While this yarn is not directly about an Alberta character, it is a wonderful story with direct ties to several Alberta pipers.
One of the reasons that the pipers of Western Canada and the Northwest USA stand out, is because back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a series of summer band schools were readily available to the young pipers of the day - similar to 'Pipin' Hot Summer Drummer' school of today.
Legendary instructional staff, the likes of P/M Donald Macleod, John MacLellan and Seumas MacNeill were easily lured from the UK for a working holiday. Their influence and teachings resulted in a 'crop' of excellent pipers who would eventually become the instructors and pipe majors of tomorrow.
An equally important byproduct of all this, was enduring friendships that were forged among the youngsters who attended these schools..
The band school in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho in 1971, drew students from as far away as San Francisco.
One of these students was Reuben Santos. A fine piper who played with the Prince Charles Edward Stewart Pipe Band. Reuben later became the pipe major of the Culloden Moor PB, an excellent competition band. He and a number of Edmonton pipers like Alex MacIntyre, Iain MacCrimmon and the gang - formed a deep and enduring friendship.
The bass drummer of the Culloden Moor PB was a bear of a guy the called ‘Clutch' Sutton. He looked like bass drummers should look - even without the drum!
His life long dream to play on Glasgow Green at the World Pipe Band Championships was cut short when ‘Clutch' Sutton suddenly died as a result of a massive heart attack on 22 October 1999.
In light of this, on a rainy Glasgow night, the eve of the 2000 World's Championship, at centre field on Glasgow Green, Reuben Santos, John Biggar, Scott Ruscoe and Roddy Mackay, a few of Clutch's close friends from the Culloden Moor Pipe Band of San Francisco, California - removed a patch of turf from the centre of the playing field and buried the big guy's ashes.
Clutch's spirit will live forever - at centre field, Glasgow Green!
Every band has one or two 'Characters' who surface either through word, deed or action. It may have been someone for 20 years ago who's legend has grown with time.
...take a moment to let us know more about this individual.