Continuing uncertainty surrounding easing of lockdown restrictions and uncertainty relating to the playing of any shinty this summer will not slow down preparations for the 2021 musical composition competition which marked the celebration last year of the 200th anniversary celebrations of Royal Celtic Society activities.
The competition is being repeated in an enhanced and changed format this year.
The success of last year’s competition led to the launch of a newly expanded format for 2021 with increased prizes and a new section for musicians aged under-18.
The competition also sees two new collaborators joining the supporting groups – Shinty Memories Scotland and Fèisean nan Gàidheal.
Entries are open for the new competition from June 1 and be open through July.
Entries must be submitted to the newly created email address Scotlandatitsbest@gmail.com by Monday, August 2.
Entrants will receive a confirmation email registering the entry.
Lochaber’s Ewen Henderson, one of Scotland’s finest musicians and composers emerged as the winner of the 2020 competition with results of the final of the musical shoot-out revealed at the precise moment that Shinty’s Big Day out, the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final, would have been throwing up in Kingussie, had it not been for the intervention of the Coronavirus pandemic.
This year’s main prize winner will receive £800, second place £600 and third place £300.
The best entry in the under-18 section will be awarded £250 and a further £250 to donate to a Fèis of their own choice.
It is still hoped that this year’s winning entry will hopefully be performed as at the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final, which was scheduled for Kingussie, but has now been moved to Oban, on Saturday September 18.
Final details of the arrangements for the performance etc will be published in due course, once the Covid-related implications of the switch to Oban are clear.
Building on the experience of last year’s competition, there are some changes to the format of this year’s musical competition.
The new format is aimed at solo artistes who are being asked to play an unaccompanied piece of music, on one instrument, recorded on a mobile phone or similar, and in a situation relevant and appropriate to the piece of music.
There are two competitions this year – an open one with 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes and an under-18 competition.
Under 18s should enter the young people’s competition only and be under 18 on the closing date for entries Monday, August 2.
Composition entries must be original and can be of any length and entrants should offer a short explanation of the relevance of the piece and the location, as part of the recording.
The three best tunes in the main competition will be chosen by the judging panel from an initial selection of the ten best, to decide the winner and the prizes.
The selection of finalists will be made by a panel comprising RCS representative, Gary Innes (Chair), Camanachd Association representative, Fèisean nan Gàidheal representative, Shinty Memories Scotland representative and a representative of the Glasgow Celtic Society.
Speaking of behalf of the judges Gary Innes said:
“We are sure that this year’s competition will be even more popular than last year and everyone thinking of entering should make sure their entries are safely lodged at our new address Scotlandatitsbest@gmail.com.
“We are on standby for the deluge of entries we expect to get.
“We are sure that the quality of entry will be just as high again this year and now that there is some light at the end of our COVID tunnel, we hope that musicians will be able to take advantage of the increasing levels of freedom to show us the full range of their creative talents.”
It had originally been intended that the winner of the 2020 competition could have performed at the Tulloch Homes Camanachd Cup Final at the post-match Final Fling.
That game was re-scheduled for Kingussie and now Oban in September 2021 and winning entrants will again be scheduled to appear there, subject to final arrangements.
It is now planned to host the Camanachd Cup Final in Kingussie in September 2022.