Published: January 31, 2010

The 2009 pipes|drums’ Readers Choice Awards

The second annual pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice Awards again attracted thousands of votes via the magazine’s online poll system, with you choosing from the likes of Inveraray & District, Strathclyde Police, Stuart Liddell, Barry Wilson, Willie McCallum, Reid Maxwell, FMM, Terry Tully, Field Marshal Montgomery, Simon Fraser University and others to be the big winners.
 
Our Readers’ Choice Awards served again as a complement to the pipes|drums New Year’s Honours, which this year were determined by a panel of 20 of the world’s leading pipers and drummers. The pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice Awards put the power in the hands of all readers by way of their mouse.
 
As always, attempts to stuff the virtual ballot boxes were minimized through the deletion of multiple votes from single Internet protocol addresses. Interestingly, this sort of practice has rapidly declined, presumably because readers understand it’s futile.
 
And the winners are . . .
 

2009 pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice: Pipe Band of the Year
 
With 38% of the votes, the Invereray & District Pipe Band of Inveraray, Scotland, completed its undefeated season, adding to its 2009 pipes|drums New Year’s Honour by gaining the Readers’ Choice Award for 2009 Pipe Band of the Year. As a Grade 2 band last year, to be able to win the hearts and minds of the piping and drumming world against the likes of the leading Grade 1 bands is a massive accomplishment.
 
In second, and not far behind, was the 2009 World Champions, Simon Fraser University, with 34%. Third goes to Dublin’s St. Laurence O’Toole, with 10%, and, with 9% of the vote, next Field Marshal Montgomery of Belfast was fourth in voting. The newsworthy – but this year for mainly non-competition reasons – Strathclyde Police gained 8% of the vote.
 

2009 pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice: Piper of the Year
 
What a year it was for Stuart Liddell of Inveraray, Scotland. A massively successful season at the helm of Inveraray & District was matched by a huge year on the solo boards, resulted in him being the overwhelming selection as the 2009 pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice as Piper of the Year, with 69% of the vote.
 
Pipe-Major Terry Lee of Simon Fraser University finished second in voting with 9%, while another Terry, Pipe-Major Terry Tully of St. Laurence O’Toole, was third with 7%. Perennial favourite Richard Parkes, Field Marshal Montgomery’s leader garnered 4% of readers’ choices, while the remaining nominees, whose accomplishments were mainly in the solo piping world, finished with Northern Meeting Gold Medallist Glenn Brown of Glasgow (3%); Bruce Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia (3%); Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland (2%); Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow, (2%); and Alastair Dunn, Glasgow, (1%). It’s important to note that all of these pipers are not simply prize-winning machines; they contribute to the art through teaching, organizing events, and designing important products. To be nominated for the category is a testament to their services to piping.
 

2009 pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice: Pipe Band Drummer of the Year
 
For the second time in succession, SFU Lead-Drummer Reid Maxwell was the readers’ choice for Pipe Band Drummer of the year. Maxwell led his band’s corps to a World Pipe Band Drumming title at Glasgow Green and, as always, was a driving force behind SFU’s renowned ensemble sound. With 40% of the vote he was a substantial choice in the category.
 
You gave 2009 World Solo Drumming Champion and ScottishPower L-D Barry Wilson, who took the contest for the third straight year, second-place in voting, with a solid 22%, while Inveraray & District L-D and former World Solo Champion Steven McWhirter was third with 20%. Perennial contender and pipe band drumming legend Jim Kilpatrick of was fourth with 8%, while Boghall & Bathgate L-D Gordon Brown and tenor-drumming leader Tyler Fry of House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead each gained 5% of the votes.
 

2009 pipes|drums’ Readers’ Choice: Recording / DVD of the Year
 
The quantity of pure piping and pipe band CDs continues to be relatively few, but in 2009 there were several important and critically-acclaimed products. Late in the year, SFU released Affirmation, its CD of the band’s August concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and the recording emerged as the Readers’ Choice with 35% of the votes.
 
Close behind with 35% was John McDonald’s DVD, On The Day, the documentary of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band in its 2008 World’s project. Bill Livingstone’s Northern Man solo project gained 15% of the votes, while New Zealand’s Manawatu Scottish took in 5% with its studio CD, 12,000 Miles. The critically acclaimed recordings, The Extraordinary Little Cough, by Glasgow’s John Mulhearn, received a 4% share, and Wendy Stewart and Gary West’s Hinterlands captured 3%.
 
Congratulations to all winners of the 2009 pipes|drums Readers’ Choice Awards! Congratulations also to all nominees, and thanks to you, the readers, for making your votes count.

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