The festive season got off to a strong start this weekend for staff, students, and alumni of Lews Castle College UHI’s music courses in Benbecula, who won multiple awards at the MG Alba Scots Trad Music Awards on Saturday (1st December).

Programme Leader and Lecturer for the BA (Hons) Applied Music course, Anna-Wendy Steveson, was named “Music Tutor of the Year,” an award sponsored by Creative Scotland, and Elephant Sessions – a neo-trad quintet which features two alumni, Euan Smillie and Greg Barry – walked away with Live Act of the Year. Eabhal, who were shortlisted for “Up and Coming Artist of the Year” and features a roster of current and former students, also performed on the night.

The annual awards ceremony in Perth was broadcast live on BBC Alba and BBC Radio Scotland, and streamed online from around the world. This year’s hosts were world-renowned Gaelic singer, Mary Ann Kennedy, and award-winning musician, Kim Carnie, and the night featured performances from the likes of Manran, Isobel Anne Martin, and the Karine Polwart Trio.

“I am thrilled to be awarded 2018 Music tutor of the year in the MG Alba Scots Trad music awards,” says Anna-Wendy of her achievement. “I would like to thank all those who voted for me and congratulate all the nominees on the work they do in this important area. I feel privileged to work in higher education, and I feel music, both because of its collaborative and individual expressive nature, is such a wonderful vehicle to develop attributes and capacities to become skilled and caring local, national and global citizens.”

“I am so proud of our students and alumni – so many of them who are now performing and teaching at the highest level, and several featured in these awards, as nominees, winners and performers on the night. Congratulations to our alumni Euan and Greg of Elephant Sessions for winning live act of the year, and our current and alumni students from the band Eabhal who performed on the night. It’s great to see musicians who have studied in the Hebrides performing on the big stage and being recognised for their talent and hard work.”

“Congratulations also go to Shetland College UHI Applied Music alumni and now current MA Music and the Environment student, Margaret Robertson, for her induction into the hall of fame for her contribution to community.”