Published: March 31, 2012

Livingstone still playing strong after 70 years

Several dozen friends helped the famed piper Bill Livingstone celebrate his 70th birthday at a beer-, wings- and cake-filled event two days before the actual big day on March 20, 2012. Piping and drumming luminaries such as Michael Grey, Ian K. MacDonald, Jim McGillivray, Ed Neigh, Doug Stronach and Bob Worrall attended the party that featured several speeches and a special Livingstone trivia quiz.

At 70 Livingstone continues to be actively involved in competition as a piper with the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band, following almost three decades as pipe-major of the 78th Fraser Highlanders, which he led to a historic 1987 World Championship victory – the first non-Scottish band to gain the prize.

Livingstone remains the only piper in history to have won the Clasp at the Northern Meeting (1981, ’84) and taken a band to a World Pipe Band Championship, and, along with Bob Hardie and Muirhead & Sons, one of only two pipers to have won a Highland Society of London Gold Medal and win the World’s.

At the celebration Jim McGillivray gave an often humourous speech in which he cited Livingstone’s uncanny ability to be a “man of firsts,” as he has so often been the first to accomplish numerous milestones in piping.

Livingstone’s career in piping also includes capturing almost every major prize available in both light music and piobaireachd, several solo recordings, six pipe band recordings and two collections of music. He is currently in high demand as a teacher and adjudicator around the world. Livingstone said that he is working on his memoirs, which he hopes to publish in the next few years.

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