Canada 150: the 15 Greatest Canadian Pipers & Drummers (deceased)
#6: Reay Mackay
There might never have been such a beloved personality in Canadian piping and drumming than Reay Mackay. Another stalwart member and leader of the 48th Highlanders of Canada, Reay Mackay also led the Grade 2 Metro Toronto Police Pipe Band, and served for decades as a solo and band adjudicator with the PPBSO. He was the legendary John Wilson’s longest-tenured pupil, and he passed along his knowledge freely, travelling most North America to conduct workshops and impart his cheerful wisdom as a true ambassador of the best of Canadian piping. He competed in solo piping for a relatively short time, but for 10 years was virtually unstoppable as a prize-winner. Reay Mackay was also a composer of note, creating, among other tunes, the hornpipe “Colin Mackay.” An accomplished accordion player, he applied his knowledge of harmonies to pipe bands, making him a world progenitor of creative medley orchestration. He was made a life member of the PPBSO for his service to piping and drumming.