No piping winners at 2020 Scots Trad Awards / Manawatū sweeps boards at NZ band contest / The Sloedam

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, given there has been very little piping activity this year, there were no pipers among the winners at the weekend’s MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards.

The winners were:

• Album of The Year – The Woods by Hamish Napier.
• Original Work of the Year – Everyday Heroes by Skerryvore.
• Community Music Project of the Year – Tunes in the Hoose.
• Event of the Year Award – BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician Award’s 20th Anniversary Concert (Celtic Connections).
• Gaelic Singer of the Year – Fiona MacKenzie.
• Musician of the Year – Tim Edey.
• Online Performance of 2020 – Duncan Chisholm’s Covid Ceilidh.
• Scots Singer of the Year – Siobhan Miller.
• Trad Video of the Year – Calum Dan’s Transit Van by Peat & Diesel.
• Trad Music in the Media – Anna Massie.
• Up and Coming artist of the Year – Rebecca Hill.
• Music Tutor of the Year – Josie Duncan.

Hands Up for Trad’s founder and Creative Director, Simon Thoumire said: “The arrival of Covid-19 has required a massive change for us all, impacted in so many different ways … Everyone has worked together tirelessly to maintain, pivot and bring our music programme online right through this year.”

Hands Up for Trad is funded by The National Lottery through Creative Scotland. It was formed in 2002 and exists to increase the profile and visibility of Scottish traditional music through information, advocacy and education to artists, participants, and audiences.

Pipers, Fred Morrison and Gary West were inducted into the Scots Trad Music Hall of Fame.


Manawatū playing in the Medley on Saturday at Palmerston North.

Meanwhile, at the other side of the globe, where normality has apparently resumed, 15 pipe bands took part in a highland games in New Zealand last Saturday (December 12).

The 41st annual Jenny Mair Highland Square Day games took place at Palmerston North in warm and sunny weather.

The band winners for the set competition were the Manawatū Scottish No 1 won Grade 1, Hamilton Caledonian Society Grade 2, City of Tauranga Grade 3 and Papakura took Grade 4.

In the Juvenile grade, the Lewis Turrell Memorial Pipe Band from Waikato won. Four juvenile bands were among the 15.

When COVID-19 struck earlier this year, New Zealand’s government quickly closed the country’s borders and imposed one of the world’s strictest lockdowns in a bid to eliminate the spread of the virus. It central bank and Treasury swiftly rolled out interest rate cuts and a wage subsidy scheme.

The decisive and rapid action worked. Most restrictions have now been removed and in-person public gatherings have resumed. Many in New Zealand hope that their government’s decision to prioritise health over keeping its economy open will prove fruitful in the long term.

In Australia, a pipe band contest was held last month in Sydney.

Pipe band associations in both countries are busy planning for a full return to outdoor activities in 2021.

Full results:
Grade 1 Medley
– 1. Manawatū Scottish; 2. New Zealand Police; 3. Auckland & District.
Grade 1 MSR – 1. Manawatu Scottish; 2. Auckland & District; 3. New Zealand Police.

Grade 2 Medley – 1. Wellington Red Hackle; 2. Hamilton Caledonian Society.
Grade 2 MSR – 1. Hamilton Caledonian Society; 2. Wellington Red Hackle.

Wellington Red Hackle Pipe Band pictured in 2019.

Grade 3 Medley – 1. City of Tauranga; 2. Hawkes Bay Caledonia (ensemble preference); 3. Manawatu Scottish No. 2; 4. Auckland Police.
Grade 3 MSR – 1. City of Tauranga; 2. Hawkes Bay Caledonia; 3. Manawatu Scottish No. 2; 4. Auckland Police.

Grade 4 Medley – 1. Hamilton Caledonian Development (ensemble preference); 2. Scots College; 3rd Papakura; 4. Wellington Red Hackle (ensemble preference); 5. City of Rotorua; 6. City of Wellington.
Grade 4 MSR – 1. Papakura; 2. Wellington Red Hackle; 3. Hamilton Caledonian Development; 4. City of Rotorua; 5. Scots College; 6. City of Wellington.

Judges: Liam Kernaghan, Iain Blakeley, Ian Ferguson, Lance Turnbull (piping); Graeme Bryce and Chris Stevens (ensemble); Scott Mitchell and Adam Alexander (drumming).


After our post last week regarding a tune called The Sloedam, a few Canadian readers have been in touch to say that the tune was composed in 1987 by Pipe Major Robert Henderson of the Calgary Highlanders during the regiment’s visit to Holland. The regiment was there to participate in the dedication ceremony held to commemorate the actions of the regiment at Walcheren Causeway in 1944. Pipe Major Henderson died in 1996.

Iain MacPherson MM.

The tune itself is based on the 6/8 march, Bonnie Dundee, which was the company march of one of the companies most heavily involved in the initial assaults on the far end of the causeway. Anyone who would like a copy of the sheet music should contact the regiment.

Meanwhile, piping historian Jeannie Campbell has been touch to say another tune was composed about the incident. Iain MacPherson MM – brother of the legendary Donald – was there with the Highland Light Infantry and he wrote a tune called, The Glasgow Highlanders on Walcheren.

Seemingly, the Territorial Army barracks on Hotspur Street in Maryhill, Glasgow is called Walcheren Barracks and there is a copy of MacPherson’s tune on the wall.

However, says Jeannie, that was 30 years ago and it may not be there now. Perhaps readers could tell us?

Walcheren Barracks on Hotspur Street in Maryhill, Glasgow.