Piping Legend Bill Livingstone to Open The 2017 Games

The Glengarry Highland Games is excited to announce that Bill Livingstone will be the Guest of Honour at this year’s 70th Games.

"Bill Livingstone is a living legend in the pipe band world, respected and revered worldwide,” said Anne Stewart, President of the Glengarry Highland Games. "2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Mr. Livingstone's band, the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band of Toronto, becoming the first non-Scottish band to win the World Pipe Band Championships.  His victory changed the tides of the pipe band world, paving the way for Canadian, Australian, Irish and Northern Irish bands to claim World titles in the years after.”

William John Roderick (Bill) Livingstone was born in Copper Cliff in Northern Ontario in 1942. Although his profession was the law, his true vocation was piping. His career in piping includes capturing almost every major prize available in both light music and piobaireachd, several solo recordings, six pipe band recordings and two collections of music. He is currently in high demand as a teacher and adjudicator around the world, and is a playing member of the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band.

As a solo piper, Livingstone holds the distinction of being the only person in history to have led a Grade 1 band to a World Championship and to have won a Clasp for piobaireachd at the Northern Meeting in Inverness, Scotland (1981, 1984) - the two pinnacles of pipe band and solo competitive success, respectively.

As Pipe Major of the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band of Toronto from 1981 to 2010, Livingstone led his band in competing at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland for 27 consecutive years. Their 1987 win marked the first time ever that a non-Scottish band took the top prize. Also that year their landmark Live in Ireland concert is considered by many to be the greatest pipe band recording ever made.

With his decades of achievements and his countless anecdotes about the piping world, the release of his memoirs Preposterous: Tales to Follow, will be eagerly received this August just in time for the Games. 

Games Director of Bands Gilbert Young stated, “It will be a unique experience for Bill and the Games to have him as the honoured guest. Being a former Pipe Major, who has won the North American Championship 13 times at Maxville, he will be able to add this to his long list of 'firsts' in his piping career and experiences.”

Games Piobaireachd Director Jack Yourt agreed and added, “Pipe Major William Livingstone Jr. has had a tremendous impact on the piping community in general and the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) contest in particular. From the contest's inception in 1972, Bill won the Gold Medal and the Bar to the Gold Medal a total of 16 times, a record that may never be broken. When Bill retired as a solo competitor, he became a qualified International Senior judge for Piobaireachd and Light Music. He has adjudicated the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) contest a number of times, most recently last year's contest. Bill provides unbiased and highly valued feedback to the competitors, and his contributions to the contest are immeasurable in maintaining the contest's integrity. Bill is a legend in his own time, a professional at every level and truly a giant in the piping world.”

Allan J. MacDonald, archivist of the Glengarry County Archives and a former piper for many years at the Games enthusiastically welcomes Livingstone to the Games as Guest of Honour, "For the past forty plus years Bill Livingstone has been the epitome of Canadian piping excellence with numerous professional solo victories at the Glengarry Highland Games.   Listening to his 78th Frasers from the 1980s and 90s playing their groundbreaking medleys at Maxville was pure magic. There was nothing quite like it in the pipe band world."  

"I am honoured,” said Bill Livingstone. "The Games have been such a special part of my piping career over the years, including winning the North American Championship 13 times as Pipe Major of the 78th Frasers and judging the Gold Medal solo piping contest on several occasions. I look forward to seeing everyone this August."

Just one more great reason not to miss the 70th edition of the Glengarry Highland Games this August 4th & 5th in Maxville, Ontario.