Pipe Band Competition Judges
Nick Hudson: Piping (All Aspects), Ensemble
Jim Sim: Drumming
Jim Sim started drumming lessons with his Father at the age of 8. He worked his way up the solo ranks and eventually was placed in the Open. His early influences in drumming were from his father and John Kirkwood Sr. from St. Catharines, Ontario. In 1975 along with Pipe Major Ian Swinton the new Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band was formed. In 1985 the band was promoted to Grade 1 which achieved one of the band’s goals which was to go from Grade 4 to Grade 1 in ten years using mostly players taught by Ian and Jim. Midlothian won many titles several times including the U.S. Open Championship, and the North American Championship and several placings in the top 6 at the World Championships.
Jim retired from active playing after the 2009 season to devote more time to teaching and judging. Jim has taught many young players who have gone on to win many contests of their own as well as many of the bands in North America. Jim has also had the honor of playing with The Chieftains, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He is currently a Full Adjudicator and President of the MidWest Pipe Band Association. When not playing he enjoys spending time with his wife Barb and their family as well as following the White Sox and Black Hawks.
Ken Eller, also known as "The Captain", has had a 60 year piping career ... 15 times a winner of the North American Pipe Band Championships with two bands: the 78th Fraser Highlanders (1992-2002) and as Pipe Major of the Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band (1971 – 1987). He is now retired from active competition and has expanded his teaching career with on line lessons at www.thecaptainscorner.com. He has been a member of the Piper's and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO) since 1962 and is also a member of EUSPBA, the Eastern US Pipe Band Association. In 1984/85 he was admitted to the panel of Adjudicators for both of these organizations. Since 2005, he has been on the panel of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) as an international piping adjudicator.
Originally taught by Richard MacPherson, brother of Hugh MacPherson, the Edinburgh Highland Outfitter, he continued his studies under double Gold Medalist Pipe Major John Wilson, Edinburgh, through the 1960’s. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s he was a managing partner in the bagpipe-making firm of Dunbar- Eller, Ltd, presently Dunbar Bagpipes.
Ken teaches piping full time since retiring from a 32-year career as a mathematics professor.
He has judged the Australian, European and World Championships (2012); the New Zealand, North American and World Championships in 2013, the Scottish and World Championships in 2014, the World Championships, 2015, the New Zealand Nationals in 2016, the Scottish and World’s Championships in 2017, the World’s in 2018. This past year, 2019, he judged the Scottish and the World’s Championship in Scotland.
He has been actively involved in studio recordings and emceeing over the years with The George Sherriff Memorial and the William Livingstone Memorial, plus 17 consecutive years as host for the Winter Storm concert in Kansas City, MO, as part of the Midwest Highland Arts Festival.