Inverness, Scotland – September 3, 2015 – At the Northern Meeting at Eden Court Theatre, Finlay Johnston of Glasgow scored a rare piobaireachd and light music Inverness double by winning the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal for piobaireachd, shortly after he had been announced the winner of the A-Grade March, Strathspey & Reel. Johnston from now on gains entry to both the Clasp and the Silver Star MSR for previous winners at the Northern Meeting.
Interesingly, Johnston won with “Farewell to the Laird of Islay,” the same tune he competed with when he won the Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering in 2012.
After the judges deliberated for longer than an hour, the Silver Medal winner, Sean McKeown, was announced at close to 8 pm. McKeown had finished second in the Silver Medal the week before at the Argyllshire Gathering. Oban Silver Medal winner Sandy Cameron narrowly missed the double with a third in the contest.
Just before midnight, Bruce Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, was announced the winner of the Silver Star March, Strathspey & Reel for winners of the A-Grade MSR. It was Gandy’s first win of the world’s biggest prize for solo light music. It’s the second time that a non-Scot has won the prize, the other being Jack Lee of Surrey, British Columbia (1981, 1987, 2007, 2011).
Highland Society of London Gold Medal (25 competed)
1st Finlay Johnston, “Farewell to the Laird of Islay”
2nd Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, “The End of the Great Bridge”
3rd Gordon McCready, Renfrew, Scotland, “Lady Margaret MacDonald’s Salute”
4th Bill Geddes, Glasgow, “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay”
5th James P. Troy, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, “Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck”
Judges: Bill Livingstone, John MacDougall, Bill Wotherspoon
Silver Medal (28 competed)
1st Sean McKeown, Toronto, “Lament for the Only Son”
2nd Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland
3rd Sandy Cameron, Roy Bridge, Scotland
4th Andrew Lee, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee”
5th Sarah Muir, Inveraray, Scotland
Judges: John Don MacKenzie, Malcolm McRae, John Wilson
A-Grade MSR (31 competed)
1st Finlay Johnston
2nd Calum Beaumont, Bo’ness, Scotland
3rd Alastair Lee, Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
4th Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
5th Craig Sutherland, Crieff, Scotland
Judges: Walter Cowan, Iain Morrison, Bob Worrall
Silver Star MSR (25 competed)
1st Bruce Gandy, “Leaving Lunga,” “Argyllshire Gathering,” “Bob of Fettercairn,” “The Islay Ball,” “The Grey Bob,” “John Garroway”
2nd Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
3rd Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
4th Niall Stewart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
5th Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland
Judges: Ian Duncan, Iain MacFadyen, Iain Morrison
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the second day at Inverness, including the Clasp and B-Grade MSR, as they become available.