The 29th Young Fiddler of the Year competition, organised by the Shetland Folk Society, came to its usual exciting conclusion in the Garrison on Saturday night.
A packed auditorium sat in growing excitement through the final stages as adjudicators Aly Bain, Gemma Donald and Bryan Gear heard the 10 finalists in the two open competitions, all playing well.
The finals night was the culmination of two days of music from 92 youngsters from all over Shetland, in six competitions for three different age groups.
Shetland’s Young Fiddler of the Year 2010 is Liza Fullerton, 15, from Lerwick. Danny Garrick of Griesta and Hannah Adamson of Cunningsburgh were joint runners up and Ray McGinlay, Quarff, was third.
In the Traditional Open Kim Johnson, Tingwall, took first place with Liza Fullerton runner-up and Mary Dimitrov of Lerwick, and Martha Morton, Hillswick, in joint third place.
The event began on Friday with the junior competition and there were 70 entrants from primary six and under. Megan Nicolson, Stromfirth, came first in this completion and won the Shetland School of Music Trophy. Alana Smith of Weisdale was runner up with Ellie Johnson, Muckle Row, coming third. In the Traditional Junior Section Katie Bain of Lerwick took the Tom Anderson Memorial Trophy ahead of Laura Brannan of Cunningsburgh and Ellie Johnson, Muckle Roe, who were joint second.
It was well after lunch time when the juniors finished and the Intermediate competitions, for primary seven and secondary one, got underway. Eleven-year-old Fraser Tait, from Sandwick, swept the boards. In the Young Fiddler Intermediate Fraser took the Shetland Musical Heritage Trust Cup with Whalsay’s Peter Kay and Sophie Moar, Cunningsburgh, following him. Fraser also won the Ian Burns Memorial Shield ahead of Sophie and Laura Smith, Cunningsburgh. His achievements did not finish there as Fraser was also declared the winner of the inaugural Lell Robertson trophy for playing the best waltz.
Twenty young players from secondary two to four came to the theatre on Saturday morning for two open competitions and by lunchtime the finalists were chosen; four from the traditional entrants and six from the Young Fiddler section.
The final session began at 7.30pm with compere Caroline Moyes introducing the performances by the winners and runners up from Friday, before the finalists played their set of tunes again for adjudicators. Chapman Cheng, 2009 Young Fiddler, then performed for the last time as holder of the title.
After the interval Charlie Simpson gave the results of the society’s annual tune competition, judged by Debbie Scott and Violet Tulloch. Sadly there were no entries in the junior section this year, but a healthy entry of 28 tunes in the senior section gave the judges a task nonetheless.
The John Pottinger Memorial Shield and the second prize went to first time entrant Bernard Smith, Cunningsburgh, while Maggie Adamson, Fladdabister, took third prize. Nigel Hallet from Asta was awarded the David Hall Memorial Shield for best tune in the Shetland idiom. The winning tunes were played by Bryan Gear and Violet Tulloch.
This concluded another excellent two days of competition and a splendid evening of accomplished fiddle playing, leaving only the result to be announced. The various prizes were presented by Gemma Donald and the tension mounted. In the Traditional final Liza Fullerton was runner up and Kim Johnson was the winner of the Fiddler’s Society cup. Martha Morton was awarded the Martin Laurenson Trophy for best slow air in the Young Fiddler Open and then Ray McGinaly was named third place, followed by Hannah Adamson and Danny Garrick as joint runners up.
Finally, to great applause, Liza Fullerton was named Young Fiddler of the Year 2010 and winner of the Frank Jamieson Memorial Trophy and the Folk Society Prize.
Aly Bain gave comments on behalf of the adjudicators with constructive advice to the competitors regarding tuning, intonation and posture. He concluded by saying he was delighted to see the enduring success of the competition with entries holding up well every year and good support from folk all over Shetland.
Folk Society president Douglas Sinclair brought the evening to a close by thanking the funding bodies for their support, and all those whose efforts had contributed towards another memorable competition.