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The finalists have been chosen in a unique competition which has been held to mark the 200th anniversary of the Royal Celtic Society and the fact that shinty has not been played this season, for only the third time in its organised form.
Three of Scotland’s oldest and most significant sporting and cultural bodies came together to offer a major set of prizes for an original musical competition marking the absence of shinty from this summer’s sporting calendar and looking forward to the return of play.
Led by the Royal Celtic Society (RCS), which is this year celebrating its 200th anniversary, and in partnership with the Glasgow Celtic Society and shinty’s governing body the Camanachd Association, supported by Tulloch Homes, the competition is offering three prizes totalling £1,500 for an individual to compose an original competition.
The three finalists chosen after considerable and challenging assessment by a panel of judges are: Ewen Henderson, Chris Gray and Mary Ann Kennedy, all well-known and highly talented musicians.
The RCS had originally intended that the winner of the competition could have performed at this year’s Camanachd Cup Final at the post-match Final Fling.
That game has recently been postponed until next year, but the intention now is to have a musical shoot-out between the three finalists on that very weekend in September 2020. The winner of the competition will receive £750, second place £500 and third place £250.
Speaking on behalf of the RCS, chairman Alan Hay said: ‘This was a huge undertaking for us and a unique set of circumstances against the background of a global pandemic, at a significant moment in our own history.
‘The judges were unanimous that they found the entries a significant challenge in terms of the separation for final choices and it is to the credit of all entrants that so many were involved in the final shake-down for the three finalists’ spots. The competition produced a fantastic variety of interpretations of the brief and a pleasing aspect of the competition was the wide range of ages taking part – and also the variety of instrumentation, including commendable clarsach entries.
The selection panel was led by award-winning musician Gary Innes of Mànran, the BBC Scotland Take the Floor presenter and former shinty captain of Scotland. Gary was joined on the panel by representatives of the RCS, the Glasgow Celtic Society and the Camanachd Association, which was represented by Claire Delaney of Lochaber Camanachd.
The Royal Celtic Society, Glasgow Celtic Society and the Camanachd Association supported by Tulloch Homes, have thanked the entrants for entering the musical competition for 2020. More than 20 entries were received and the final selection process was described by Gary Innes as ‘significantly challenging’.
Alan Hay also thanked all those who came forward to put up the significant prizes – the RCS itself, The Camanachd Association supported by Tulloch Homes and the Glasgow Celtic Society. Details of the arrangements for the final will be issued in due course once the technical arrangements have been completed.