Piobaireachd Society Approached Regarding Running of Silver Chanter

Finlay Johnston winner of the 2022 Silver Chanter

There is uncertainty over the future of the prestigious Silver Chanter recital competition. The National Piping Centre has run it for the last five years after taking over from Skye Piping Society.

It was initially moved from Skye to the Centre in Glasgow but last year was held at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic college on the island.

The Centre has stated that due to funding cuts they can no longer support the Silver Chanter. The Piobaireachd Society has been approached with a view to taking over its running.

The Society has agreed to examine this and its General Committee has appointed a sub group to consider the viability of doing so in the long term. This group will report back to the GC in due course when a decision will be taken.

The Society is already assisting a wide range of piping bodies. This year alone substantial grants have been given to the Scottish Pipers’ Association, the United States Piping Foundation, the Jimmy McIntosh Scholarship, USA, the Sun Belt competition, Florida, the Northern Meeting, Aberdeen Piping Society, the Highlands & Islands Festival piping, New Brunswick Piobaireachd Society, Canada, and Comunn na Piobaireachd New Zealand.

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The Silver Chanter, founded by Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod, Seumas MacNeill and John MacFadyen, has been going since 1968 and has become an important fixture in the solo piping calendar.

It is a black tie event with invites going the top prizewinners in a given year. They are asked to perform the very best music associated with the MacCrimmon family.

The competition’s original aim was to advance piping on Skye by encouraging the top pipers of the day to compete at the annual gathering at Portree. The Silver Chanter is traditionally held in August at the same time as the Skye Gathering.

PS president Robert Wallace said: ‘The Silver Chanter is an iconic and high quality fixture in the piping calendar. As such the Society will do what it can to preserve it if at all possible, however we must arrive at a sustainable model for the event before we make any commitment.

‘There are many issues to consider but we are actively seeking a solution both in the short and longer term.’

In Scottish mythology, fairies gave the failing MacCrimmons the gift of a silver chanter. It instantly brought magical powers to their music and led to their becoming pipers to Clan MacLeod.

Annual Recital

In other news the Society has announced the line up for its Annual Recital to be held in St Cecilia’s Hall, Edinburgh, on August 6 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe festival.

Those who have agreed to play are Anna Kummerlöw, Germany, Braemar Gold Medallist; James Duncan MacKenzie, Lewis, current Dunvegan Medal holder; John Mulhearn, runner-up in last year’s Gold Medal and in the Uist & Barra Professional Piobaireachd, and Angus MacColl, current holder of the two senior piobaireachd prizes in world piping, the Clasp at Inverness and the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban.

The evening begins at 7 for 7.30pm and will follow the popular pattern of two tunes from each piper, one short and the other long. They will play in continuous fashion with no tuning in the hall.

The Society hope to video the evening for its members who cannot attend. There will be a reception with refreshments after the music at which the audience can meet the pipers. Tickets £10 and £8 available here.

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