Allan MacDonald.

Legendary piper, Allan MacDonald received the Hamish Henderson Services to Traditional Music Award at the MG ALBA Scots Trad Music Awards last night.

Director of Piping at the National Piping Centre, Finlay MacDonald presented MacDonald with his award.

Allan MacDonald [pictured], a former lecturer on the Scottish Music course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, has been a leading light in Gaelic culture and in ceòl mòr in particular from many years now. The conservative piping world is still reeling from his 1995 thesis on the relationship between ceòl mòr and Gaelic song. His thesis and his playing suggests a freer, more varied, and historically-informed approach to ceòl mór. As he says himself, he attempts “to reverse the effects of post-industrial sanitisation and cultural colonialism” on the music. MacDonald was born in the west highlands of Scotland but has lived for many years in Edinburgh.

Overall, most awards went to those outwith the piping world, which was quite inevitable given the dearth of piping activity that’s been able to take place since the pandemic began.


Music Tutor of the Year – Craig Muirhead.
Musician of the Year – Iona Fyfe.
Album of the Year – Where the World Is Thin by Kris Drever.
Gaelic Singer of the Year – Kim Carnie of Mànran.
Event of the Year Celtic Connections.
Up and Coming Artist of the YearThe Canny Band.
Original Work of the Year Calum MacPhail.
Scots Singer of the YearEllie Beaton.
Online Performance of 2021 Norrie ‘Tago’ MacIver Live Streams.
Community Project of the YearRiddell Fiddles’ Two Towns Housing Estate Youth Musical Outreach Programme.
Music in the Media Ceòl is Cràdh.
Video of the Year – ‘Doddie’s Dream’ by Bruce MacGregor.

The Scots Trad Music Awards were started in 2003 to highlight Scotland’s traditional music to the public and media. Next year’s ceremony is on December 3 at the Caird Hall in Dundee.

Kevin Shand, John Allen, Kris Bawden and Jamie Blacklock were all voted to committee roles at yesterday’s online Annual General Meeting of the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO).

Kevin Shand was elected Vice-President, John Allen was re-elected Treasurer, Kris Bawden was elected Director at Large and Jamie Blacklock re-elected, Director at Large.

The PPBSO’s new 75th anniversary logo was unveiled at the meeting. Jaymee McCarthy, the organisation’s Communications Committee member designed it.

The Board of Directors are:

  • President: Michael Grey (one year remaining on term)
  • Vice-President: Kevin Shand (two year term)
  • Treasurer: John Allen (two year term)
  • Secretary: Michele Curtis (one year remaining on term)
  • Director-at-Large: John McKay (one year remaining on term)
  • Director-at-Large: Charlie MacDonald (one year remaining on term)
  • Director-at-Large: Kris Bawden (two year term)
  • Director-at-Large: Jamie Blacklock (one year term)
  • Ottawa Branch: Karin Mayer
  • Toronto Branch: Dylan Whittemore
  • Niagara-Hamilton Branch: Julie Stewart
  • Western Branch: Don Elliott
  • Windsor-Detroit Branch: Brian Robertson

Last Thursday (December 2), the organsiation announced the formation of a new youth-focused programme. 

The 75th Anniversary Youth Ensemble will perform Amazing Grace and a Drum Fanfare in the final massed bands at each of the PPBSO-sanctioned Highland Games in the summer of 2022. The initiative is to mark the PPBSO’s 75th anniversary – it was instituted in 1947 – in a more education-focussed way.

The project will be run online and in-person with instructors located in eastern Ontario, Toronto, Niagara and western Ontario. The PPBSO’s long-term aspiration is to have a permanent youth pipe band programme that represents the whole of the province.