The College of Piping in Glasgow has been left scrambling after its principal, Robert Wallace, abruptly “retired” from the organization in a move that, according to sources close to the organization, was unexpected.
The organization, which was founded in 1944 by Seumas MacNeill and Thomas Pearston, had established a steady presence as a leader in teaching piping in Scotland and around the world. Located on Otago Street in Scotland’s biggest city, the College of Piping progressed until the death of MacNeill in 1996.
The organization was led by Dugald MacNeill for several years, until Wallace was appointed Principal in 1999.
The announcement was made on the organization’s website, apparently without the knowledge of the organization’s board of directors. With Wallace aged 63, the brief story labelled the move as a “retirement.” Wallace thanked various individuals, but not the College of Piping overall or its directors.
Wallace’s was also editor and publisher of the Piping Times monthly digest, which MacNeill and Pearston also started in 1948.
Under MacNeill’s management, the publication was celebrated for his often acerbic commentary and biting humour, but was nonetheless an important record of Highland piping.
Seumas MacNeill had been closely involved with the establishment of what would later become the National Piping Centre, but fell out with other leaders of the project when he was informed that he would not be the principal. The College of Piping had originally planned to amalgamate with Piping Centre, but MacNeill, who was in declining health at the time, decided to keep the College of Piping as a separate organization.
Directors of the organization were not immediately available for comment on the record about Wallace’s decision.
According to readily available public documents due to the charitable status of the organization, the College of Piping Services Ltd. carries financial liabilities of £427,499 and a total net worth of £200,257.