Jack Lee of British Columbia, Canada was the winner of the 2019 Silver Chanter, the annual invitational piobaireachd competition established in 1967 by Seumas MacNeill, John MacFadyen and Dame Flora MacLeod of MacLeod to honour tunes composed by or associated with the MacCrimmon dynasty of pipers.
The contest, the 53rd, was held tonight at The National Piping Centre in McPhater Street, Glasgow, Scotland in front of a capacity audience.
Jack was assigned Lament for the Earl of Antrim to play. This is the first time Jack has won this premier prize.
Also competing were Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland (Rory MacLoude’s Lament; Jamie Forrester, The Trossachs, Scotland (Lament for Patrick Òg MacCrimmon); Finlay Johnston, Glasgow, Scotland (The King’s Taxes), Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland (Lament for the Children) and last year’s winner, Iain Speirs, Edinburgh, Scotland (Lament for MacLeod of Colbecks).
Jim McGillivray, Ontario, Canada was the judge while Dr Roderick MacLeod, Isle of Skye was the fear an tighe.
The competition has received support from William Grant and Sons since its inception and this support is continued through the William Grant Foundation.
The story of the Silver Chanter is connected to the Skye legend pertaining to a MacCrimmon piper who was offered the choice of skill without fame or fame without skill by the Fairy Queen. He chose the former and the Queen was so impressed that she offered him both. Handing him a silver chanter she departed saying:
Thug do mhaise ‘s ceòl do phìoba
Leannan sìthe air do thòir
Sineam dhuit an sionnsar airgid
A bhios binn gun chearb fo d’ mheòir
Your beauty and the music of your pipe
Have attracted a fairy love to you
Let me hand you the silver chanter
The will be sweet and faultless in your fingers