OT: 9 March 1901 – [unsigned] “The Championship Competition”

The Oban Times, 9 March 1901

The Championship Competition.

Large Gathering.

The grand annual concert in championship competition in bagpipe playing and Highland dancing, arranged by Mr. Edward MacPherson, brought out a large number of pipers in dancers of the first letter and rank on Monday evening, March 4th. The audience completely filled the large hall of the Waterloo Rooms. Bailie J. King occupied the chair, and on the platform with him were Messrs. Peter grant, Clan grant; W. P. Ferguson, T. H. Watt, Neil Campbell Colquhoun, Clan Colquhoun; Wm. Long, Alex. Johnson, Milwaukee, Wis., U.S.A.; James Grant, Glenurquhart; Donald Nicholson, J. S. Clark, Lenzie; Archd. Ross, A. MacLachlan, Dr. Graham Young, Hugh Stewart, A. MacSween, John MacDougall, J. W. MacKenzie, Samuel Nicholson, Alex. MacPherson, Allan MacPherson, P. Stevenson, A. Morrison, John MacKey, Wm. Hendry, Dr. Angus McPhee and party, Donald MacLean, Captain Cameron, Partick; John MacKenzie, and Robert Henderson, Central Africa; John Shaw, J. M. Skinner, solicitor; and representatives from Inverness-shire, Islay, Lewis and Harris, Oban and Lorn, Skye, Sutherlandshire, and other associations. All the competitions, without exception, attracted a large number of entrants, and appearing on the platform were the names of the foremost exponents of each class–pipers who are seldom spoken of without the prefix “champion” adorning their names.

The monotony–if the word is allowable–of a long night of pipe music was fitly broken by a varied and pleasing concert programme, which was duly appreciated. The Bellsfield Pipe Band played appropriate selections while the audience assembled, and by the stirring strains of their music put each an[d] all in excellent humour. Shortly after the advertised hour, proceedings commenced, and Bailie King made a few remarks. He was glad to see such a large turnout, as it indicated that the hall would be crowded later on. He did not wonder why Highlanders should keep up their enthusiasm for bagpipe music and Highland dancing, and did not think anything in this country could more readily portray their feelings than bagpipe playing in dancing. (Applause.) He was sure if they stayed on until the end they would hear good pipe playing and witness inimitable dancing. (Applause.) Last week he was in London at one of the Highland gatherings there, and he was sure it would have rejoiced their hearts to see how Highlanders stuck to each other when they were from home, and this was further emphasized in a letter which he had recently received from South Africa, in which the writer had shown how the Highlanders there were doing everything possible to help their fellow-Highlanders fighting their country’s battles. (Applause.) He trusted that they would find that these competition meetings were not only raising the taste and appreciation for Highland music, but that the players themselves were becoming more efficient, and that the dancing was all, and even more than, that which they had been accustomed to in previous years. (Applause.) The competitions were then commence.

The following was the prize-list:–

Amateur Dancing.

Highland Fling–1, Geo. MacKenzie, Glasgow; 2, Annie Sheriff, do; 3, Donald Gordon, Perthshire, special, Florrie Berrie, Hamilton. Highland Fling (Girls under 13)–1, Netta Robertson, Partick; 2, Lizzie Fraser, Glasgow; 3, Maggie Bannister. Sword Dance–1, Annie Sheriff, Glasgow; 2, Geo. MacKenzie, do; 3, Lizzie Fraser, do. Reel–1, Geo. MacKenzie, Glasgow; 2, Annie Sheriff, 3, K. MacDonald Stewart.

Open Dancing.

Highland Fling– , Chas/ MacEwan, Fintry; 2, John Mackenzie, Aberdeen; 3, John Macneill; Edinburgh. Sword Dance–1, John Macneil; 2, John Mckenzie; 3, Chas. MacEwan. Reel of Tulloch–: John Mackenzie; 2, Chas. MacEwanl 3, John MacNeil.

Amateur Bagpipe Playing.

Marches– 1, R. Taylor, Govan; 2, J. MacPhail, do.; 3, A MacKenzie Hamilton. Strathspeys and Reels 1, R. Taylor, Govan, 2, J. MacKenzie, Glasgow; 3, J. Cullen, Hamilton.

Open Bagpipe Playing.

Piobaireachd–Only open to the holders of the London Highland Society’s Gold Medal. Prizes presented by Sir James Colquhoun–1, John MacColl, Oban; 2, John MacPherson, Badenoch; 3, John MacKenzie, Glasgow; 4. Norman MacPherson, Badenoch. Marches–1, John MacColl; 2, John MacPherson: 3, John MacKenzie; 4, Kenneth MacDonald. Strathspeys and Reels–1, John MacPherson; 2, John MacColl; 3, John MacKenzie; 4, Norman MacPherson.
Messrs. Hugh MacLeod, Lachlan MacPherson, and Pipe-Major Mathieson were the judges of the piping, and Messrs Wm. MacLennan, E.E. Henderson, and George Robertson, of the dancing.

Probably the greatest interest centred in the piobaireachd competitions, owing to the fact that the renowned player, John MacColl, Oban, and two sons of the veteran Malcolm MacPherson, of Badenoch, (Cluny’s late piper), were among the competitors. The playing in this competition has seldom, if ever, been equaled in Glasgow, MacColl Alternately coming out the winner with a beautiful rending of “Clan Chattan.” Before the prizes were distributed, Mr. MacColl, by special request, played the “Colquhoun March” as a complement to Sir James Colquhoun, Bart. of Luss, who was the chief donor in the prize list