Canada 150: the 15 Greatest Canadian Pipers & Drummers (deceased)
#8: Willie Connell
Born in Glasgow to a non-piping family, Willie Connell was taught almost daily for 14 years by the great Robert Reid. Connell led the Grade 1 Renfrew Pipe Band and won the Clasp at the Northern Meeting, among many other solo piping prizes, before immigrating to Canada in 1973, settling in London, Ontario. He quickly became one of the most recognized and respected judges on the Ontario circuit, and was instrumental in the establishment of the Pipers’ Society’s first ever judging examinations. He contributed at various levels to the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s political side, serving most recently as Vice-President of the organization in 2005. Willie Connell was a prolific teacher and, unlike many of Robert Reid’s pupils, shared his knowledge readily and happily. His more well-known pupils include Bob Worrall and, at the end of his life, Jacob Dicker.
Nice work! John Wilson published 3 collections of pipe music, the third being the Canadian Centenial collection…all three of which I continue to use and teach my students today…
It is interesting that none of the excellent 15 selected musicians appear to be players who played predominantly for dancing. Today, we seem to be band players, solo competitors or piobaireachd pipers. Would there be any interest in a list of 150 ceilidh/dance pipers.