was a Nicol-Brown competitor in 2002 and 2003, and has been a successful professional soloist since 2004, winning among other prizes, the US Silver Medal and the US Gold Medal for Piobaireachd in Kansas City. Andrew is a long-time member of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

Ben McClamrock, from Baltimore, Maryland, was a Nicol-Brown competitor in 2006 and 2007, and in the past 10 years has won professional solo prizes in the US, Canada, and Scotland. He was Pipe Sergeant of the City of Washington Pipe Band, and is the current instructor of the Maryland Youth Pipe Band.


Celebration Dinner

Saturday, October 7, 2017
The Radisson at 205 Wolf Road, Albany 12205

Our private room opens at 7:30 pm.
8:00 dinner by reservation ($25.00)

Optional Drop-In Sunday Breakfast

Sunday, October 8, 2017 - 8:00 am to 9:30 am
Professor Java’s Coffee Sanctuary
217 Wolf Road, Albany 12205

Master Class

Sunday, October 8, 2017 - 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Celtic Hall
430 New Karner Road
Albany, NY 12205


What is a Master Class?

Doesn’t this sound like a good way to learn?

Nicol-Brown competitors will be given the privilege of receiving instruction from Ian K. MacDonald and Ben McClamrock. Pipers at all levels are invited to observe the Master Class and learn from the suggestions given to each competitor. Topics will include musical expression, technique, and improving performances toward the professional level.

Email Maureen Connor: if you would like to reserve a spot for this year’s Master Class.

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