Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame

Inducted: July 11, 2019

 When Bruce Gandy moved to the Maritimes in 1997, he was already an accomplished piper. For the previous fourteen years he had played with the 78th Fraser Highlanders, the first pipe band from outside of Scotland to win a world championship. His wife Beverley also played for this legendary band, as did two other people in the room with us tonight, John Walsh and Barry Ewen.

Bruce had always been a successful competition piper, but since coming to the Maritimes he has blossomed into one of the finest pipers and teachers in the world.

Each year Bruce competes in the top professional bagpipe competitions in the world where pipers and their instruments are judged according to very exacting musical standards. Bruce Gandy competes at this level with the best in the world and has brought a pile of prizes back to Nova Scotia. He won both Gold Medals in Scotland in 2002 and 2003, the Bratach Gorm in 2003, the Open Piobaireachd championship in Oban in 2014 and the Silver Star in Inverness. On six occasions he has won North America’s most prestigious solo championship, the Metro Cup of New York.

Bruce has made thirteen appearances in the Glenfiddich championship. Each year the ten top pipers from around the world are invited to Blair Castle to compete in what is recognized as the world’s pre-eminent solo competition. The top prize has eluded Bruce, but he has finished as runner-up in the Glenfiddich three times. On the last occasion he appeared there, his son Alex was also on the guest list of the world’s top ten pipers. This is the first time a father-son duo was so honoured.

In 2003 Bruce was named Piper of the Year by Pipes and Drum magazine and fifteen years later, the magazine did something it had never done before. It named both Bruce and his son Alex together as Piper of the Year.

As a professional solo piper, Bruce has had an incredible streak of victories at the Antigonish Highland Games. He won the Ray Stanley Chisholm Buckle as Open Piper of the Games in 1999 and followed that with another win in 2002. Then beginning in 2004, he went on nine-year winning streak that was broken only when he finished second to his son Alex in 2011. Since then Bruce has won the Open championship six more times for a record total of seventeen times he has been been named Piper of the Games.

Through all these years Bruce has worked full-time as a bagpipe teacher, in his office at the Halifax Citadel, and increasingly on-line, where he was a pioneer in the use of Skype technology for teaching and where he is sought after by students around the world. Bruce has also played a key role as a player and mentor in Atlantic Canada’s current top pipe band, the 78th Highlanders of the Halifax Citadel, perennial winners of the Grade 1 contests at our Highland Games. Beverley and Bruce’s son Alex is now pipe major of this world-class band.

About the Antigonish Highland Games, Bruce wrote us to say:  “I look forward to coming each year, it’s always a treat to judge a few events on the Saturday as it gives me a great opportunity to hear the quality of pipers coming out at all levels locally, instead of just my own personal students. The friendships I have developed here on the east coast and in Antigonish County are cherished and lifelong.  What better way to celebrate life than to have a job, doing what you are extremely passionate about and can still do til this day. However, that would not be at all possible without the never-ending support of my best friend and wife or almost 35 years, Beverley. She is so supportive, in fact, while I could not be here to accept this great honour, Beverley agreed to go in my place.

Bruce says that “Winning a prize is nice.  It’s a result directly tied to a certain amount of practice, rehearsal, and discipline. But being honoured by a group carries much more weight and I am very humbled to be inducted into the Antigonish Hall of Fame.”

For winning Open Piper of the Day honours at the Antigonish Highland Games an incredible seventeen times in twenty years, and for his world-renown as a light music and Piobaireachd player, teacher, mentor and judge, Bruce Gandy is inducted into the Antigonish Highland Games Hall of Fame.