The Inverness Gold Medallist for 2019 is Connor Sinclair from Crieff. Connor is pictured above on stage at the Eden Court Theatre, the scene of his triumph. Twenty five pipers played in this competition. It began at 8.30am and finished at 5pm. The crowd was steady throughout the day and possibly higher than other years.
The stewarding was excellent with breaks for coffee and lunch kept to a minimum. The judges did not take long to deliver their verdict. It was announced by Piping Convenor Alan Forbes in the main auditorium just prior to the Former Winners’ MSR:
Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal
1 Connor Sinclair, End of the Great Bridge, £500
2 Stuart Easton, Rout of Glen Fruin, £350
3 Cameron Drummond, Kintarbert’s Fancy, £200
4 Andrew Donlon, Kintarbert’s Fancy, £150
5 Sarah Muir, End of the Great Bridge, £100
Judges: T Speirs, S Samson, W Wotherspoon
Judges reported an outstanding winner in the Silver Medal:
1 James MacKenzie, The Bicker, £300
2 Alex Gandy, Salute to Donald, £200
3 John Dew, Marquis of Argyle’s Salute, £100
4 Steven Leask, Massacre of Glencoe, £75
5 Xavier Boderiou, Marquis of Argyle’s Salute, £50
Judges: N Mulvie, S Shedden, J Wilson
Former Winners’ MSR:
1 Stuart Liddell, £500
2 Niall Stewart, £350
3 Finlay Johnston, £200
4 Angus D MacColl, £150
5 Callum Beaumont, £100
Judges: A MacDonald, I McLellan, W Morrison
‘A’ MSR – A high standard from the prizewinners with the first two very close:
1 Gordon McCready, £250
2 Craig Sutherland, £175
3 Sarah Muir, £100
4 Angus J MacColl, £75
5 Alasdair Henderson, £50
Judges: W Cowan, B Donaldson, R Livingstone
Of the Gold Medal, the editor writes: I did not hear all the tunes in this competition but sufficient to note that it was true to type, nerves meaning missed technique, poorly tuned pipes, the odd wrong note and one breakdown. It would be won by a clean tune confidently played on a good instrument. That is what the winner Connor Sinclair delivered and all congratulations to him. Though young, he has the air of a champion and looks completely at home on the big stage. Further success awaits. The other prizewinners have their own comment from the judges without needing anything from me.
Of those who did not make the list Jamie Forrester, Sandy Cameron and William Geddes had the best bagpipes in the competition and that’s including the prizewinners – not just my view but that of several others who listened to the whole shebang. Unfortunately Jamie had timing issues with his Blind Piper where he constantly drove to the low As missing the short theme notes. William had technical struggles on idare. A good Blind Piper from Sandy Cameron (even if lacking a little dash at the end) but there was talk later of some note blemish. I didn’t hear it.
Brian Donaldson made a bold stab at the Old Men of the Shells but killed momentum by pausing on the first of two hiharins throughout. Andrea Boyd‘s chanter intervals need inspection as do Jonathan Greenlees‘s short Cs in the Blind Piper; they did not sound right. The long ones were solid and true. Sean McKeown played the taorluath ‘up’ in Seaforth and the crunluath ‘down’; one or t’other in my book. Gordon McCready didn’t quite lock in the pipe in the Old Men of the Shells. It bothered him and us. He broke down half way through when shaping up well. Innes Smith had misses in the Blind Piper and ineffective timing; Derek Midgley had the hiharin haunts again this time in the Big Bridge but that aside played well.
James McHattie‘s chanter was slightly dull on the bottom hand and this never gave his Bealach nam Brog a chance; John Angus Smith‘s pipes were off but through the colliding harmonics a well shaped tune could just about be discerned. Drone drift and minor blemishes from Nick Hudson in Seaforth. Andrew Carlisle – pleasing ground in Glen Fruin, lacking focus in variations; Alastair Lee stopping line ending phrase on the connecting note D in MacLeod of MacLeod; pipe shaded.
- Stay tuned for more from Eden Court.