Tom McAllister Dies in Accident

Published: March 31, 2001
(Page 1 of 1)

Tom McAllister Jr. died suddenly on Saturday, March 17, after falling from a ladder at his home in Shotts, Scotland.

McAllister was the last of a family dynasty that controlled the legendary Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band. With Drum SergeantAlex Duthart, he led Shotts to four World Pipe Band Championship victories – 1970, ’73. ’74, and ’80 – and numerous Champion of Champions titles, the last being in 1984.

Known as a quiet and unassuming person, McAllister never judged in RSPBA band events, choosing instead to focus his attention on his reedmaking business with his brother, John K. McAllister, who preceded him as Pipe Major of the Shotts band. The McAllisters sold their reedmaking business to James Troy of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, in 1996. McAllister’s father, Tom, was seen as a founder of the modern pipe band, responsible for standardizing, among other things, the two three-paced roll and chanter introduction.

Tom McAllister, Jr. handed over the reins of Shotts & Dykehead to Pipe Sergeant Sandy Bell in 1985, who then passed the band over to its present Pipe Major, Robert Mathieson, in 1987.

“Tom McAllister was a true gentleman and a powerful force in the pipe band world,” said a member of a Grade 1 band. “There was no one better at getting a sound and making the tuning of a band into a true science.”

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Pipers: If you think the low A on your pipe chanter is flat and you want to undercut it, be very careful, as a little bit of undercutting sharpens a lot on the low A. If you undercut too much you can ruin your pipe chanter.
Charley Kron, C.E. Kron Bagpipes