April 05, 2024

Iain MacDonald of Regina wins Sir Ian and Neville McKay Piobaireachd Composition Competition

Iain MacDonald

Iain MacDonald of Regina, Saskatchewan, is the winner of the piobaireachd composing competition organized by Comunn na Piobaireachd (New Zealand) to honour the society’s founders, the brothers Ian and Neville McKay.

MacDonald’s tune, “Salute to Sir Ian and Neville McKay,” was awarded the NZ$1,000 prize out of the 16 entries judged by Murray Henderson, Comunn na Piobaireachd NZ Patron; Iain Hines, president; and Donald McKay, son of Ian McKay.

There were 16 entries, and the judges did not know the identities of the composers.

A regular contributor to pipes|drums since the magazine’s inception, Iain MacDonald is one of Canada’s greatest contributors to piping and drumming. He founded the Grade 2 City of Regina Pipe Band in 1992, and was pipe-major until last year. While living and competing in Scotland in the 1980s, he was taught by the great Pipe-Major Donald MacLeod and was a member of Grade 1 Babcock-Renfrew under the legendary Pipe-Major Iain McLeod.

MacDonald has taught dozens of pipers and helped found the Conservatory of Performing Arts Youth Pipe Band at the University of Regina. His historical novel I Piped, That She Might Dance about Angus MacKay was published in 2021 and was voted Product of the Year in the 2021 pipes|drums New Year’s Honours. In 2023, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to piping in Saskatchewan.

Click on the image to get the pdf “Salute to Sir Ian and Neville McKay.”

Neville and Ian McKay were instrumental in the development of piobaireachd in New Zealand for most of the 1900s. In the late 1940s, Neville McKay travelled to Scotland to seek instruction from the legendary John MacDonald of Inverness. MacDonald famously taught Robert Brown, Robert Nicol, and Donald MacLeod and is today regarded as the most influential teacher of ceol mor for modern times. Both McKays lived in Scotland for many years, continuing their study of the art after MacDonald died in 1953.

The McKays dedicated much of their lives to the performance, teaching and administration of competitions and events for piobaireachd, passing their knowledge to and inspiring many of New Zealand’s greatest pipers.






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