September 08, 2020

Donald MacLeod Memorial goes digital and live

The Pipe-Major Donald Macleod MBE Memorial Piping Competition will happen in 2020 with invited competitors competing on November 27th at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, their performances recorded, and the event broadcast online at a later date.

The Lewis & Harris Piping Society, organizers of the event that is normally held on the Isle of Lewis, birthplace of the namesake great piper, teacher, and composer, had postponed the original April 3rd event due to the coronavirus crisis.

“We feel that we have arrived at a reasonably practical solution that complies with the current regulations and we are grateful to the National Piping Centre for their help and special thanks to the director, Finlay MacDonald,” said Dr. John Smith, chairman of the Lewis & Harris Piping Society.

To safeguard health the contest will be held throughout the day, with competitors present only in pairs at assigned times to compete before a panel of three judges. Apart from essential workers, there will be no audience.

The contest is funded with £5,000 from Point & Sandwick Trust, and next year’s event has already been scheduled for April 2nd, 2021 in Stornoway, Lewis. Similar to the recent Pipe-Major Alasdair Gillies Memorial Recital Challenge, each competitor receives an appearance fee just for playing. Point & Sandwick Trust has committed £25,000 to the competition over the next five years.

Competitors at this year’s event:

  • Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland
  • Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
  • Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
  • Gordon McCready, Paisley, Scotland
  • Sarah Muir, Glasgow
  • Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland
  • Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
  • Niall Stewart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland

The event for the first time will hold a competition for pipers 18 and younger from the Outer Hebrides. The juniors will submit recordings to be assessed by judges Ian Duncan and Iain MacCrimmon.

Finlay Johnston and Stuart Liddell, winner and runner-up, respectively, of the 2019 P-M Donald MacLeod Memorial. [Photo Derek MacKinnon]
Finlay Johnston of Glasgow was the overall winner of the 2019 Donald MacLeod Memorial.

The contest pays homage to the MacLeod’s music, with competitors required to perform tunes written by him. MacLeod is universally regarded as one of the greatest composers of Highland bagpipe music in history.



Johnston continues to excel with MacLeod Memorial win




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