Shetland fiddlers excelled themselves in a mainland competition at the weekend, bringing home a clutch of awards.
The young musicians, all pupils at High Level Music, entered nearly every section of the Angus Strathspey and Reel Society’s 48th Festival of Fiddle Music held in Kirriemuir on Saturday and did well in all of them.
The idea of entering the competition followed a successful series of fiddle workshops held by High Level Music over the last few months, open for all people who were interested and led by various tutors.
The possibility of entering the orchestra section was mooted, but as the enthusiasm grew so did the entries, and High Level’s pupils ended up with entries in almost every section.
Brian Nicholson, of High Level Music, said: “We had six entries into the age 12 and under slow air and reel section, and were delighted how well the girls all did in their first mainland competition – especially as Emma Leask won third prize. There were 13 entrants in this section.”
Next up was the Own Composition section which had to be a strathspey. Accordion tutor Michael Philip submitted a postal entry called The Solicitor, which was played by Maggie Adamson and Brian Nicholson. This tune got second place in a section of eight entries.
The success continued with tutor Kirsten Hendry being runner-up in the senior march strathspey and reel section which had seven entries. Maggie went on to win the slow air section, the hornpipe and the open championship.
Brian said: “Things got exciting when the group split into three for the quartet competition. The group called Ooriks [meaning small people] comprised Kirsten Hendry on piano and her pupils, Tamzin Leask, Yelena Anderson and Rhiannon Thomason on fiddle. Tutor Lois Nicol wasn’t with us but her pupils Arwen Grieve, Mia Clarke and Emma Leask joined forces with Maggie as Neugels.”
However, success in this section went to the Trowies – Aimee Barclay and her pupil Vanessa Carr on fiddle, along with Brian on guitar with Joanne Tait on double bass.
The day ended with the orchestra competition, which had three entries – The High Level Orchestra (Shetland), Angus Strathspey and Reel Society and the Edinburgh Highland Strathspey and Reel Society. The three quartets came together and were joined by Maggie’s pupil from Wick, Kirsty Grant and cellist Anna Fraser who went to the Royal Conservatoire in Glasgow with Kirsten and Maggie.
Brian said: “It was a great sound and a real thrill to see all these young people from different parts of Shetland with different tutors playing coming together with professional musicians to produce such an immense sound. There were five sets of ‘south’ grandparents in the audience – and not a dry eye, especially when the Shetland orchestra was awarded second prize.