New Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame mem­bers

The Glengarry News - - News - BY STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON News Staff

For Kahlil Cap­puc­cino, be­ing in­ducted into the Glen­garry Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame on Fri­day evening at the Bon­nie Glen Pavil­ion was a bit like com­ing full cir­cle.

Ac­cord­ing to his friend, Bruce McCuaig, who in­tro­duced him at Fri­day’s cer­e­mony, it was at that very same build­ing where Mr. Cap­puc­cino first played with a pipe band.

In any case, that long ago per­for­mance kick­started a 30-plus year ten­ure in the com­pet­i­tive pipe band world. He got his start as a bass drum­mer with The Glen­garry Pipe Band, saw it as­cend the ranks from a Grade 4 band to a brief stop at Grade one, and helped the band win nu­mer­ous provin­cial and na­tional cham­pi­onships.

Over that time, he has also played with the Cana­dian Forces Com­pos­ite Pipe Band and the 78th High­landers Hal­i­fax Ci­tadel Pipe Band. With the lat­ter, he has one “Best Bass Sec­tion” three times as well as the North Amer­i­can Open Bass Cham­pion and the Mid­west High­land Arts Fund gold medal.

De­spite these ac­com­plish­ments, Mr. Cap­puc­cino ad­mit­ted to feel­ing em­bar­rassed about his in­duc­tion.


“I feel like I am ac­cept­ing this un­der false pre­tenses,” he said dur­ing his ad­dress to the packed house. “I’m be­ing hon­oured for some­thing I love do­ing; it’s hard for me to square that cir­cle.”

In his speech, he spoke pas­sion­ately about his love for pipe bands.

“When I play, I lose my­self in the mu­sic and I don’t want to be found,” he said. “I am lucky to have met so many peo­ple and to have had so many ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Mr. Cap­pu­ci­cno was just one of four in­ductees who were of­fi­cially granted en­trance into the hall on Fri­day. The oth­ers were The Clans­men, Gil­bert Young, and the late Bill Vipond, who was rep­re­sented by his son, John.

For his part, John Vipond said that it was “over­whelm­ing” to have his father rec­og­nized 43 years af­ter his un­for­tu­nate drown­ing.

He said he al­ways re­mem­bered his father singing, whether it was at church, out in the fields, driv­ing around in his truck or sim­ply per­form­ing on stage.

“He re­ally en­joyed the classic Scot­tish tunes but he also liked coun­try mu­sic,” he said. “I re­mem­ber the 8-track play­ers with tapes by Elvis and Johnny Cash. He re­ally en­joyed the dif­fer­ent gen­res.”

Fond mem­o­ries

Mr. Vipond’s sis­ter, Deirdre, who came out from Hal­i­fax just for the oc­ca­sion, also has fond mem­o­ries of her dad.

“Ev­ery night af­ter sup­per, he would go into the front room and play his ac­cor­dion and sing,” she re­calls. “We’d all go in and join him. Mu­sic was such a big part of our lives.”

Bill Vipond was raised on a farm in Summerstow­n, where he be­gan to sing in the Salem Church choir. Soon, he found him­self singing at wed­dings and even­tu­ally moved on to open­ing for the Oshawa High­land Games. In the late 1960s, he formed a band called The Tar­tans, for whom he sang un­til his un­timely death on May 12, 1976 shortly af­ter his 35th birth­day.

Vankleek Hill’s Gil­bert Young was also among the in­ducted. The 77-year-old piper, who says he fell in love with the in­stru­ment when he was only five, was nom­i­nated by Don­ald­son Ma­cLeod for his work as Di­rec­tor of Bands for the Glen­garry High­land Games.

“This is an hon­our,” Mr. Young said shortly be­fore in­duc­tion cer­e­mony got un­der­way.

“There are a lot of tal­ented peo­ple [who en­tered the hall] be­fore me. My father, Co­ral, was in­ducted as a mem­ber of the Glen­garry Strath­spey & Reel So­ci­ety in 2008.”

Mr. Young, who at­tended the cer­e­mony with his daugh­ter, Trudy, said that as a young lad grow­ing up in Har­ring­ton, PQ, it wasn’t very of­ten that he got to hear the pipes.

“In those days, I only heard them once a year – at the July 12 pic­nic for the King Wil­liam Or­ange So­ci­ety,” he said. “They used to bring a group of pipers up from Mon­treal for it.”

In 1948, Mr. Young at­tended the first Glen­garry High­land Games and were fur­ther mes­mer­ized by the sound of the pipes.

He be­gan to study the in­stru­ment and then, in 1954, he joined the Har­ring­ton Kil­mar Pipe Band. As Pipe Ma­jor, he took this band onto the field to com­pete in Grade Three in 1957, 1958, and 1959 at the Maxville Games. Over the years, he also played with the Campbell Har­ring­ton, RCAF Rockcliffe Grade One band, and as Pipe Sergeant of the Ot­tawa Po­lice Ser­vice Pipe Bands.

Fi­nally, the Clans­men were also in­ducted on Fri­day evening and there were a number of for­mer mem­bers in at­ten­dance.

One of them was Rob Taylor, one of the orig­i­nal mem­bers, who started out with the group in 1973.

“I played the ac­cor­dion,” he said. “I only played with them for a cou­ple of years but I very hon­oured that I will play with them tonight.”

Mr. Taylor says he had to quit the band be­cause he had a young fam­ily he needed to care for, though he con­fesses that he soon got in­volved with an­other singer named Brian McDonell, with whom he later helped found The Bri­gadoons.

The Clans­men’s pop­u­lar­ity grew be­yond Glen­garry

An­other for­mer mem­ber, Dave McCormick of Corn­wall, joined the group in 1978 and played with them for five years.

When The Clans­men were formed in 1973, they were un­der the di­rec­tion of Sylvester MacDon­ald.

They were one of the very few Scot­tish dance bands in Glen­garry and soon they were get­ting calls from larger cen­tres in Ot­tawa, Mon­treal, Toronto, and the USA from peo­ple look­ing for tal­ented Celtic bands.

By the mid 1970s and 1980s they were so pop­u­lar that they some­times per­formed ev­ery day for weeks on end.

2 record­ings

They even­tu­ally put out two record­ings, The Clans­men in 1976 and At Your Re­quest in 1982.

The other orig­i­nal mem­bers in­clude John (Jack) Job, Jackie Smith, Lyle MacMil­lan, Rene Fleury. Other mem­bers were Th­wyla McDon­ald, Clara Ma­cLeod, June Burke, Mike John­ston, and Bryon Ha­ley.


HALL IN­DUC­TION: The Glen­garry Celtic Mu­sic Hall of Fame in­ducted four new mem­bers on Fri­day evening at the Bon­nie Glen Pavil­ion. Shown above, from left, are John Vipond (rep­re­sent­ing his father, Bill), Kahlil Cap­puc­cino, Gil­bert Young, and Dave McCormick, rep­re­sent­ing The Clans­men.

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