Andy Ross, 1943-2013 (updated)
Andy Ross, one of the most popular chanter reed-makers in piping history, died on April 2, 2013, after a protracted illness with the blood disorder, myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS).
Born in Inverness, Scotland, on December 26, 1943, he made his name in the reedmaking craft in that country, and moved to Long Beach, California, in 1980, where he continued his successful business until the final weeks of his life.
He was taught the pipes by a World War II veteran, Pipe-Major Donald MacDonald, who was teaching kids for the Army Cadet Pipe Band in Inverness. Ross played for various bands throughout the North of Scotland, most notably Dingwall British Legion under Pipe-Major Trevor Dear, who took the band from Grade 4 to Grade 1 during that time.
In the early 1970s Andy Ross left Dingwall British Legion with two other band members, Willie MacKenzie and Rod MacLeod, and started the Inverness & District Pipe Band, which debuted in Grade 3. Ross was Pipe-Major of the band until he left for the USA in 1980.
In California he played with the Caberfeidh Pipe Band in Los Angeles and then went on to playing for the LA Scots in the mid-1990s and into the early-2000s.
Andy Ross’s reeds were played by most of the world’s most famous bands, including Simon Fraser University and Field Marshal Montgomery. They were known for their stability, resonance and durability, and were the model for other successful reedmakers over the years.
He passed away at his residence in Long Beach surrounded by family, and is survived by his wife, Una, children, Andrew, Avril and Sharon, seven grandchildren and a great granddaughter.
Andrew Ross will continue to run the reedmaking business. His son had been work with Andy Ross for several years, and has said the operation will be in full swing with the same quality in due course.
On behalf of the world piping and drumming community, we extend our sympathy to Andy Ross’s family and many friends at this sad time.
A memorial service to celebrate Andy Ross’s life is scheduled for April 27th at 2 pm, at the California Heights United Methodist Church, 3759 Orange Avenue, Long Beach, California. All who knew Ross are invited and encouraged to say a few words at the service, and should contact Andrew Ross by e-mail.
I was lucky to have played with Andy for several years. He was a great person with a quick, dry wit and a strong laugh. I will remember him fondly. My best wishes to his family. Duncan Millar
I only met Andy a handful of times but I thought of him countless times over the past 15 years with great admiration while playing his chanter reeds. The availability of high quality pipe chanter reeds in from many makers around the piping world is due in part to Andy’s example of excellence in reed making. My condolences to his family and best wishes to Andy’s son, Andrew, as he continues his father’s legacy.
A fantastic reed maker, a great guy and when I met him, a kind generous spirit. Safe travels Andy.
I would always phone in our band’s reed order so I’d have a chance to chat with Andy for a while. What a nice man, with such a tremendously dry wit. And an excellent craftsman as well; thousands of pipers have enjoyed your work over the years. RIP Andy.