Aboyne Highland Games to stage online pipe and fiddle music competitions

Traditional musicians are being given the opportunity to perform this summer in virtual competitions organised by Aboyne Highland Games.

Thursday, 24th June 2021, 12:00 am
Updated Thursday, 24th June 2021, 7:48 am
Pipers and fiddlers will have the chnace to compete virtually. (Photo: Moyra Gray (Deeside Camera Club))
Pipers and fiddlers will have the chnace to compete virtually. (Photo: Moyra Gray (Deeside Camera Club))

The Aberdeenshire event has been cancelled again in 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the event’s organising committee, determined to give solo pipers and fiddle players a stage on which to play competitively this year, is holding a series of online competitions.

It is the second successive year that the traditional Deeside event has taken some of its 95 competitions online.

Last year, it organised a successful virtual piping competition that saw over 30 pipers from around the world perform.

This year, the piping events are being complemented by fiddle competitions after Aboyne Highland Games also moved these online. All competitions are free to enter. Prize money will be awarded for the top five performances in each piping competition, and the top four in each fiddle competition. A separate overall prize for the best local fiddler will also be presented.

Respected piper and piping convenor for Aboyne Highland Games, Dr Jack Taylor, is again organising the piping competitions.

The fiddle competitions are being arranged and judged by renowned Scottish fiddler Paul Anderson MBE

Three piping events are being held – the open competitions for the piobaireachd, march, and strathspey and reel.

Entries in the piping section are limited to 30 places and the closing date for entering is Wednesday, 30 June.

Several local businesses are sponsoring the competitions, including Johnston Oils, Ian MacDonald Architecture, Gerry Robb Architectural Design Services, Bill Barclay Kiltmaker and Chris Caldwell of Strachan.

Results of all the competitions will be announced on Saturday, August 7.

Dr Jack Taylor said: “The response from pipers last year was excellent, with more competitors than we would normally have at the games. Although the format and atmosphere are very different for a virtual competition, it is clear there is an appetite among pipers to perform competitively. I expect there will be high standard shown once again this year, giving the judges a few difficult decisions.”

Paul Anderson MBE said: “Aboyne Highland Games is unique in that it is the only Highland Games in the north-east that features a fiddle competition, celebrating Deeside’s rich fiddle music heritage. It is great that the games is providing this virtual platform for fiddlers of all ages to perform this year. Competitions such as this are hugely important in nurturing fiddle playing and for promoting and preserving traditional Scottish music. We hope to attract a good number of entrants from far and wide, and I look forward to listening to the performances.”

Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said: “Pipe and fiddle music plays a huge part in the fabric of Aboyne Highland Games. Although disappointing not to hear it live on Aboyne Green again this year, these virtual competitions are an excellent substitute, offering musicians a competitive platform on which to play, which I know they have been missing.

“We are very grateful to our sponsors for their generous support in enabling the competitions to take place. A lot of work has been carried out by Jack and Paul, their stewards, judges, and numerous other people to arrange proceedings, and it will be great to hear the result of that hard work in August.”

For full details of the competitions visit www.aboynegames.com/competitors