Changes at the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition

By the Editor

Pipe Major Iain Morrison, the founder and main organiser of the Donald MacLeod Memorial competition, has stepped down from his role after 25 years at the helm.

His decision to stand aside came as a surprise to many in the solo piping community. The competition is held each year in Stornoway on the island of Lewis in the Western Isles. This year’s event takes place on Friday, April 5.

P/M Morrison said: ‘I am very proud of what I have achieved at the Donald MacLeod in honouring the memory of one of the all time greats of piping.

P/M Donald MacLeod

‘I have left the competition with a healthy bank balance and most of the work for this year’s event has been done.

‘I hope that those who have taken over will manage to maintain the level of sponsorship and standard of piping here in the Western Isles. I would not want to see this competition moving away from its natural home.’

No one at the Lewis & Harris Piping Society, the competition organisers, would comment on P/M Morrison’s departure but it is understood they are adopting a ‘business as usual’ approach and are committed to doing everything to ensure the stability and high standard of the contest in the years ahead.

We would wish them all success with that and one would hope that P/M Morrison could be involved in the Society and the competition again at some time in the future.

He has been a tremendous servant to piping, to his teacher’s memory and to the Lewis and Harris Piping Society. Of that there can be no doubt.

Pipers at the 2017 Donald MacLeod

The new Chairman of the Society is Dr John Smith. There have also been other changes on the Society’s committee.

Dr Smith is a ‘weel kent’ figure in piping on the island and is a regular attender at competitions on the mainland too. In the past he has acted as Fear an Tigh at the Donald MacLeod.

This year’s competition takes place as usual in the Caladh Inn, Stornoway, from 9am on April 5. Invited pipers are Finlay Johnston, Iain Speirs, Stuart Liddell, Dr Peter McCalister, Roderick MacLeod, William McCallum, Callum Beaumont and Glenn Brown.

The judges are R Lightfoot, A MacDonald and J Wilson. All welcome to listen to what is always a showpiece event with quality piping. Most of the music played is from the pen of P/M MacLeod.

P/M Iain Morrison was one of the finest pipers ever to grace the competition board. Characteristed by a beautifully sweet instrument, his playing had expression and phrasing seldom equalled.

His piobaireachd instruction came from his mentor P/M Donald MacLeod, but his light music was largely self taught and full of the light and lift so typical of P/M MacLeod, his fellow Lewisman.

P/M Morrison is pictured (top) on the boards at the Argyllshire Gathering, Oban, playing for judges Ronnie MacCallum, Dr Colin Caird and John D Burgess.

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