Ewen, Gandy, Boyd, Bradshaw inducted into Antigonish Games Hall of Fame
Pipers Doug Boyd, Barry Ewen and Bruce Gandy and snare drummer Lianne Bradshaw were recently inducted into the Hall of Fame run by the Antigonish Highland Games, the oldest continually running piping and drumming competition in North America.
Each were honoured, along with eight other non-pipers/drummers, for their ongoing contributions to the games, receiving special citations at the 156th annual event on July 11. The Hall of Fame was established in 2013 as part of the games’ sesquicentennial celebrations.
Bruce Gandy, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, and now a longtime resident of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is a famous figure globally as one of the world’s most accomplished competitive pipers, teachers and composers. He’s published four collections of original music, created two solo albums and won scores of professional events, including both Highland Society of London Gold Medals, the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering (twice), the Bratach Gorm and the Silver Star MSR at the Northern Meeting. He’s been a member of Grade 1 bands City of Victoria, the 78th Fraser Highlanders and the 78th Highland (Halifax Citadel), the latter two as pipe-sergeant. He is the owner and operator of Bruce Gandy Music.
At the induction ceremony, games organizers said, “For winning Open Piper of the Day honours at the Antigonish Highland Games an incredible 17 times in 20 years, and for his world-renown as a light music and piobaireachd player, teacher, mentor and judge, Bruce Gandy is inducted into the Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame.” Gandy could not attend the ceremony, and his wife, Beverely, accepted on his behalf.
Ewen, Boyd and Bradshaw are less well-known on an international level.
Barry Ewen emigrated to Canada in 1968 to become director of the Gaelic College of Piping & Drumming in St. Ann’s, Nova Scotia. In Scotland, he was pipe-sergeant of the Grade 1 Renfrew Pipe Band under Pipe-Major Tom Anderson, one of the best bands of the time. In Nova Scotia, Ewen took the Grade 2 Antigonish Legion to international success, taking third at the World Championships at Hawick, Scotland, in 1976, after winning Grade 2 at the Intercontinental Championships in Toronto in 1975.
Ewen later formed Grade 1 Scotia Legion, the first accredited Grade 1 band from the province. The band included several high-profile players, including Pipe-Sergeant Neil Dickie, who had also recently immigrated to Canada. Ewen later moved to Ontario, where he was a member of the original Grade 1 78th Fraser Highlanders, playing with the band through the 1987 season, before moving to Windsor, Ontario, where he led the Grade 2 Windsor Police to international acclaim.
Doug Boyd is a staple of the Canadian Maritimes piping and drumming community. Originally from Antigonish, Boyd was a piper with the aforementioned Antigonish Legion, and one of the most active piping teachers from his teens on. He was a member of the Grade 1 Scotia Legion and a successful solo competitor, before becoming pipe-major of the band when Barry Ewen moved to Ontario. He took the band to winning Grade 2 at the North American Championships.
Boyd later became pipe-major of the Halifax Police Pipe Band, then in Grade 4, but brought the band to Grade 1 status in six years. Under Boyd, the band introduced its trademark use of Cape Breton fiddle tunes into its medleys, and the band would eventually morph into the current Grade 1 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel). Career demands pulled Boyd away from bands for a few years, until he joined the Grade 2 Dartmouth & District with his sons to become pipe-major, leading them to a Grade 3 win at Maxville, Ontario, and eventual promotion to Grade 2.
Another native of Cape Breton, Leanne Bradshaw has been a competitive snare drummer and teacher for more than 40 years. She played with the Grade 2 Scotia Legion and was a drumming instructor at the Gaelic College. She joined the Grade 3 Clan Thompson in the late 1980s, winning the grade at the North American Championships in 1989.
After time teaching and competing in Prince Edward Island, she returned to Antigonish to be drumming instructor for the Antigonish Highland Society Pipe Band, working for seven years to build the drumming program in the area.
In the presentation, games organizers said about Bradshaw, “For her drumming career, including winning four Drummer of the Games awards in Antigonish, being lead-drummer for two North American Champion pipe bands and for showing great ability and versatility by being able to play with any band in any grade nationally and internationally, Lianne Bradshaw is inducted into the Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame.”
Gandy, Boyd in the sunshine at Antigonish
July 19, 2019
CoP on top at Antigonish
July 12, 2017
Competitors chill at three-day Antigonish
July 11, 2016