July 27, 2022

Gordon MacRae, 1957-2022

The accomplished and well-loved piper Gordon MacRae died on July 25, 2022, at age 65 after a lengthy battle against cancer.

Born in Kincardine, Ontario, on April 22, 1957, “Gord,” as he was always known to friends, was a member of the 78th Fraser Highlanders from the band’s inception, and played with the group when it won the 1987 World Pipe Band Championship. On the Ontario circuit, he was an accomplished solo piper, winning many prizes in the professional and top amateur grades.

Band bus celebration after the 78th Fraser Highlanders won the 1987 World Championship (L-R): Tom Bowen, Bruce Gandy, Michael Grey, Beverley Gandy, Reid Maxwell, Gord MacRae, Julie Wilson. [Photo pipes|drums]
With his wife, Susan, MacRae and his young family moved to British Columbia in 2002, where he joined the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and became a stalwart on the BC scene. He would eventually become a member of Triumph Street, seeing the band move from Grade 2 to Grade 1 status.

He would join members of the 1987 78th Frasers and special guests at the 2016-’17 reprisal concerts of the band’s seminal Live In Ireland recording from their celebrated August 1987 concert at Ballymena, Northern Ireland.

Known for his dry, quick and quiet humour as much as he was for his piping prowess, Gord MacRae was one of piping and drumming’s most congenial people.

On July 1st, the SFU Pipe Band turned out at MacRae’s home to play a surprise tribute to him as he continued his health struggles.

He is immortalized in the popular hornpipe by his friend and bandmate, Michael Grey, “Gord MacRae’s Favourite.”

On behalf of the piping and drumming world, we extend our sympathies to Gordon MacRae’s family and many friends at this sad time.


  1. I knew Gord from when I was a member of the Clans of York Pipe Band. Gord competed with the band in Grade 4, even though he was a Grade 1 level piper, but that was Gord, a very humble and positive person. His future wife, Sue, was also a member of the Clans of York at that time. I’m sure that had something to do with his playing with the band at that time. My condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

    Paul McKenzie



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