Remembering Alasdair Gillies: Willie McCallum

Published: November 30, 2011
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. . . be talking about this reed, or that bag that you hadn’t even heard of. The developers would make sure they tried it with Alasdair before the rest of us got a look!

These past weeks there have been many reminders of Alasdair, whether it be at a contest, playing a tune in the house or hearing a tune he played or an event, or just remembering a story or incident involving him. I hope this will always be so. He played such a big part in all of our piping lives that he will be so missed.

 

I realize I haven’t mentioned the playing yet. His performances at the “big” March, Strathspey & Reel were of course legendary, among the best ever performances I have heard. Of course the sheer numbers of wins make sure the 11 silver stars will never be beaten. Alasdair’s mastery of the pipe and music stretched to every part of the repertoire, a true all-rounder and he proved this at the major competitions on many occasions. His ceilidh piping was always a treat, inventive and he had an advantage over the quicker fingered players in that the music shone above the amazing technique, not many can master this. You could listen all night.

We can only share in his memory now and share our sadness with his family and dearest. I am privileged to have known him, heard him play and call him my friend.

We will never see his like again.

Willie McCallum is probably the most successful all-round competitive solo piper of the last 50 years. A native of Campbeltown, Scotland, he now lives in Bearsden, Scotland, with piping as his profession at Willie McCallum Piping.

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  1. TheCaptain

    Willie….so spot on…. you have given us another glimpse of one of the most charismatic personalities to ever play the pipes. Our lives are so much richer for having known Alasdair, yet so much poorer from his passing…… always remembered… Ken Eller

  2. Hossman

    Ah Ali G. As each day goes by and as time should provide healing. I find myself more sore and missing him more and more. Great stories from good guys. Reason alone to subscribe to Pipes Drums. RIP Alasdair

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TIP OF THE DAY
Pipers: The trend today is to sink a chanter reed as far as it can go in the reed seat, and then tape all the holes that are sharp, or drill the holes bigger if the note is flat. Raising a reed slightly or just getting the reed placed ideally in the seat can make a world of difference.
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