Kirsteen Triumphs in Annual ARCHIE Kenneth Quaich Amateur Piobaireachd Contest

8226685535_0f0dee67c3_oBy Alan Forbes, Secretary of the
Piobaireachd Society Music Committee

new-piob-soc-logoThe 24th annual Archie Kenneth Quaich competition for amateur piobaireachd players was held in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society’s rooms in Edinburgh on Saturday 5 March. The competition is sponsored by the Piobaireachd Society as one of their ways of encouraging the wider playing and appreciation of piobaireachd.

The main picture shows the winner receiving her trophy, the other finalists and adjudicators.

There was a record entry of 32 pipers, a record number of eight overseas competitors from France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the USA, as well as from Scotland, England and Wales, and a record number of eight lady pipers. The two Italian pipers are pupils of Alberto Massi, who won the competition in 2003. Nine players were participating for the first time.

For the first time, in view of the high number of entrants, the competition was played in two heats and a final. The new format proved successful and the competition ran smoothly and seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part. As usual, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

The Archie Kenneth Quaich was won by Kirsteen MacDonald from Lincolnshire, a regular entrant over the years, playing the Lament for Donald of Laggan. The full list of prize winners and their tunes were as follows:

1 Kirsteen MacDonald, ​​Lament for Donald of Laggan
2 Tom Peterkin​,  ​Lament for Donald of Laggan
3 John Frater​​​, The Battle of Waternish
4 Robert Frater​, ​Lament for the Children
Finalist: Gill Cairns, ​​Caber Feidh Gu Brath
Finalist: Bob Low​​, The Old Men of the Shells

Kirsteen receives the coveted trophy from Mrs Morrison
Kirsteen receives the coveted trophy from Mrs Morrison

The judges were Willie Morrison from Glasgow and Bruce Hitchings from Kirknewton and the prizes were presented by Mrs Patricia Morrison. The smooth running of the event was due in no small measure to the energy and enthusiasm of members of the Royal Scottish Pipers Society, who did the stewarding, helped with tuning and made sure that everyone was made welcome.

Competitors submitted two tunes and were advised a week in advance which had been chosen for them to play in the heats. As usual, a very wide variety of tunes was presented, including the rarely heard ‘The Desperate Battle, Cuillin’ and a number of modern compositions. Some excellent bagpipes were in evidence and the tunes were generally well prepared and musically performed.
At the major professional competitions most of the participants are from Scotland and Canada and, to a lesser extent Australia, New Zealand and the USA. The interest and enthusiasm being shown in the ancient Scottish music of piobaireachd by pipers from Europe is a fascinating feature of the amateur scene.

Final: Order of Play and Tunes

Judges:   Willie Morrison, Bruce Hitchings; Steward: Tom Lewin

Bob Low: Old Men of the Shells
Tom Peterkin: Lament for Donald of Laggan
Robert Frater: Lament for the Children
Gill Cairns: Cabar Feidh Gu Brath
Kirsteen MacDonald: Lament for Donald iof Laggan
John Frater: Battle of Waternish

Heat 1 (Judge B Hitchings):

George Gordon Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
Robert Frater Farewell to the Laird of Islay
Con Houlihan Lament for the Viscount of Dundee
Chris Ogilvie Isabel Mackay
Gordon Hislop Corrienessan’s Salute
Kirsteen MacDonald The Company’s Lament
Iain Kirkwood His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie
Andrea Zingg Too Long in This Condition
Sandie Greenwood Corrienessan’s Salute
Allan Harper The Massacre of Glencoe
Michael Parr Andrew MacNeill of Colonsay
Stewart Gaudin The Old Men of the Shells (Setting No 1)
Tom Peterkin The Battle of Bealach nam Brog
Giovanni Giulianini Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
Robert Chalk Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament
Michael McGowan Lament for Donald of Laggan

Stewards for Heat 1: Tom Lewin, Andrew Frater (tuning)

Heat 2 (Judge W Morrison):

1 Dagmar Pesta Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
2 Bob Low The Battle of Bealach nam Brog
3 Lachlan McDonald Glengarry’s Lament
4 Theresa Brown The MacFarlanes’ Gathering
5 Andrew Park The Battle of Auldearn No 2
6 Anne Lore MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart’s Lament No 1
7 Janette Greenwood Lament for Mary MacLeod
8 Leslie Barrett The Little Spree
9 Gill Cairns Lament for Donald of Laggan
10 John Forbes Too Long in this Condition
11 Jim Dougall Catherine’s Lament
12 Evan Wraga Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
13 John Frater The Desperate Battle, Cuillin
14 Lorenzo Forconi The Massacre of Glencoe
15 Gregor McCulloch Caber Feidh Gu Brath
16 Walter Gray Caber Feidh Gu Brath

Stewards: Alan McGhie, Peter McCalister (tuning)