The quality threshold of master composers such as Duncan Johnstone or Pipe Major Donald MacLeod was very high. We remember hearing the story of how Duncan visited Donald one day in his shop to find him throwing balls of scrunched up paper into a wastebasket full to the brim. Enquiring as to what he was doing, wee Donald seemingly informed Duncan that he was trying to compose a tune but was having difficulty hence the rubbish in the waste paper basket. Duncan immediately emptied the waste paper basket, eagerly seeking out any potential gems.
At last month’s Echoes of Oban, the College took time to formally thanks its recently retired Director, Dugald B. MacNeill for his lifelong commitment … Dugald has been part of the College since its beginnings in 1944, being among its first pupils.
Mary Miers, writing about Galtrigill in her book ‘Western Seaboard’, describes “silent ruins in a grove of alders and aspens above a ravine, just a few miles short of desolate Dunvegan Head. Few cleared settlements survive so complete, each house with a surrounding ditch and grass-covered wall head. On a south-facing slope … the ruined house of Donald Macleod can still be seen.” On rent roll evidence it is quite likely that this was the MacCrimmon college at the turn of the 18th century.
Willie Park is a veteran Winter School [the College school in Homburg, Germany] instructor. He commented: “It is important to realise the significant progress students have made in their piping, especially when you remember them as first year students only a few years ago.”
He [Bill Livingstone] goes on to share the story of the rise of the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band and the trials and tribulations of his journey with the band to the top of the World in 1987. The World Pipe Band Championships, competitions, practices and concerts. The egos, the eccentrics and the management of people as the band rose to the top.