Talented youngster George Spence was announced the Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year in front of a sell-out audience in Mareel last night.
George had impressed judges in claiming the Traditional Senior title during the celebration of fiddle music. Anya Johnston won the Young Fiddler Senior title, but it was George who was declared Young Fiddler of the Year based on his performance over both sections during the day and the evening performance.
There was an increased number of participants this year, attributed in part to a change in the rules. That meant equal weighting was given to both the Young Fiddler and Traditional sections in deciding the overall Shetland Young Fiddler of the Year. Fiddlers’ performance in both sections were considered to decide the overall champion.
This is great news as the young fiddlers and their tutors are valuing both our traditional and contemporary Shetland tunes. Valerie Watt
Secretary of the Shetland Folk Society Valerie Watt said: “This has had a significant impact on the number of entries this year as more fiddlers are entering both the Young Fiddler and Traditional sections in all age groups.
“Last year we had 153 entries from 101 fiddlers but this year we had 171 entries from the same number of fiddlers.
“This is great news as the young fiddlers and their tutors are valuing both our traditional and contemporary Shetland tunes.”
It was a record year in many ways. On Friday morning a record number of Junior fiddlers (P6 and under) performed and Maisie Henderson was announced as the Junior Young Fiddler and Amber Thomson as the Traditional Junior winner.
Due to increased entries the Intermediate section usually just held on the Friday afternoon, was extended into Friday evening. Ashleigh Jarmson was declared both the Intermediate Young Fiddler of the Year and the Traditional winner.
The variety of tunes being played – including some very challenging ones – impressed the judges Catriona Macdonald, Iain Williamson and Linda Gair. There is an increased number of younger competitors with some as young as seven performing with confidence.
The concert began with the Shetland Folk Society Tune Competition judges Violet Tulloch, Debbie Scott and Bryan Gear performing the winning tunes for both the senior and junior competitions.
George Spence was awarded the Curley Jamieson Memorial Cup for the junior tune competition and Jenny Henry was awarded the John Pottinger Memorial Shield for the senior competition. Margaret Robertson was awarded the David Hall Memorial Shield for the best reel in the Shetland style.
There will be full coverage in Friday’s Shetland Times.