June 13, 2011

Living salute

We pipers and drummers all too often pay tribute to those who contribute only after the person’s left us and we realize that it’s too late to show him or her the appreciation we have for the life-long contribution to the art. That’s not something unique to the piping and drumming world, of course, but perhaps we’re too caught up too often in our own competitive concerns to acknowledge the work of others.


[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDQoogty9PU&w=500; align=”right”]


The Georgetown Highland Games in Georgetown, Ontario, on June 11, 2011, was a rare exception. One of the games organizers had the good idea to pay tribute to Bill Livingstone and his nearly 50 years of work and accomplishment in the art. A few folks put the word out only a few days before the event, asking anyone who might be at the event who had played under Bill over the years to participate in a tribute at the massed bands ceremony at the end of the day.

A good number of folks gladly stepped up, and, led by new 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe-Major, Doug MacRae, played a mass rendition of “Lord Lovat’s Lament” and “The Mason’s Apron,” two tunes closely identified with Livingstone.

It was one of the nicer gestures I can remember seeing by the piping and drumming community. There are life memberships and posthumous tributes and trophies and things, but I would think an actual playing tribute is about as meaningful as it gets for someone who’s committed most of his life to the art, and, better yet, is around to hear it, still living strong.


  1. What a great tribute, and, entirely appropriate that Bill would not just listen, but join in. Long may that continue. Pipers and drummers all over the world have taken inspiration from every facet of his solo and band careers, and here’s another chapter starting to which we can all aspire.

  2. A great gesture for a great piper. The great music he’d made with the 78th was a reason for me to take up the pipes again after 13 years of non-playing. His music will be played forever… hope Bill has some beautiful stuff still to come….can’t wait !

  3. I was pleased and proud to take part in this. What’s amiss here though is that it was the Georgetown Games who had to undertake take this and not the PPBSO. It’s very sad that over decades of international success within the Ontario piping community, our Society has never recognized the major contributions of its own members. We could learn much from the BC Pipers Association in this regard.



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