Young fiddlers keep the traditions alive
Fifteen-year-old Sophie Moar from Cunningsburgh was declared Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year in front of a full house at the Garrison Theatre on Saturday night.
Chyan Davidson was named Traditional Fiddler of the Year. Both contests were hotly contended with judges commenting on the high standard of playing by all finalists.
The audience at Saturday night’s concert were also treated to some super new melodies as the winning tunes of the Shetland Folk Society Tune Competition, judged by Violet Tulloch and Debbie Scott, were played by Violet, Debbie and Bryan Gear. Hannah Adamson took first place and Cara Steven second and third. There were also some great new tunes from senior prize-winning composers Steven Spence, Christine Hughson and Tom Deyell.
There was then a chance to hear again the winners and runners up from the junior and intermediate sections, who all played very well in front of a full house at the Garrison.
In the Traditional Junior Young Fiddler competition third place went to Emma Leask, with Mia Clarke taking second and Anya Johnston taking first place.
In third place in the Junior Young Fiddler of the Year competition was Emma Moar, with Mia Clarke and Aimee Smith coming joint runners-up and Anya Johnston taking a hat trick bybeing named Junior Young Fiddler of the Year.
In the intermediate Young Fiddler of the Year competition Katie Whyte took third place with second place going to Jasmin Smith. Jodie Smith was named Intermediate Young Fiddler of the Year and also won the Lell Robertson Memorial Trophy for the best played waltz in thent intermediate section.
Fortunes were reversed in the traditional intermediate section with Jamsin Smith this time winning with Jodie taking second in this competition and Scott Laurenson and Lauren Sandison sharing third place.
Next on stage were the Traditional Young Fiddler of the Year finalists, who are doing such a great job of keeping the traditional tunes alive with such energy and enthusiasm.
After hearing from the runners up and winners from each section the Open Young Fiddler and Open Traditional Young Fiddler finalists had one last chance to impress the judges Peter Gear, Lois Nicol and Claire White before their final deliberations.
While the judges had a chance to confer and come to their final decisions the audience was treated to a performance from Mike Laurenson on accordion who is the current Junior Young Musician of the Year.
Mike played a good mixture of toe tapping tunes which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Next on stage was last year’s Young Fiddler of the Year winner Calum Watt. He played a varied set and demonstrated good stage presence and audience rapport in addition to a cracking set.
After this the prizewinners were announced. Young Fiddler of the Year 2014 Sophie Moar was also awarded the new Cat Gut and Ivory Trophy for the best played reel and Alana Smith won the Martin Laurenson Memorial Trophy for the best played slow air.
As winners of the open sections Sophie and Chyan have busy year of engagements ahead, starting with the folk festival this weekend. They are also offered a free place as a student at the Shetland Fiddle Frenzy (worth up to £300 each) courtesy of Shetland Arts.
For more on the Young Fiddler of the Year competition, see this week’s Shetland Times.