January 31, 2011

pipes|drums’ 2010 New Year’s Honours

Piper of the Year

Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland – Make it three pipes|drums Piper of the Year awards for Stuart Liddell, last year’s winner and a victor in 2007. Liddell continued his immaculate all-round accomplishments both as a significant winner of the top solo prizes and as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Inveraray & District, which produced a solid entry into the premier grade in 2010. Winner of both Former Winners MSRs, Stuart Liddell is a rarity in piping, at the top of the heap in light music, in piobaireachd, in blistering fast and creative performances and pipe band leadership. Right now, only a very few are coming close to his all-round ability, and there’s no end or even decline in sight.

Panelists’ comments:

“It has to be Liddell. Very talented and fantastically consistent. When you look at his solo career and band commitments he is hard to resist.”

“Overall, there’s no better piper on earth just now.”

“This guy’s purple patch just keeps on growing.”

Also considered (in alphabetical order):

Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland – her historic first-female win of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering catapulted the 18-year-old Henderson into elite status. Henderson was a close runner-up for the overall award.

Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia – Lee took down another Clasp at Inverness and helped to lead his Simon Fraser University band to another top-three World’s finish, all the while taking his teaching to all parts of the globe. And now he’s looking to conquer to reedmaking with his sons. A perennial nominee.

Terry Lee, Vancouver – The elder Lee continues to lead Simon Fraser University to consistent success that must be acknowledged as helping to set the standard for competition excellence.

Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland – another prodigious year from MacColl on the solo competition platform, with solid success across most of the major events, including another overall win at the 2010 Glenfiddich. MacColl now commits his time to teaching around the world, and his own Oban High School Pipe Band is emerging as a grassroots force to be reckoned with, gaining Pipe Band of the Year distinction from the Scots Trad Music Awards.

Roddy MacLeod, Glagsow – for yet another successful management of the Piping Live! festival alone, MacLeod again gains a nomination for overall Piper of the Year. Add to that his usual strong placings at the major solo events and Roddy MacLeod added another chapter to his storybook piping career.

Richard Parkes, Belfast – Field Marshal Montgomery continued to work its magic at the RSPBA and Irish championships, narrowly missing another World title. Along with Terry Lee, Parkes continues to cement his place in the pantheon of all-time greats.

Terry Tully, Dublin – what a year for the St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe-Major. An indomitable attitude finally brought him his first World Pipe Band Championship victory, along the way mounting sold-out concerts, making SLOT perhaps the most popular band on earth. With 2010 being the band’s 100th anniversary, what better way to celebrate the storybook year?

Gordon Walker, Galston, Scotland – while Walker didn’t gain an invitation to the 2010 Glenfiddich Championships, he showed remarkable consistency in terms of solo prizes. And he’s one of very few elite solo pipers to compete at the small Highland games over the summer – usually mopping up the prizes wherever he turns up.

Ross Walker, Livingston, Scotland – many would say that 2010 was the best year ever for Walker’s Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, consistently nudging against Field Marshal Montgomery and St. Laurence O’Toole for top-spot at the UK majors. Walker’s leadership through tough times cannot be understated.




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