It always surprises me just how quickly well known people can vanish from the piping and drumming scene. Our history is full of folks who did pretty significant things, and then suddenly elected to do something entirely different. When once they were at every event for decades, one day they seem to decide that they’ve had enough and they’re gone from our sight and our psyche.
Occasionally, these people will surface as a spectator at an event. A few veterans will notice them, and maybe you’ll hear one tow folks whispering, “Hey, there’s So-and-so. He once . . .”
It’s like seeing someone who went through drug/alcohol re-hab showing up at a pub drinking only ginger-ale.
I think piping and drumming is for so many such an intense passion that leaving it can only be done cold-turkey, otherwise the addiction will once again take hold. Piping and drumming dependence can be intense, so perhaps some people would rather walk away forever than try to temper their addiction.