Andrew Bonar, one of the best pipers ever to emerge from North America, is recovering remarkably well following a lengthy operation on November 4th to remove a tumour from the left side of his brain.
After weeks of trying to identify what was causing problems with balance, headaches and coordination, specialists finally diagnosed the tumour. The 48-year-old native and resident of Vancouver was rushed to the complicated procedure, which resulted in removal of a deeply embedded golf ball-sized growth.
Within only days, though, Bonar was release from hospital, having regained balance and coordination, and with what appears to be no loss of brain function.
He was able to enjoy the 10th birthday party for his daughter, Kate, on November 8th.
Andrew Bonar is one of the most accomplished pipers to come out of British Columbia. Except for a stint in 1991-’92 with the Grade 1 78th Fraser Highlanders when he was studying to become an air traffic controller, Bonar has been with the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band since 1980, competing at the World Pipe Band Championships 29 times, being in the prize-list 25 times, and winning the big prize with the band six times.
As a solo piper Bonar has captured many top prizes, including the British Columbia Pipers Association Professional Knockout seven times and a record 20 times as a finalist, the MacCrimmon Cairn for piobaireachd four times at the BCPA’s Annual Gathering, four times BCPA Grand Aggregate winner, and in 2010 won the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting.
Only a few months ago, Bonar competed with SFU at the World Pipe Band Championships, and as a soloist at the Northern Meeting.
Bonar said that he faces much more medical treatment on the road to full recovery, but added, “I still plan on teaching and playing my chanter. While the brain is readjusting, I have no immediate plans to be blowing up the big pipe.”
Bonar is one of the most-liked and smartest people in the piping and drumming world. He has worked as an air traffic controller at Vancouver’s main control centre for aircraft for 20 years.
A few of his extraordinary tricks are the ability to play full tunes backwards and switch hands while playing. Aside from his piping skills, he is celebrated for an uncanny ability to recall minute facts and figures from his 40 years in piping.
On behalf of the piping and drumming world, we wish Andrew Bonar a full and fast recovery.