October 31, 2010

Livingstone recognized in Canadian Parliament for service to piping and drumming

Over his 50-year piping career Bill Livingstone has received hundreds of prizes in solo and pipe band competitions within the piping and drumming community, but recognition from the outside world is usually rare even for the world’s greatest contributors to the art. Following his stepping down as pipe-major of the Grade 1 78th Fraser Highlanders, Member of Parliament Dr. Kirsty Duncan addressed the Canadian House of Commons to pay tribute to Livingstone in a one-minute speech.


The Liberal MP for the riding of Etobicoke North in Toronto, Duncan chose to commit her time to officially recognize Livingstone before her fellow MPs at the House of Commons in Ottawa. Her statement read:

Mr. Speaker, for 29 years Bill Livingstone, the first North American to win the Gold Medal in piping at Inverness, was pipe-major of one of the world’s most famous pipe bands, the 78th Fraser Highlanders. Under his direction, the Ontario pipe band won 13 North American Championships and travelled to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland for 27 consecutive years. In 1987, the 78th Frasers won world championship and made the landmark Live in Ireland recording, events that are seen by many as seminal in piping. Livingstone holds the distinction of being the only person in history to have led a Grade 1 band to a World Championship and to have won a Clasp for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting, the two pinnacles of pipe band and solo competitive success. His place in piping folklore is secure with hundreds of professional and solo triumphs. Congratulations on a brilliant, unmatched and unique piping career.

Duncan herself is extraordinarily accomplished. In her teens she was a champion Highland dancer and athlete. She also took up piping in the 1990s, with instruction from Gordon MacRae, who now plays with Dowco Triumph Street. Her academic work as a PhD led to groundbreaking research into the influenza pandemic of 1918, which killed millions around the world. She was elected to parliament in 2008.

Duncan’s tribute is now officially recorded in the Canadian parliamentary Hansard.


  1. Solo piping at it’s best. Tireless and superb Bandcraft the same. Two ‘all-time great’ albums spring to mind: Six in a Row” (Strathclyde Police)….and….”Live in Ireland” (78ths). The latter would be listened to by yours truly incessantly

  2. Kirsty, thanks for doing this. It was a fantastic thing to do. And congratulations, Bill. Well deserved and a long time coming. Your father would be proud. The Wee Spree” guy from Kincardine”

  3. Hearty congratulation’s Bill, thoroughly well deserved for a life times contribution towards promoting the furtherence of our noble instrument, inspiring many individuels to greater things, with your encouragement and ever ready wit. Well done. Pipe Major Gordon Walker

  4. Well done Bill, and great to see some thanks being given to those who do so much for piping. Down in Australia I know many have appreciated listening to your wonderful music for years. Brett Tidswell

  5. Well said, Kirsty — a fitting tribute in a public forum for a man who has made a truly monumental contribution to the Art that has been appreciated and enjoyed by a countless multitude over decades. Thank you for the music, Bill!



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