Bruce “The Owl” Anderson, 1958-2023
The well-known and dedicated Ontario piper Bruce Anderson died on November 27, 2023, at age 65.
Anderson was synonymous with the Guelph Pipe Band organization of Guelph, Ontario. With more than 50 years in the band, he was the longest-serving member in their history. His tenure encompassed the band’s competitive glory years in Grade 1 in the 1970s and ’80s, highlighted by winning the North American Championship at the Glengarry Highland Games in 1976 with Pipe-Major Ed Neigh and in 1981 under Pipe-Major Jim McGillivray.
Affectionately nicknamed “The Owl” for his large-framed eyeglasses, Anderson was initially taught by Gail Brown. He composed “The “Owl’s Hoot,” a hornpipe celebrating his nickname, and the tune gained traction, particularly in solo competitions.
According to Guelph’s current pipe-major, Tyler Bridge, Anderson was “an integral part of the Guelph Pipe Band’s survival and he perpetuated the band through some lean years, always staying focused on fielding the best quality band he could” through the 1990s and early 2000s.
He was pipe-sergeant under Pipe-Major Bruce MacDonald until the band took a hiatus from competing in 2005. Anderson again committed himself to rebuilding the organization as its new pipe-major, and he taught numerous pipers during his life.
Bridge added, “The band has been in continuous operation for 101 years and reaching this milestone is in large part due to Bruce’s dedication and tenacity during times when the band was close to dissolving.”
The cause of death was cancer, which had been discovered only a few weeks before.
At this sad time, we extend our condolences to Bruce Anderson’s family, friends, and the Guelph Pipe Band organization.