Saturday, November 7, 2009


After about 27 hours of travel, we made it home safe!! We had no troubles coming home and I even played a few tunes in the London airport... This time I had a couple people come up and say they enjoyed the tunes! :)

During the flight from London to San Francisco, there was an adorable little boy named Calum sitting in front of me. He spent part of the flight leaning over his seat and holding my hand....he is going to be an absolute heart breaker so watch out!! ;)

The BBC interview went quite well! It will be aired next week Saturday on "Take the Floor", hosted by Robbie Sheperd! If you would like to listen, this is the link to the website:
The show will be on the website for one week in case you can't listen on Saturday. This week, Robbie played a short piece of all the competitors. Next week, in the last 30 minutes of the show, will be my interview and performance from the competition.

This trip was an absolutely incredible experience!! I learned so much in such a short time, and I cannot wait to go back! Being in Scotland and talking with the people has made me realize that there is so much knowledge and so many stories that must be kept alive. The culture and history of the music is essential in playing the tunes with true feeling. I cannot wait until I go back and will have time to write down all these stories of the tunes and learn as much as I possibly can...

Thank you for keeping up with this blog throughout my trip! I'm sorry if you've tried to post comments and have not been able to... I didn't realize it but apparently you need a gmail account to post.

Since this is the end of my trip, I will no longer be using this blog. Please keep up to date on my website:

Thank you to everyone for all your support and the lovely emails I've received!

Best wishes,

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Hellooooo everyone!

This morning we're going to Edinburgh for our last day in Scotland. I have an interview with Robbie Sheperd of BBC News about the Glenfiddich Competition. The interview should show up sometime this weekend on his show, Take the Floor!
We will spend the rest of the day wandering around Edinburgh and visiting with a few new found friends! Firday morning we have a super early flight to catch and should be home really late on Friday night.
I'm really going to miss being here...and will DEFINITELY be coming back soon!! :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today I'm auditioning at The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Please keep the good thoughts coming! :)
It's been raining A LOT so it's been hard to take pictures... I did add a few on the side though!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Press Release

Check out the press release! :)

The Competition

I did promise to let you know more about the competition…

So, yesterday morning we drove up to Blair Castle through pouring rain. My Dad did a great job of driving, though I slept through most of it. The drive took about two hours from where we’re staying in Milngavie (pronounced Mull-guy). We made it to the castle around noon and I was shown to my private warm-up room, which had showcase displays of old military relics. We didn’t get any pictures of the outside of the Castle because of the rain.

All the competitors were given free tickets to a very nice lunch of venison grown on the Castle estate. But, as one of the girls said, “It’s a nice gesture, but none of us can eat much because we’re all nervous!” So true, since all I wanted to eat was a salad.

After lunch, I warmed up with Morag in the ballroom, where the competition was to take place. It is a huge gorgeous room with paintings and hundreds of antlers on the walls, spears and suits of armor. On the wall behind the stage is a painting of Niel Gow, a famous 18th century fiddler and composer and also his fiddle. After warm-up with Morag, I went back into the competitors’ hallway.
I was 4th in the order of play so I had to wait over an hour after the competition started. I warmed up, waited wearing my heavy jacket, and then warmed up some more right before the performance. And yes, I was nervous. After they announced my name, which they had a little trouble pronouncing, I went on and played my tunes. It went well, and I was pretty happy with my performance. It makes such a difference when you have a great accompanist! The room was filled with listeners – about 300 - definitely the most well attended competition I’ve ever played in. After my performance there was a short intermission, during which I was very happy to hear that my fiddling didn’t have “an American” accent. :)

Then the rest of the competitors played. I went into the foyer with those who had finished competing and we watched the rest of the competition on the TV. This was fun because I got to talk with the other competitors. They are all such sweet people, and I’m so happy to have met them all!! They were Barbara Anderson, Nicola Auchnie, Graeme Davidson, Fiona Henderson, Shona MacFadyen, Gillian Ramsay, and Jack Smedley – all originally from Scotland!
After the final competitor finished we headed back to our private hall and grabbed our fiddles. There was a short tribute performance and then the “the orchestra mash”--- this “mash” was basically all of us playing a few tunes together with Morag accompanying on piano. The judges used this time to make their final decisions.

After the “mash”, the judges came out and announced the winners from third place to first. The judges were looking for someone who played well in the Scottish Idiom, with beautiful tone, was technically sound, with “lovely dynamics”, “who makes you feel like you’re part of the music,” and “really tells the story for what these tunes are about.” In 3rd place was Gillian Ramsay from Kirriemuir. In 2nd, was last year’s 2nd place winner: Nicola Auchnie from Turriff. I was absolutely stunned and so happy when they called my name for 1st place. Wish you could have seen my Mom’s face. I can still hardly believe it! Everything after that announcement is seriously a blur. Lots of people wanted to talk to me all at once – including the BBC! – and I also had to go have a bunch of pictures taken with the Quaich, my fiddle, and everyone around me!

There is a special quaich that will sit in the Glenfiddich Distillery for this year with my name added as the 2009 champion, along with all the past winners. I get to take home a specially-commissioned silver Glenfiddich Quaich.
I have to admit the first half of this experience was nerve-racking. My dear accompanist, Morag Macaskill, kept asking me if I was OK! The second half definitely made up for the first half.

So there are some really important people I need to thank:

First, to Gregor Borland for believing this was possible and helping me prepare for the competition. I could never have done it without you!

To Morag Macaskill for the incredible and “sympathetic” (as the Scots say) accompaniment! It was absolutely brilliant!!

To Liz Maxwell for putting the event together and keeping me updated about everything through email!

To Hugh McGilp for the last minute pointers which made my air and slow strathspey even better!

To all the talented competitors--- I have never competed against such a high caliber of musicians. You are all so sweet and made me feel completely welcomed even though I was the “girl from America”!

To family, friends, teachers, and fans at home, for your wonderful support and the many lucky coins! :)

Time to go eat dinner! I hope this gives you a better idea of what the competition was like! :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, I am now the 2009 Glenfiddich Fiddle Champion! The weather is storming, I have a beautiful view of Glasgow, and am honestly tooooo excited to write much just now! I will try to add some pictures later! :) :) :)

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween! (Turns out they do celebrate it quite a bit over here in Scotland! I even saw some fireworks!)

I’ve been working really hard the last couple days with Morag! As soon as I played my tunes with her the first time, the music came alive! It’s absolutely fantastic to have an accompanist like her for this event!

I did get out for a bit today to see Loch Lomond and Inveraray Castle (where the current 13th Duke of Argyll resides!)! Both were lovely places…. Too bad I’ll never be duchess.

Well, I can’t write much now. I’ve got to get some sleep!! Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!!!! I can hardly believe it! Send good thoughts, prayers, vibes, luck, or whatever you fancy will help me play well!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


We started off Wednesday morning at the Portland Airport. I was practicing my competition tunes in the terminal while we waited to board. As I was practicing, an older gentleman came up to me and asked “How long do you have to play?” I gave him a bewildered look, and he continued “because the noise bothers me.” ….wow. I have to say…I didn’t see that one coming! I think most people enjoyed the music though, because a few people told me they sat close to hear it. Later on I even met someone from the Portland Baroque Orchestra Board!

But anyway, we made it to Chicago and just made our connection to London. After an eight hour flight to London, we had two hours until our next flight, but that was before customs. So you think US customs are bad? Try London. We waited an hour to get through a 40 foot “queue” because they had one agent checking all non UK citizens. Then they had to take our picture and make us go through security again AND recheck us again before going to the terminal. So we missed our connection from London to Edinburgh and had to wait on standby. Thank goodness for coffee. We barely made it on the first standby flight three hours later, but WE MADE IT to Edinburgh!!

Ah but the craziness continues… After checking out our rental car, my poor father had to drive on the opposite side of the road, in a stick shift (also on the opposite side of the car), in the madness of Edinburgh!! He got us safe and sound to the bed & breakfast, although the roundabout was a bit scary! So after about twenty hours of travel, we arrived.

With no time to waste, we went out and caught the bus into the heart of Edinburgh! I was very excited to see that the seat fabric on the bus was tartan!! J The city is absolutely beautiful with the most amazing architecture! We walked “The Royal Mile” and saw Edinburgh castle! Although it was already dark by 5pm, the castle and general splendor of the city was still breathtaking. And yes, while walking along the Royal Mile, I did find a stuffed “Nessy” wearing a kilt. And I heard “Scotland the Brave” on box accordion, played to a polka rhythm…!

We ate at a pub called “The Mitre Bar” on the Royal Mile. I admit it, I sampled the haggis. I would probably never order it, but it wasn’t quite as bad as I expected! ;)

Now, to finally get some sleep but only after I practice…* * ) * *

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Thank you!!

I leave for Scotland early Wednesday morning and I still can’t believe it! Can you? It’s hard to think that something that was once such a distant opportunity is now only a few short days away.

This trip would not have been possible if it weren’t for support from my family, friends, and fans. I would also like to thank The Oregon Scottish Society, Eugene Scottish Festival, The Douglas County Scottish Society, and Portland Highland Games Association for supporting me on this endeavor.

In particular, I would like to thank YOU for caring enough to read this blog and following what is sure to be an exciting adventure!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Glenfiddich Piping & Fiddle Championships: Press Release (

Champions to fight it out for traditional music’s ultimate accolade. The world’s finest pipers and fiddle players are tuning up to compete at this year’s Glenfiddich Piping & Fiddle Championships, taking place in the sumptuous Ballroom at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Perthshire. This year celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Glenfiddich Fiddle Championships on Sunday 1st November. The 36th Glenfiddich Piping Championships will take place the previous day, Saturday 31st October. The Championships are widely regarded as the most prestigious in the piping and fiddle world and those who compete, do so by invitation only. The winners of solo piping and fiddle competitons occurring throughout the year travel from across the globe to compete for the coveted title of champion – which hails them as the best in the world.
Both events were won by Scots in 2008 and it will be interesting to see if both titles will remain on Scottish soil in 2009! A short history of the championships … The Glenfiddich Piping Championships were established in 1974 to inspire and stimulate the world’s finest individual pipers, and to seek the best overall exponents of the legendary ceol mor or piobaireachd (the great music) and ceol beag (the little music). The Glenfiddich Fiddle Championships were added in 1989 to reward, encourage and stimulate the art of fiddle playing throughout the world.

The full list of this year’s competitors will be released at the end of September.