December 31, 2021

The 21st annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours


2021 Piper of the Year (all aspects)

Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia

His third time gaining Piper of the Year honours (2017, 2013), the redoubtable Jack Lee seemed to be everywhere in 2021, from his third Glendifddich Championship, to his teaching, to his product developments, to his leadership with SFU, to his work in music publishing. At any age, Lee would be an inspiration to any piper or drummer looking to a future with positive impact. But at age 63, he’s doing things few thought possible for any piper when he started his career in the 1970s. Perhaps the most inspiring element is that he shows absolutely no sign of slowing. In fact, all we see is pure acceleration as he continues to aspire to new personal goals and reach new historical heights. He shared his thoughts with us:

Panellists’ comments:

  • Jack is downright inspiring.
  • In addition to solo success, continues to build, play and sell his own pipes, record tunes for his massive tune library and co-lead the SFU organization.
  • Jack continues to expand and improve his piping / teaching business while maintaining his place as one of the premier modern day (and perhaps historical) competitive pipers.
  • In a quiet year, Jack Lee continues to inspire. In his business, he oversees most aspects of bagpipe production: drones, bags, and reeds. His pipe band has kept busy with video projects. He won the Glenfiddich, yet again. Jack spends a lot of time training up-and-coming players. In watching the couple pipes|drums interviews with Jack this year, I was motivated by his passionate engagement in so many aspects of piping. He loves piping and it’s contagious.
  • A machine, but a really compassionate and kind machine.
  • Not only is he winning, he’s teaching, doing workshops, schools and seminars and running a business. I think he’s an alien.

Also nominated (alphabetical order) . . .

Jori Chisholm, Seattle – the organizer of the World Online Championships series of internet competitions and the owner of, Chisholm has things down to a science, and he helped to keep thousands of pipers and drummers engaged and motivated over the year.

John Dew, Perth, Scotland – a recording and multiple competition successes, Dew is emerging as a leading light of piping musicality and creativity. He is putting his academic knowledge of music composition literally to work, as he pursues a career that will pay dividends for our art.

James Feeney, New York – the good piper-doctor was involved with plenty of teaching, but, unknown to most, he quietly provided professional counsel to pipers and drummers and has been a voice of sensibility and common sense through the pandemic, as evidenced in his wise thoughts in our panel discussion.

Bruce Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia – one of few elite-level pipers to participate in online competitions as a contestant, it’s Gandy’s charity work with his foundation that impressed even more. Composer, competitor, judge, author, philanthropist, he’s a perennial inspiration.

Lincoln Hilton, Melbourne – a whirlwind of creativity, Hilton kept us engaged and entertained with incredibly inventive, professionally-produced videos and announced the publication of a major new collection scheduled to arrive in early 2022.

Ross Miller, Linlithgow, Scotland – like his Inveraray & District bandmate John Dew, Miller was recording and creating in 2021, while also keeping up with competition success. Later in the year, his humourous Christmas piping videos kept us smiling.

Trevor Takahashi, Los Angeles – establishing the new City of Angels, a pipe band that proactively opens its arms to those in the LGBTQ+ community cannot be underappreciated. He shared his thoughts freely in our June Pride Panel discussion. Takahashi’s love of piping and drumming is infectious and perfectly suited to building the art in Southern California and beyond.





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