Published: December 31, 2000

Awards for 2000

Our editorial staff has selected what it considers to be the most important products and artists of the year. The awards committee based its decisions on reviews, reader feedback, and overall market trends and competition results.

ArtistsSolo Piper of the Year:Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland. 2000 was a spellbinding year for McCallum, and one of the best competitive seasons of modern times. Among his victories were the Donald MacLeod Invitational, the Dan Reid Memorial, the Campbeltown Invitational, the Dunvegan Medal, the Former Winners MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering, the Glenfiddich Championship, the Lochaber Gold Axe, and the Former Winners MSR at London.

Pipe Band of the Year:Lothian & Borders Police, Edinburgh, Scotland. Despite being relegated to Grade 2 in fall 1999, Lothian & Borders dominated the grade throughout the 2000 season, securing its promotion to Grade 1 in October of this year. Competition success aside, L&B was the most talked-about band in the world in 2000, and, under the guidance of Pipe Major Colin MacLellan and lead drummer Arthur Cooke, the band is poised to return to its musical renown of the 1970s.

Drummer of the Year:Jim Kilpatrick, Whitburn, Scotland. By winning a phenomenal twelfth World Solo Drumming Championship, Kilpatrick again extended his legendary status as a player. Additionally, he travels the world teaching and bringing his knowledge to students and is a committed ambassador of pipe band drumming.

ProductsSolo Piping Recording of the Year:Willie McCallum, World’s Greatest Pipers, Volume 14. Lismor Recordings of Glasgow was fortunate to catch McCallum at the absolute height of his career, resulting in a CD that is, as Jack Lee cited in his Piper & Drummer review, flawless.

Pipe Band Recording of the Year:Dedication: the St. Thomas Episcopal School Pipe Band. This CD from Mike Cusack’s Grade 3 St. Thomas School band is an astonishing tour de force in the annals of pipe band recordings. Some of the most well-produced and arranged selections in history can be found on this project, proving that even “small” bands can produce standard-setting recordings without even the support of a record company.

“Fusion” Piping Recording of the Year:Tryst: Iain MacInnes. On this CD from Greentrax, MacInnes has made one of the finest folk piping recordings ever. His deft musicality and featherlight hands, combined with some of the UK’s best Celtic folk musicians makes this one of the year’s product highlights. We find ourselves playing Tryst again and again, the mark of a truly great recording.

Music Book of the Year:Bagpipe Music, Book 2, Bill Livingstone. Livingstone’s long-awaited follow-up to his first collection in 1988 is full of quality compositions, many of which have been heard over the years from his 78th Fraser Highlanders.

Special Product Awards:Pipes Ready! Jim McGillivray This instructional video on bagpipe maintenance is one of the most professional products of its kind to hit the piping world. A perfect complement to McGillivray’s tremendously successful Rhythmic Fingerwork, Pipes Ready! is the first of a series of instructional piping videos.

The Highland Pipe and Scottish Society, 1750-1950 by William Donaldson is a historical masterpiece in perfect keeping with the new millennium. Donaldson’s exhaustive and persuasive research has quite rightly brought into question the validity of piobaireachd as it is played today, and seriously queried the work of the Piobaireachd Society.

“Rocket” Drone Reeds from Mark Lee. Not produced on a wide scale, Oklahoman Mark Lee’s carbon-fibre drone reeds were one of the most sought-out products for pipers. In two models, the reeds were played by pipers such as Alasdair Gillies and Jack Lee with great effect. Rather than attempting to patent the reeds, Lee has made his designs available to all via the Internet.

News Story of the YearThe RSPBA’s Millennium Group Report. 2000 started with a bang with the subsmission of the much-anticipated report from the RSPBA’s “Millennium Group.” A hard-hitting and frank document that pulled no punches, the report was a breath of fresh air. While the pipe band world eagerly awaits successful implementation of the approved suggestions, the report eventually could be seen as a watershed for improving what is seen by many as a desperate situation.

The year 2000 was one of great products and performances, and proved to be a terrific way to start a new century. While many players, bands and products contributed to the year’s success, these are the ones we’ve settled upon. We looks forward to an even better 2001.

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