The Piobaireachd Society has announced that they are to take over the running of one of piping’s most iconic events, the Silver Chanter.
The Society will do so under an agreement with Mossburn Distillers/Torabhaig Distillery and Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, the Gaelic College. Both are near neighbours on the Sleat Peninsula on the isle of Skye.
The Silver Chanter will be funded by the Society and by Mossburn/Torabhaig. Both have agreed substantial financial support for the next five years.
The venue will be Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, thus maintaining ‘the Chanter’s’ presence on its home island.
The previous promoters, the National Piping Centre, will provide marketing services.
The first year of the new arrangement will be 2024. There will be no Silver Chanter this year.
The Society will maintain as many of the traditions associated with the competition as is possible.
The date will be the Thursday evening of the Skye Gathering. It will be a black tie, gala occasion. It will be recorded.
The competition will remain invitational but with the six pipers drawn from the Dunvegan Medal, the Col. Jock MacDonald Clasp (both Skye Gathering competitions), the Gold Medals and senior piobaireachd events at Oban and Inverness, and the current Silver Chanter holder.
The music will be from the MacCrimmon tune list used for the senior competition at the Skye Gathering.
Robert Wallace, President of the Piobaireachd Society, said: ‘The National Piping Centre ran the Silver Chanter successfully over the past five years.
‘Now that their time has come to an end, our members and our General Committee were of the view that we should do whatever we could to ensure the survival of the recital/competition, and that it should be held, if viable, on the isle of Skye.
‘We believe that the sustainable model we have established will give stability to what has been, since 1968, an important fixture in the piping calendar.
’The original aim of the Silver Chanter was to encourage piobaireachd on Skye and I believe the Society’s decision will continue this.’
Dr Decker Forrest of Sabhal Mòr Ostaig said: ‘Piping, Gaelic, the history of the isle of Skye and indeed, whisky, are intertwined and represent parts of a unique and powerful cultural identity that can be traced over the centuries to the present day.
‘The Silver Chanter, more than any other premier piping competition, celebrates this heritage by focusing on the music associated with the MacCrimmons, in the very island in which they lived and thrived, and where a strong cultural memory still exists.
‘As the National Centre for Gaelic and the Arts, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is delighted to host and work with the Piobaireachd Society and Mossburn Distillers to support this hugely important cultural event.’
Donnie Munro, SMO’s Director of Development who worked closely with the distillery to secure the funding, said: ‘Torabhaig, the Silver Chanter, the Piobaireachd Society and Sabhal Mor Ostaig are all about history, authenticity, and quality. There is a natural fit, a synergy.’
The Silver Chanter over the years………
Founded in 1905 the Piobaireachd Society works to promote and preserve the classical music of the great Highland bagpipe, ceòl mòr. Membership is open to everyone with an interest in this music, considered by musical historians as Scotland’s unique contribution to world culture.
Sabhal Mòr Ostaig is a Gaelic medium college established 50 years ago. It has an associate campus at Bowmore on the island of Islay. Sabhal Mòr is part of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Torabhaig Distillery was founded in 2013, the first official distillery on Skye since the establishment of the Talisker Distillery in 1830.