Callum Beaumont: 2023 Glenfiddich Solo Piping Champion
Blair Atholl, Scotland – October 28, 2023 – Callum Beaumont of St. Andrews, Scotland, was the winner of the 2023 Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championships, the fiftieth rendition of the event held for the fiftieth time in the Great Hall of Blair Castle, the ancestral home of the Duke of Atholl.
It was Beaumont’s first time winning the award, taking the championship by merit of his win of the Piobaireachd event, prize lists comprising eight of the 10 contestants.
In the MSR, Alex Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, took the event. The audience was treated to numerous tunes seldom heard in competition as top solo pipers continued to submit less-played pieces.
There was a three-way tie for the championship between Beaumont, Finlay Johnston and Alex Gandy, each gaining five aggregate points. The Piobaireachd result broke each tie.
The Balvenie Medal for services to piping was given to Roddy MacLeod, his contemporaries and close friends Murray Henderson and Ronnie McShannon presenting the award.
The competition is underwritten by the William Grant Foundation and, starting next year, will be managed by the National Piping Centre.
As part of the anniversary, a special 13-year-old Glenfiddich Championship single cask single malt whisky release was created, with 100 made available to the general public for about $420 each. All of the contestants received one of the 200 bottles produced.
Each competitor and the past Glenfiddich champions still living received a commemorative kilt pin created for the event. Past winners on hand: Murray Henderson, Finlay Johnston, Jack Lee, Stuart Liddell, Angus D. MacColl, Iain MacFadyen, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum, Iain Speirs, and Gavin Stoddart.
Liz Maxwell of the William Grant Foundation was also welcomed to the stage to be thanked for her 47 times organizing the event, which, going forward, will be managed by the National Piping Centre.
The hall was warm, and some competitors struggled to manage the conditions.
The event was entertainingly emceed by John Wilson, who regaled the crowd with anecdotes and even a bit of singing.
1st Callum Beaumont (five aggregate points, piob preference)
2nd Finlay Johnston, Glasgow (five aggregate points, piob preference)
3rd Alex Gandy (five aggregate points)
4th Angus D. MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland (four aggregate points, piob preference)
5th Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia (four aggregate points)
1st Callum Beaumont, “Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck”
2nd Finlay Johnston, “Lament for the Children”
3rd Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland, “Craigellachie”
4th Bruce Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, “Lament for the Laird of Anapool”
5th Angus D. MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “Nameless – cherede darievea”
Judges: Murray Henderson, Jack Taylor, Bob Worrall
MSR (each tune played twice)
1st Alex Gandy, “Brigadier-General Ronald Cheape of Tiroran,” “The Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “Duncan MacIntyre, RMS Athenia”
2nd Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, “South Hall,” “Lady Loudon,” “The Little Cascade”
3rd Angus D. MacColl, “The Argyllshire Gathering,” “Susan MacLeod,” “Alex C. MacGregor”
4th Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland, “The Lonach Gathering,” “Dora MacLeod,” “John McKechnie’s Big Reel”
5th Finlay Johnston, “Duncan MacColl,” “The Islay Ball,” “Alex Cameron, Champion Piper”
Judges: Jimmy Banks, Ian Duncan, Iain MacLellan
Also competing: Alasdair Henderson of Edinburgh and Innes Smith, Glasgow.
Stay tuned for the winner of pipes|drums Pick The Glenfiddich Five contest for readers, sponsored by R.G. Hardie & Co., which will be determined once we go through the thousands of entries.