Jack Lee: 2021 Glenfiddich Champion
Blair Atholl, Scotland – October 30, 2021 – The solo piping world returned to a stronger feeling of normal with the live staging of the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship in the Great Hall of Blair Castle before an in-person and online audience.
Jack Lee of Surrey, British Columbia, emerged the overall champion, with a second and third in the piobaireachd and MSR, respectively, winning on piobaireachd preference over runner-up Angus D. MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland. Finlay Johnston of Glasgow was third overall. It was Lee’s third time winning the overall prize.
Piobaireachd (submit six, perform one)
1st Finlay Johnston, “Lament for the Union”
2nd Jack Lee, “Lament for Colin Roy MacKenzie”
3rd Angus D. MacColl, “The Unjust Incarceration”
4th Callum Beaumont, Dollar, Scotland, “The Daughter’s Lament”
5th Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, “Scarce of Fishing”
Judges: Stuart Samson, Jack Taylor, John Wilson
March, Strathspey & Reel (submit six of each, perform one of each repeated)
1st Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland, “Mrs. Duncan MacFadyen,” “Susan MacLeod,” “John MacKechnie’s Big Reel”
2nd Angus D. MacColl, “MacLean of Pennycross,” “The Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “Alick C. MacGregor”
3rd Jack Lee, “Abercairney Highlanders,” “The Caledonian Society of London,” “Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran”
4th Iain Speirs, “P-M Jimmy MacWilliams,” “The Top of Craigvenow,” “Traditional”
5th Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow, “The Marchioness of Tullibardine,” “Piper’s Bonnet,” “The Grey Bob”
Judges: Ian Duncan, Iain MacFadyen, Willie Morrison
Also competing were Glenn Brown, Glasgow; Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland; and Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland.
It was the forty-eighth running of the contest, started in 1974 as the Grant’s Championship and organized by William Grant & Son distillers, as a vision of piping-loving company patriarch Sandy Grant Gordon. The name of the event was changed in the 1980s to the Glenfiddich Championship to highlight the organization’s marquee brand of single malt whisky. The contest is now organized by the William Grant Foundation.
The contestants gained invitations from the two existing qualifying events that took place in the last year, with Liddell being the incumbent Glenfiddich champion and Beaumont the overall winner of the Masters Competition at Piping Live! in August. The other eight competitors were chosen based on previous achievements at the Glenfiddich, six being past overall champions and Brown and Sinclair for winning the 2019 Piobaireachd and MSR events, respectively.
Tickets to watch the competition in-person or online were £15 each. The hall was full to the approximate 600 capacity, and worldwide log-ins peaked around 350.
Fergus Muirhead hosted the livestream broadcast and Bob Worrall was the emcee of the in-person event. Worrall later awarded the Balvenie Medal, as is the privilege of the nominator, to John Wilson of Glasgow. The medal is given for services to piping.
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