A Short History of the VPA
The Victorian Pipers Association Inc was formed in 2003 to focus on the development of the Highland Bagpipe in Victoria.
The founding members were Brian Niven, Andrew Silver, Ian Lyons and Murray Blair, who with support of their piping peers aimed to rekindle interest in a declining scene. As a result an independent, non-profit organisation central for Highland Bagpipe performance in Victoria was formed, called the ‘VPA’.
The VPA introduced; a new grading structure (Novice, D,C,B and A), multiple events in each grade at every competition including Piobaireachd, a Piper of the Year league competition, a new solo piping judging list, a focus on music by providing supporting workshops for it’s members, inviting regular guest pipers to share their expertise, piping events to showcase local members performances and no less than 5 competitions throughout the state of Victoria.
The first VPA competition was held in April, 2003 in Melbourne which attracted 56 pipers. In then held competitions in Terang, Williamstown, Ballarat and Moorabbin, all with great success which continues to this day. The Victorian Highland Pipe Band Association recognised the VPA’s expertise and success, and as a result ceased to offer solo piping competitions in support of the VPA scheduled events as of January 2004.
The VPA’s showcase event is the Victorian Solo Piping Championships which includes the VPA Gold, Silver and Bronze Medal competitions, alongside the James Center Memorial Medal, Clan MacLennan Shield, Bradshaw Family Trophy and Clan MacGillivray Shield. The VPA recognises the support given by the Victorian Scottish Heritage Cultural Foundation and since 2003, McCallum Bagpipes (Scotland).
In 2018, the Victorian Solo Piping Championships had a record 156 competition performances, a record for Victoria and the largest solo piping competition in Australia.
The VPA’s life members include Ross Campbell, Brian Niven and Ian Lyons.
The VPA endeavors to foster new talent, provide platforms for youth to learn and perform, and support aspiring pipers to further develop in positive environment.