Northern Meeting the Focus of Solo Piping Attention as New Trophies Announced

After the outstanding success of the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, all piping attention now turns to the other great gathering in world piping, the Northern Meeting, Inverness, to be held on Thursday and Friday of this week in the Eden Court Theatre. 

Around 150 pipers from several different countries will converge on the Highland town to take part in both senior and junior competitions. There are contests for Highland Society of London Gold Medal, Gold Clasp, Silver Medal and Junior Piobaireachd U-18 and U-15. The last two contests, previously restricted to the Highland counties, are now open to all young pipers. However a new trophy – the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation Trophy – which was formerly presented for the best young performance at the Highland Military Tattoo, Fort George, will now go to the NM’s overall best young player from the Highlands and Moray.

A second new trophy, the Lt Col DJS Murray Memorial Trophy, is for the best competing military piper and has been presented by Lt Col Murray’s family. David, author, military historian, piobaireachd authority, was a giant figure in piping and a former convenor of the Northern Meeting and President of the Piobaireachd Society. He passed away in January 2017.

Pictured from left are: Trustees of the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, George McIntyre and Margaret Stenton, with the Major General Seymour Monro and young piper Calum Robertson. Pic Alison Read Digital

Commenting on the new trophies Major General Seymour Monro, Chairman of the Northern Meeting Piping Trustees who organise the contest, said: ‘The first trophy was originally a Highland Military Tattoo Award for the best young performance. However, following discussions with the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation, it was decided it could be re-assigned for the Northern Meeting.

‘There is no more fitting place for this trophy particularly as Scotland is celebrating the year of Young People. Whether it be playing solo or as part of a band, it’s so important that we encourage youngsters to take up this traditional Scottish instrument.’ 

Kay Jackson, manager of the Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation said: ‘Junior piping and drumming has become increasingly more popular in the North East. It is great to see youngsters enjoying their involvement in safeguarding such an important part of our Scottish heritage for generations to come.  Trustees are looking forward to hearing more from these young musicians at this year’s Northern Meeting and we are delighted to see this trophy be given a new lease of life.’

Seymour Monro added: ‘David was the Convener of the Northern Meeting Piping Competition from 1974 to 1986. He was key to bringing the event to its current venue of Eden Court and made other innovative changes which have helped grow the contest’s popularity over the years.

Former Northern Meeting Convenor David Murray

‘He served in the Cameron Highlanders and the Queen’s Own Highlanders and did more to encourage high quality piping in the Army than anyone else in his generation. Winning this trophy donated by his family will truly be an honour.’

If you are in the north and wish to hear the very best of piping in comfortable surroundings then Eden Court on Thursday and Friday of this week is the place to be. There is limited parking in the environs of the theatre unfortunately. Tickets can be purchased on the day – no reservations are necessary. A ticket allows access to the various competitions within the day: Thursday 1st day £15.00, Thursday evening only £10.00, Friday 2nd day £15.00, Thursday and Friday Two Day Ticket £25.00; Under 18s free for all events

The complete draws for the 2018 Northern Meeting are as follows:

Angus MacColl winner of the Former Winners’ at Oban will be looking to do the double at Inverness. Picture courtesy Derek Maxwell

Stuart Easton the winner of the Silver Medal at last year’s NM. Only last week Stuart won the Gold Medal at Oban. Can he complete the double at Inverness. In the recent past this feat has been achieved by Douglas Murray (2014) and Ian K MacDonald (2016)

Junior Contests

• Stay tuned to Piping Press for NM updates and all results and comment later in the week.

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