In 1949 the Knightswood Highlanders commissioned a composing competition. The judges deemed a composition by Hector MacLean to be the best, and his tune was named “The Knightswood Highlanders.” It’s not known if anyone has played it since.
Donald MacLeod was third in the contest. His tune? “The Knightswood Ceilidh.”
While judges don’t always get tune composing competitions right, the Stewart Society is commissioning a composing contest that will award the composition deemed to be the best with £300 and a silver trophy. The winning tune will be a four-parted 6/8 march named “Gordon Stewart,” in honour of a long-serving member and donor to the organization long time member of and generous donor to the Stewart Society, an organization for people with or connected with the last name of Stewart or Stuart.
The contest will be judged by a panel assembled by the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, and the first-prize tune will be performed at the Stewart Society Gathering at Murthly Castle in Perthshire in late August.
The organization plans for the composing competition to be an annual event, with every third year being for fiddle tunes. Closing date for the inaugural contest is August 12th.
A spokesperson for the Stewart Society said that entries need to be submitted “in hard copy on an unsigned sheet of manuscript paper, which must be accompanied by a covering letter, giving the contact details and a short biography of the composer. Entries may also be submitted by email, with the tune on a file in pdf format. The tune must not have the name of the composer on it. The email to which it is attached must contain the contact details of the composer and a short biography.”
Hard copy entries should be submitted to James Beaton, Stewart Society Composing Competition, National Piping Centre, 30-34 McPhater Street, Glasgow G4 0HW Scotland, or by e-mail.