January 31, 2012

pipes|drums’ 2011 New Year’s Honours

Solo Competition Piper of the Year


Roddy MacLeod, Glasgow – a fantastic season in the solos for Roddy MacLeod, starting with a victory of the Bratach Gorm and culminating with an overall win of the 2011 Glenfiddich Championship. MacLeod was yet again a model of consistency, and pipped the rest to gain our award.

Panelists” comments:

  • “Twenty-three years between MSR wins at the Glenfiddich. Says it all.”
  • “He is like the terminator. You can’t put him down.”
  • Glenfiddich Championship edged it for me.”

Also nominated (in alphabetical order):

Stuart Liddell – after his phenomenal 2010 solo season, it would have been nearly impossible for Liddell to continue at the same pace in 2011. But he managed to again rise to the top with the possible apex being his unbelievable performance at the Todd Bar Recital Challenge in August.

Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland – the Clasp at Inverness and always, but always, in the prize lists at the major competitions, including seconds in the Senior Piobaireachd and the Silver Star MSR at Oban. Another great campaign for MacColl.

Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland – only by his standards was 2011 an off-year for Willie McCallum, but masterful light music performances and a return to great piobaireachd form made the last year a memorable one for the Campbeltown native who has nothing more to prove but still lots more to play.

Iain Speirs, Edinburgh – 2011 was a break-out year for Speirs, winning the Senior Piobaireachd  and third prize in the Silver Star MSR at the Argyllshire Gathering; the overall championship at the Scottish Pipers Society of London competitions; and ending the year with a Piobaireachd win at the Glenfiddich.


  1. I’ll try that comment again, can’t you have a pipesdrums book of the year award (any book pipe/drum or pipe band related) and also a separate product award?

  2. While I can see this is rather novel and might interest some, I think it actually serves to do little else but highlight just how small the top of the pyramid is (and that our focus is always up there). With the very rare exception, it’s the ‘same olds’ year after year. Band of the year: FMM. How many ‘experts’ are required to deliberate and agree on that…? It would be better if the ‘panel’ had carte blanche to dissect the year that was and make some statements about what was good, bad or otherwise, and not restricted to the elite level. Some commentary about the grades around the globe – comparisons etc. Readers might benefit a bit more if the expert panel was engaged to express its views on the broader scene, not simply be polled or asked to recite results that we all know already.

  3. Thanks, @uilleannonlooker. If you look back at the awards over the years (see links at article end), you’ll see that some years there are enough books to warrant that. 2011 saw relatively few collections being released. @Lawrie – thanks for your, as usual, frank feedback. Similarly, you’ll see in past years it’s not so straightforward. I agree that a lively debate with a panel of experts on the good and the bad of the year would be fun and enlightening, but the awards are structured as such to make them relatively straightforward. Panelists did in fact mention people, bands, events and products that they thought merited nomination, and, interestingly, every band nominated had at least one vote, so the winner was not unanimous.



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