A well known and respected person on the Edmonton piping scene was P/M Harry Lunan (1896-1994). Harry served as the 'Regimental Piper' for the Gordon Highlanders during WW1. At the age of 97, Harry was invited to Windsor Castle and honoured by Prince Charles as the last of the Regimental Pipers. Lunan played under fire while the soldiers went 'over the top' into no man's land. Once, when interviewed, he quipped..."the Germans thought I was crazy so they left me alone!"
Descended from the famed MacCrimmon piping dynasty that ran a School of Piping on the Isle of Skye for 300 years, Malcolm (1918-2011) went overseas with the Calgary Highlanders Pipe Band during WW2 and studied under the legendary Sir Willie Ross at the Army School of Piping in Edinburgh Castle. He then transferred to the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards and saw service as a piper in the British Army. Malcolm and his family were devoted to the Edmonton piping community for many years.
From the Kingdom of Fife, Eck Brown picked up his first set of drumsticks at the age of 5 - and has yet to put them down! He played with the Dundonald Pipe Band in 1958 when they won the World Pipe Band Championship in Grade 2. Along with John 'Hammy' Hamilton, he was 'lured' to Calgary by the Clan McBain Pipe Band and immigrated to Calgary in September 1965. Eck's dedication, drumming style, influence and skill forever changed pipe band drumming music in Western Canada. Eck was well known as both a drummer and judge.
Born in Newmill, Banffshire Scotland, George began his piping career in 1930. As a soldier during WW2, he served as a medic in the Gordon Highlanders. Following the war, George immigrated to Canada where he continued to serve in the reserve and educate himself as a health care professional.. George Reid worked closely with youth pipe bands. Over the course his piping career, he was the Pipe Major of 6 bands and taught hundreds of pipers to play the bagpipes.
Rodger immigrated to Canada in 1958 from Renfrew, Scotland with a view to moving to the Pacific coast to continue his calling as a Marine Engineer. He got as far as Calgary during the Stampede and decided to stop and raise his family there. Rodger was an original member of both the 19th Medium Regt RCA and Clan McBain Pipe Bands. He has been a dedicated 'private' piping teacher for forty years and has been a major influence in the local piping community.
Had he not been captivated by the music of the great highland bagpipe, Arnie may well have followed his father's footsteps to become an Olympic Ski Jumper! He began with Seaforth Army Cadet band in Vancouver in the early 1950's. His promise as a player and natural leadership abilities saw him rise quickly to the post of Pipe Major. In 1962, Arnie moved to Edmonton where he continued his piping career with the 20th Fd Regt RCA Pipe Band and later the Al Azhar Shrine Pipe Band. Arnie has 'started' many great pipers and was instrumental in the formation of the Vimy Ridge Academy PB and the Strathcona County RCMP Pipes & Drums in Sherwood Park.
A direct line descendent of the MacCrimmon dynasty of pipers from Borreraig on the Isle of Skye, Iain has followed in the steps of his ancestors from a very young age. Beginning in Edmonton, as a member of the Edmonton Boys PB, he continued on to be the P/M if Viscount Park PB before moving to Calgary where he served as the P/M of Clan McBain PB. He moved the family to Regina, SK and formed the Victoria Park PB. Then he and his young family relocated to Monifieth near Dundee, Scotland in 1983. A prolific composer of pipe music, a player, an international piping judge and an educator, Iain recently retired after teaching hundreds of students in the musical art of piping with in the Dundee School District. He, his father Malcolm and son Calum have all contributed to the world of music.
At 18, where most pipers already had 5 years of playing experience, Dave Trew decided to become a piper! Graduating with a BSc from U of Guelph, Dave packed up his pipes, went to the UK, became a scientist in Glasgow, joined the Johnny Walker Pipe Band and began to follow his dreams! In 1974, he moved to Edmonton and focused his musicality, intelligence and organizational ability to benefit the local piping community. He is still in demand as an instructor for weekend workshops all over the West and as far north as Yellowknife! Dave's love of music has seen him teach several bands as well as experiment with innovative and creative 'alternative' venues using pipes. His accomplishments and experience are the stuff of legend!
Beginning his career as a Black Watch (RHC) army cadet in Montreal, Rick and his brother Harold (the P/M of the cadet band) moved to Edmonton in 1963. A 'natural' drummer, at 13, Rick was the youngest member of the 20th Fd Regt RCA (M) Pipe Band and quickly proved his prowess as a competitive force to be reckoned with. In 1967, Rick joined the 1st Bn Black Watch (RHC) regular force pipe band. When he returned to Edmonton, he quickly made his mark as the lead tip of the Grade One Viscount Park Pipe Band. Since then, he has played with several bands and introduced hundreds of youngsters to the precision, mystery and magic of the snare drum. Rick is presently the Lead Drummer of the Clan MacNaughton PB in Edmonton.
Jim Stout (1924 - 2016) was a fixture on the Edmonton band scene for many years. He served (with distinctions a soldier in the Can Scots, more formally known as the Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's) during WW2 and was awarded the French Legion of Honour. He was the pipe major of the short lived Blue Bonnets Pipe Band, then the Strathcona Legion PB - which he led to many competitive victories. Jim also owned the Scottish Import Store for 40 years, and was a very supportive and active member of the Edmonton's Scottish community.
Ernie Hunnisett (1928 - 2007), was a piper's Pipe Major. He began his piping career with the QOCH Cadet Corps in Winnipeg. He then went on to the Militia before shipping off for WW2 with the RCN. When he returned to civilian life following the war, he moved to Edmonton and followed Harvey Hogan as the pipe major of the #24 Montgomery Legion - which ultimately became the 20th Fd Regt RCA Pipe Band. In later years, Ernie played with an RCAF Pipe Band - and is likely one of the few pipers to play with all three branches of the Canadian Armed Forces.
From his early beginnings with the Edmonton Boys Pipe Band, Edmund has always been a leader and innovator. An Engineer (train type), Edmund has spent much of his time in Jasper and Kamloops, BC. While in Jasper, he formed the CN Jasper Highland Pipe Band - and took the show on the road (with their own rail car), to Toronto! Edmund is quite likely the only Alberta Piper to win a Medal in the Amateur Piping at the Cowal Highland Gathering back in the 60’s. He will always be remembered as the piper who recorded the 45 RPM that every dancer in Alberta had to have!
P/M Maxwell led the Calgary Highlanders PB through a second tour of duty as Pipe Major from 1977-1981. Despite being employed as Comptroller for PanCanadian Petroleum – a company of over 1,100 employees – he volunteered to take over the Pipe Band which was officially re-activated in 1975, after being reduced officially to nil strength in 1969. Maxwell rebuilt the band into the largest pipe band in Calgary, and a band that won many competitions and awards. The military rewarded him for this effort with the presentation of the Medal of Military Merit in 1983. After leaving the Calgary Highlanders, he formed his own successful civilian pipe band, Clan Maxwell.
Alex began his band career as a side drummer with the Edmonton Boy's Pipe Band. He and his late brother, piper, Patrick went on to play with the Strathcona Legion Pipe Band which eventually morphed into the Viscount Park Pipe Band. Alex eventually took up the pipes and continued on with the original Alberta Caledonian PB, then the Edmonton Caledonian PB and eventually, was elected Pipe Major of the Alberta Caledonia PB. In 2001, Alex led the Alberta Caledonia PB and qualified for the final round of the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow. Two further attempts were made for the crown in 2002 and 2003 when the band placed 7th in the Worlds. Alex retired from bands in 2004 and has been called upon for several times as a judge.
Now residing in Calgary, Sean has emerged as one of the top professional pipers from the Canadian Prairies, gaining recognition at the highest levels as a soloist, bandsman and composer. He comes from Winnipeg, MB.Sean was a member of 78th Highlanders (Halifax) Pipe Band. During his time with the band he has won Provincial, Regional, Canadian and North American Championships.Sean is the former Principal Piping Instructor at the College of Piping (PEI), and has since continued to teach at workshops and at summer schools.Sean is currently the P/M of the Rocky Mountain PB and Chair of the Alberta Society of Pipers and Drummers.
A piper, a soldier, a teacher - Jim McWilliams began his piping career in Moose Jaw. By the time he was finished high school, his prowess as a piper was a known commodity. Jim joined the Canadian Army. Instead of becoming a piper in the Black Watch, he ended up as an officer in a tank regiment. After serving his term, Jim left the regular army to join the 19th Medium Regt RCA, a reserve unit, as the band officer. He then moved to the Calgary Highlanders, and was a founding member of the Clan McBain PB. Jim was well known for his organizational ability. He set up and ran a number of pipe band schools in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, BC and the USA.
Not only is Douglas Smith a very well known piper in the Calgary area, he and his beautiful wife Margaret (also a piper) managed to raise three sons, all excellent pipers, two of whom played with SFU in two consecutive Grade One World Championships. A native of Carrot River in Saskatchewan, Doug began his piping career with the St. Andrews Society Boy's Band in Moose Jaw, prior to moving to Alberta in 1965 where he joined the Calgary Highlanders PB. The following year, he left the military and joined the Calgary Scottish PB. In the fall of 1966, the band amalgamated with the Clan McBain PB. Doug served as the P/M of Clan McBain in the early 1970's. He taught the Bonnie Lassies PB as well as the Old 78th Frasers - where his 3 sons also played.
Robert Wayne Henderson, a native Calgarian, received his first instruction from former Calgary Highlanders P/M Joe Auld. He served in the Calgary Highlanders as a piper from 1969 to 1974, after a brief hiatus at the UofC, he received further instruction from P/M Sandy Reid and P/M Donald Macleod, former Chief of Piping of the British Army. After playing in the Red Hackle, Black Thorn, and CPS pipe bands, he rejoined the Calgary Highlanders in 1978 and was appointed Pipe Major from 1983 - 1996. He is the current P/M of the St. Andrews Society Pipes & Drums. On another note, Robert, through his active involvement with the Calgary St. Andrew's Society, was instrumental in designing and having the Calgary tartan officially accepted.
One of the greatest piping legends of all time and the most prolific composer of pipe music in the 20th century. A native of Stornoway, Lewis, P/M Donald Macleod (1916-1982) spent countless summers in Canada, teaching and mentoring at various summer piping schools. He, along with a few others on this page can take credit for the level of piping in Western Canada.
Simply put, Capt MacLellan (1921-1991) was one of the most important pipers of the 20th century. Originally from Fife, MacLellan joined the Cameron Highlanders and was the winner of many major piping awards over the years. He was a regular instructor at various piping schools in Western Canada and the Northwestern USA.
Seumas MacNeill (1917-1996) was the co-founder of the College of Piping in Glasgow in 1944. A classical physicist by profession, his passion for piping was unsurpassed. In many ways, he set the standard for piping excellence throughout the world. Seumas spent several summers in Western Canada and the Northwestern US imparting his knowledge.
A physician and Gold Medalist (Inverness - 1964 and Oban -1966), Dr. John Napier McAskill (1944-2003) was a noted physician and composer from the Western Isles. He attended the College of Piping in 1957 and later studied under Donald MacLeod and Angus MacPherson. In 1971, he was part of the instructional staff at the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Summer piping school.
The 'Godfather' of snare drumming! A blacksmith by trade, Alex Duthart (1925-1986) was truly a legend in the drumming world. He picked up his first set of sticks at age nine, entered his first competition at the age of 23 in 1948 and led the drum corps of the Dalziel Highlanders to a World Championship five years later. He revolutionized the drumming world when he brought his unique style to the Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia PB where he introduced 'phrasing' and the Drummer's Salute. Alex travelled the world running band camps and summer schools.
A native of South Uist, Donald Morrison (1928-1988) served with the Royal Navy, then the Aberdeen Police where he was pipe major for several years. In 1970, he retired from public service and focused on his role as a competitive piobaireachd player. His proudest achievements were the Gold Medal at Inverness in 1961, the Silver Chanter at Dunvegan and ultimately the Bratach Gorm in 1973. He travelled the world teaching piobaireachd and playing recitals. The tune he was best remembered for is a 9/8 jig entitled 'Donald Willie and his Dog'.