August 08, 2020

Stuart Liddell wins first all-online Silver Chanter

Stuart Liddell on his way to winning his second Silver Chanter.

Glasgow – August 8, 2020 – To say that the 2020 Silver Chanter was the first time the event was held to an online audience would be incorrect. The event was live-streamed in 2019, but this year’s edition had no in-person audience, and instead was held before a worldwide gathering on the net as part of the 2020 Piping Live! Online Festival.

With the coronavirus lockdown mainly lifted in Scotland, the actual competing was in-person and live from the auditorium of the National Piping Centre in Glasgow. International travel is possible, but two-week quarantine rules on each side made it unlikely that any pipers from outside the UK would invest more than a month of their time to make the trip.

So it was an all-Scottish lineup vying for the award, each assigned well in advance a piobaireachd attributed to or closely connected with the MacCrimmon dynasty of Skye. Health guidelines were followed, with camera operators; lone judge Murray Henderson; and the superb emcee, James Beaton, all keeping a healthy two metres or more distant.

Ultimately, Stuart Liddell of Inveraray was the winner, playing “Lament for the Children.” It was his second win of the prize, which he took in 2014.

At the peak of viewership, only about 300 were connected to the livestream. The Internet has been a great thing, but it is truly a shame that, of the world’s tens of thousands of Highland pipers, only a relative handful are willing to pay a paltry £10 to hear six of the world’s greatest exponents of the art playing at their peak live from the centre of the piping world.

Regardless of the extraordinary situation, it’s truly a credit to the good people at the William Grant Foundation that their unstinting sponsorship of piping events continued uninterrupted.

Also competing: Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland, “Lament for Donald Ban MacCrimmon”; Sarah Muir, Glasgow, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”; Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland, “Lament for MacLeod of Colbeck”; Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, “Lament for MacSwan of Roaig”; and Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland, “Lament for Patrick Og MacCrimmon.”





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