Passing it down

Published: November 21, 2005

Dropping by the George Sherriff contest on Saturday I was struck that Canada is for the first time seeing a substantial number of young solo pipers who are the sons and daughters of famous players.

Alex Gandy and Colin Lee, the sons of Bruce and Jack, respectively, made me think about it. These kids are destined for great-greatness — maybe even greater greatness than their fathers, as hard as that might be to conceive. I would venture to say that these two young men are playing far better and are more accomplished than their dads were at the same ages.

Scotland is on its third or fourth generation of pipers whose fathers and their fathers and their fathers were famous players. Angus MacColl has an incredible piping lineage, as do Willie McCallum and Iain Speirs. For sure, Canada has had a few descendents of good pipers, but never, I think, two kids like Gandy and Lee.

And there are of course more to come in Canada and, in about 10 years from the United States. That will mean that the piping standard at North America’s highest point will rise that much higher with that much more substance. The piping lineage factor has for years been a distinct advantage for Scotland over non-Scottish solo pipers. As these two proteges will prove, that too is changing quickly.



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