Ol’ George

Day 2. 60 pages, 22,732 words.

On Sunday I received word from back over in Australia that my old bagpiping mentor, George McClelland, had died.

George was a nice bloke, who taught me the basics of piping. I started a year later than the other guys in my class, due to the fact that I’d spent 1991 in New Zealand. George got me all caught up. He retired a year into my training in 1992, and Norm DeGrussa[1] took over to get me to the championship-grade “A Team” elite in my final year at school. But George was the one who taught me.

[1] I had no idea there was a website where you could rate teachers. Holy actual shit, Internet. Also, wow, I have no idea who David Coughlan is, must’ve been after my time, but they sure seem to hate him. And OH LOOK, my brother is there and he has a shit-ton more ratings than anyone else and he fucking aced them, despite the occasional rotten tomato. Not the least bit surprising[2].

[2] “Always on time for class because he never leaves the school. School is love, school is life.” LOL. And “Mr. Hindle is a very interesting man. He will often criticize students for his own enjoyment, and has been described by students as “uncontrollable” and “an ape of a man”…” Bwahahahaha! Oh, oh, and this one: “Good bloke means well but a bit creepy how [h]is only friends are kids. He thinks he is a child and he is probably a child predator. Good teacher if you are a favourite or a rower but otherwise don’t fall for the lollies!!!” …wow. Okay, back to the tribute.

Then, when I left school and joined Perth Highland Pipe Band, it was George again (he’d retired from the school, but since Perth Highland was a band dominantly fed new players by the boys graduating from the same school, he was a long-time member there). He helped me (and my good friend Mister B) get all caught up again, this time on the new tunes in the Perth Highland repertoire that we hadn’t learned in our years in the Scotch College Pipe Band.

George was one of the founding members of Scotch College Pipe Band when it was formed in 1947. He served as school Bandmaster from 1977 to 1992, and after that was honorary President of the Pipe Band Association of Western Australia. But that’s just stats.

A warm and genuinely lovable guy with a great sense of humour and a passion for music, and a natural ability to pass that gift on to later generations. That’s how I remember him.

So long, George. The world is a better – and way, way noisier – place thanks to your presence in it.

This entry was posted in Kussa mun hopoti?, The Chucky Report and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Ol’ George

  1. aaronthepatriot says:

    You said nearly all that needs saying in an epitaph for a bagpipe instructor…I like to think those epitaphs I’ve sent you played some small role in this, LOL.

    So all I’ll add is my own RIP, George. It really blows when someone who taught you a skill breathes their last.

  2. I love bagpipe music.

    More on topic, this was a beautiful post. I’m sure he’d have appreciated it.

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