Winner of the 2016 Scottish Harp Society of America Tunewriting Competition Announced

This week the Scottish Harp Society of America proudly announced the winner of their very first Tunewriting Competition: An Anthem for the Clan Currie Society. The prize of $1000, furnished by SHSA, will be awarded to New Orleans harper and composer Eyler Coates. His prize-winning composition “The Old Bard of Stilligarry” will be arranged and performed in New York City and New Jersey this winter at the Clan Currie Society’s annual Pipes of Christmas concerts.

SHSA wished to express its gratitude to the Clan Currie Society for all their generous support in a creative and useful way – by organizing a tunewriting competition among its members to produce an anthem for the Clan Currie Society. The theme of this anthem is to be “The Old Bard of Stilligarry,” an important figure in Clan Currie’s history. The title refers to the township of Stilligarry on the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. For some 200 years, successive generations of MacMhuirich (the Gaelic equivalent of “Currie”) served as Hereditary Bards to the MacDonalds of Clanranald.

Nearly 20 submissions were received from across the globe, from children and adults, beginners and professionals. Competition coordinator Haley Hewitt rendered all submissions anonymous and sent these to the judges. These judges, esteemed practitioners of Scottish harp music Ann Heymann and Seumas Gagne, selected three finalists. The President of the Clan Currie Society Robert Currie then selected the winner from the top three.

Of the finalists, Currie said, “All three selections were truly excellent…We are thrilled to be premiering this work in NYC at our 18th annual Pipes of Christmas concerts. Can’t thank SHSA enough for this incredible tribute and gift of affection. Moran taing!”

The Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to the Scottish harp and its music both ancient and modern. The society was formed in 1982 by Dr. Herbert P. MacNeal and harper Christina Tourin.

The Clan Currie Society, an American-based, international, non-profit cultural and educational organization, is the preeminent Scottish-American cultural society engaged in preserving and promoting highland heritage at Scottish Games, ethnic festivals, as well as community groups and classrooms. CCS has actively supported SHSA and Scottish harp events including sponsoring the US National Harp Championship, harp programs at Highland Games in CA, CT, GA and VA, as well as scholarships for harp study at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

SHSA wishes to thank its members who submitted compositions, the judges, and the efforts of the Clan Currie Society.

For more information on the Scottish Harp Society of America, please visit
For more information on the Clan Currie Society, please visit
For more information about the upcoming performances of the winning composition, please visit