Piping workshops established for Donald Macleod competition

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World-class pipers will be holding workshops for island players when they come to Stornoway next month for the prestigious Pipe Major Donald Macleod MBE Memorial Competition.

The competition – sponsored by community wind farm charity Point and Sandwick Trust to the tune of £5,000 a year – will be taking place on Friday, April 5.

It is the 26th year of the competition and a few of the pipers who will be taking part will be staying on an extra day, to pass on some skills and tips to up-and-coming local pipers.

The workshops will be open to youth and adult players and are being organised by the Lewis Pipe Band in partnership with the Lewis and Harris Piping Society, which runs the PM Donald Macleod MBE Memorial Competition.

Eight pipers are invited to take part in the competition, based on their successes throughout the year at other events on the piping circuit, and the competition itself is a living memorial to one of the most famous pipers of the last century – and, crucially, held in his home town.

Donald John MacSween, Point and Sandwick Trust general manager, said: ‘This competition is now a major event in the piping calendar and the PM Donald Macleod Memorial Competition are to be congratulated on their achievement and hard work in developing the event over the years – and, more importantly from the PST view, in ensuring the event is firmly rooted in Stornoway.’

Pipe Major Donald Macleod from Stornoway was an outstanding player and won all the major competitions, some of them several times over. He was also a tutor and a Seaforth Highlander but it was for his prolific compositions, including 26 piobaireachds such as the Lament for the Iolaire, that he is best remembered.

The pipers taking part this year are Willie McCallum, Roddy Macleod MBE, Callum Beaumont, Stuart Liddell, Glenn Brown, Finlay Johnston, Iain Speirs and Dr Peter McCallister.

Roddy Macleod, playing at the 2018 PM Donald Macleod Memorial Competition. Picture: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos NO F12 Roddy_Macleod
Roddy Macleod, playing at the 2018 PM Donald Macleod Memorial Competition. Photograph: Sandie Maciver of SandiePhotos

The judges will be Dr Angus MacDonald, John Wilson and Rhona Lightfoot.  Fear an Tighe is Dr John Smith, who has also recently taken over from John Kennedy as chairman of the Lewis and Harris Piping Society.

The competition will be taking place in the Caladh Hotel during the day on April 5 and be followed by a ceilidh at night and the workshops on the Saturday.

The Piping Society’s new chairman, Dr John Smith, added: ‘We’re hoping to build this year on what we established last year by taking advantage of the presence of world-class pipers in Stornoway to promote one of the aims of the society, which is to support the tuition of both youngsters and adults.’