Jimmy....in that photo shown, you are doing one of the many things you love...which is TEACHING !
You LOVE to teach, because you want to make an impact on the lives of others.
Allow us now, to let YOU know what YOUR impact has been on US !
Below, are some WELL WISHES and HEARTFELT feelings from those whose paths you have crossed.
There are video messages and hand written messages.
We've had some fun with your love for wine a few times up until now...but NOW would definitely be the time to fill that glass and sit back and take it all in.
You obviously know how much you are loved and appreciated.
However, that realization is about to be made MUCH more obvious as you read and watch what is below. Some of these are recent from late 2020 and early 2021, and some are from a few Christmases ago when you were surprised with a Christmas gift of well wishes. Thought you wouldn't mind seeing them all together.
I am starting to get back in the groove here, pipes going, reeds being made and enjoying a tune again, whilst reconnecting with piping I have been remembering your few visits here and listening to the recordings you've kindly done for me. I am so grateful for the gifts of understanding music,scansion and use of light and shade. A Wise man told me to always play from the heart and that's helped me so much in these troubling times.
Hope all is well with you my friend, teacher and mentor
More than you know you've helped meCheers
Piping is my life, I think about things in piping all the time every day.
Ceòl Mór is my favorite kind of music, I never get tired of listening to good pibroch recordings.
Jimmy you have a huge impact and influence on me. Bruce started me pibroch and he made me falling in love with it. I remember I met you for the first time during the lunchtime at the Maxvillie games in 2009 and you were willing to listen to my King’sTaxes just before the massed bands where I first met Joyce! Since then, we kept in touch and you have been giving me many great advices. The oral teaching that you use really inspired me, I have been singing all the time, singing out loud or singing in my head all the time, that makes me to be able to get into the music a lot easier,therefore I love the music even more again!!
That time you and Joyce were visiting Beijing, and I was able to spend an evening with you both for Peking duck and also Struan Robertson’s Salute until 2am at your hotel lobby! This tune commonly seen as a beginner tune and I didn’t realize that the tune has so much more music in it than I thought until that night! You just kept making me to sing the tune, and I am still doing it today!!
In the summer of 2014, I was so fortunate to visit your house in Anderson, SC for the whole week, and that was when I first met Cameron and Skye! You all are so so kind to me, a very warm hospitality and that week I learnt a lot through singing the tunes again.
In the summer of 2016, we met in Cancale, Brittany! It was a very last minute trip for me, but so glad that I made it there with the help of Gus Sicard from Glasgow who connected me with Hervé Le Floc'h for my travel arrangements. Since then, Brittany has become my favorite place in the world (no kidding!) because of the atmosphere, culture of the music and Pibroch by the Sea event which organized by your great friend Jakez. In 2017 I went back by myself for the same event too!
In 2018, we met up in Dundee, Glasgow and Cancale! Great times!! And I even got the chance to play in the bagad that year because the connection and friendship with Brittany that you gave me in the first place!
2019 was my final year for my studies in Glasgow, my final project was focusing on making use of singing as a learning and teaching tools. It is something that I will continue to share and stress how useful singing is to people, as the oral method that you taught me.
I am very very fortunate to have met you, very much appreciate for your kindness to me indeed.Chris from Hong KongDecember 2020.
You have been a huge part of several big moments in my life. When I was choosing where to go to university, the final deciding factor to go to CMU was learning that I could take bagpipe lessons. And there you were... teaching us with your whole being. Hearing you sing the notes and show us how to put our emotions into our playing will stay with me forever. We all became teammates and friends. Then you became family! First, by teaching my dad and befriending my parents. Next, you surprised me with an incredibly special performance at my wedding to Barry. What a highlight of our special day! We are grateful to know you, Joyce and Cameron for all of these years. Even though we are separated by many miles, we feel just as close when we hear about your adventures through Joyce's letters. And now, we can't wait to read your book!Wishing you all the joy in the world for 2021,
When our youngest daughter, Rachel, went from our home in Los Angeles to Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in Pittsburgh at the young age of 16, she was the last of three sisters to leave home for college. A few months into her freshman year I was in Pittsburgh and visited her in her dormitory room. I noticed a recorder-like instrument and small book on her desk; she informed me they were a bagpipe practice chanter and bagpipe tutor book, and that she had joined the CMU bagpipe band, led by Jimmy McIntosh. I asked Rachel to have her instructor send me a set – I also would learn to play the bagpipe, and we could play together when she came home to visit. Little did I know what I was in for with that request.
Shortly thereafter, a practice chanter and tutor book arrived, courtesy of Jimmy, and I started learning – notes, fingering, nine-note scale, grace notes, etc. etc. On and on for a few months, until a piper whom I met in Los Angeles said I could not progress without an instructor. What followed in short order was engaging Seumas Coyne, 30 years my junior, as my teacher; getting a set of pipes from Jimmy some months later; and joining a grade 4 pipe band started by Seumas's father, Jim. What started as almost a whim request in my daughter's dorm room ended up by my marching in parades and competing with the band at local highland games. Meanwhile, my daughter graduated CMU and moved back to Los Angeles to begin her career in computing.
In 1992 I received a professional job offer in Pittsburgh and moved there. Once situated, I asked Jimmy if I could take lessons from him, and thus began a many-year tutelage and personal friendship with Jimmy and Joyce. Our daughter Rachel met her future husband at CMU; they got married in Pittsburgh; and they were honored by Jimmy's piping at their wedding. In the following years, Rachel, her husband, and their two daughters would come from California back to Pittsburgh to visit, particularly at Thanksgiving. We had several Thanksgiving dinners at our house, with Jimmy and Joyce, their young son Cameron, and Rachel, her husband, and their two young daughters. Those were wonderful reunions for us all. My lessons with Jimmy were outstanding; in particular, he introduced me to piobaireachd, which is music I truly feel while playing. Many of our lessons consisted of my warming up with a march or two and then spending the rest of the time on piobaireachd – Lament for Mary MacLeod, Too Long in This Condition, MacLeod of Raasay's Salute, etc. From CMU dorm room to crunluath a machs!
I returned to Los Angeles in 2005, to a very busy administrative position, and I did not pipe for almost 15 years. About two years ago, having retired, I decided to start piping again, and I once again am taking lessons from Seumas Coyne. We both are 30 years older – he is considerably more mellow, and I have considerably less stamina. Nevertheless, the joy I feel while piping is even stronger now, having been permanently cemented by Jimmy in our many times together.
It is a perhaps a conceit to fantasize about the lineage of piping teachers from whom I have benefited – Calum Piobaire to William McLean to John MacDonald to Robert Brown and Robert Nicol (the Bobs, as Jimmy calls them) to Jimmy to me – but it is a fantasy that, at age 84, spurs me to be a perpetual student of piping. If I can continue to improve in some small ways, I can proudly call myself a piper.
Jimmy, I salute you; I thank you for many life lessons learned through piping; and I wish you many more years of happy life.Bob Rubin
Over the past few weeks, I have been reflecting a lot on the years that I have had the pleasure to know you, Jimmy. So many great memories, and Rebecca and I certainly look forward to creating more memories!
Incidentally, I am so thankful that Rebecca has had the opportunity to get to know you and Joyce. She feels very close to both of you.
I think it must’ve been around 1983 or so when I first sat in a workshop with you - at Delco, I believe. Over the past 37 years, I have benefitted so much from you. It is difficult to put into words how much I appreciate and cherish the time spent with you, Joyce, Cameron and the close circle of friends and musical colleagues that surround you.
Essentially, I feel that your friendship and mentorship have been amazing gifts that I can never repay. I can only hope to have the opportunities to “be there” for young musicians in the way that you have always been there for me. You set a great example for us all, and not just in piping!
As I am writing this on December 31, 2020, I want to wish you and Joyce a
Happy New Year! I hope that 2021 is a better year for us all! We must convene the Balmoral Social Club to toast the New Year soon!
Jimmy, I am eternally grateful for the gift you have given me and all your students, which is the musical legacy of Brown and Nicol and the whole lineage of Piobaireachd going back to the MacCrimmons. Your unselfish dedication, encouragement, and generosity in passing this music on to us has elevated the art of piping, and in so doing, made the world a better place.Love,
I was among the privileged few who can say that I learned how to play pibroch from Jimmy McIntosh. Though my bass drone sometimes bumped up against the ceiling of his workshop, I consider the hours that I spent marching back and forth while he directed me through Lachlan McNeil of Kintarbert’s Fancy (my favorite), The Red Speckled Bull, Too Long In This Condition, and countless other tunes from his chair to be invaluable. I also had to privilege to play in his and his wife Joyce’s band the Balmoral Highlanders for several years. They could not have been better teachers, mentors and leaders. Jimmy cast a long shadow across the world of piping, but was never anything but a gentleman to everyone he knew (and he knew everyone!). I would just like to say thank you to Jimmy for playing such an influential role in my formative years, and endowing me with a perpetual love of music.Your student,
While I have not gotten to know you as well as I would have liked, I have learned more from you than I imagined possible through our brief time together this crazy year.
Thank you for even having me as a student. I was lost last year. My last teacher abruptly wouldn’t help me anymore, I was told I wasn’t any good, I lost confidence, I wasn’t sure what to focus on or how to get better. I just went from competition to competition hoping for judges feedback to push me forward. You and Joyce have guided me back from my flailing attempt to get better on my own.
I am always amazed at how welcoming you are to me. I remember last year, in May 2019, when you walked up to me, even though you didn’t even know me, and shared advice about the Piobaireachd I had just played. You didn’t speak down to me or make fun of the way I had played. You calmly told me how I played the ending phrase and how it should be played. I had never met you before and I didn’t even know who you were. Yet your willingness to go out of your way explaining and sharing your time so generously shocked me. Such kindness is rare and greatly appreciated and you made me feel important.
I have never seen anyone with such a love for Piobaireachd! It is inspiring! I used to think of Piobaireachd as really long and boring tunes. I didn’t understand it. I just memorized note after note in Lord Lovats Lament(my one and only Piobaireachd I ever played.) 20minutes of trying to keep my pipes going and not stop was always a challenge to me. Forget thinking of playing musically, I had to focus on keeping the air going. I never imagined wanting to know more, or feeling the music, or thinking it beautiful. You gave me that!
I have never heard of someone conducting “you” while playing. It is brilliant as I am a visual learner. And singing!!! I have always been self conscious about singing in front of someone, even friends, but I have never felt judged when I sang in front of you, you only gave me confidence. “It doesn’t matter what you sound like” you said, “just sing.” These techniques have made it possible for me to learn, appreciate and compete with 3 different Piobaireachds this year!
Thank you for always being so kind, patient, nonjudgemental, inspiring, and believing in me!Sincerely,
Kate Melenyzer McNear
I was 11 years old when I first met Jimmy McIntosh. I was a beginner piper, taking lessons from Joyce, and Jimmy was visiting from Delaware. He came to my lesson with Joyce to give me my first Piobaireached lesson. I was star struck and intimidated. Jimmy taught me Glengarry’s Lament, but made me sing it before playing it on the practice chanter and I was so self-conscious, I wanted to crawl under the table! I survived, Joyce and Jimmy became mentors who are like family, and I (mostly) got over myself and sang Piobaireached in countless lessons over the years.
It is difficult to put into words how much of an impact Joyce and Jimmy have had on my life. I was honored to carry the horseshoe in their wedding. They were kind enough to take me with them on numerous trips to competitions and piping schools, to look out for me and introduce me to everyone. Our families grew to be close friends, socializing together and sharing a cabin in the mountains. Joyce taught me to drive. Jimmy gave me one of my first jobs, working alongside him in his workshop as he made reeds. The tuning phrase he played to test chanters is permanently etched in my mind.
I’m not sure anyone in my life has pushed me as hard or encouraged me as much as Jimmy. (Let’s be honest, sometimes it was Jimmy doing the pushing and Joyce doing the encouraging. Thanks, Joyce!) I look back now and realize that he was giving me exactly the quantity and difficulty of music that I could handle if I worked hard. He set expectations high and I usually did my best to try and meet them. When I came to my lessons and played well, I was rewarded with a quiet “That’s good, Katie.” When I showed up unprepared, I heard the story about how one gets to Carnegie Hall. (Hint: It’s practice.)
Because of Jimmy’s mentorship, my skill, musicianship and confidence grew. His teaching brought me success in competition and entrance into a community of pipers and drummers that will always be an important part of my life. Jimmy taught me that tenacity and persistence are never to be underestimated, lessons which have helped me rise to challenges in all areas of my life. I was tremendously lucky to learn from someone of Jimmy’s skill and talent. I am even luckier that Joyce and Jimmy welcomed me into their lives with such graciousness and kindness. They are mentors and friends who are like family to me and have my love and appreciation forever.Kate Melenyzer McNear
James H. MacIntosh MBE
It is seldom in one’s life that they encounter another who could change, in a positive fashion, the path that would alter the aspirations of another. For me, that was Jimmy MacIntosh. After a year of piping at age 26 I packed up the Henderson’s and went on to get a higher education. Sixteen years later I received a brochure the Balmoral School.
It was there, on June 6 th , 1979 that I met him. All I could play was Scotland The Brave . Jimmy was kind and understanding. That also was my introduction to piobaireachd. By the third year I played my first tune for him in full highland dress. I think it made him happy. He was reassuring and encouraging other than I had to gain control of my shaking knees. He was my teacher for 30 of the 31 school sessions and visits to Pittsburgh and Anderson. His teaching skills and his love for our ancient music changed piping in this country, not just in piobaireachd but in every other aspect- light music, judging, administration, band improvement and most of all, education.
He is a great teacher, always paying you a compliment on your tune and always, in a gentle fashion advising you of a small error. He worked 24 hours a day devoting most of his time to teaching us and was available at any time for a piper wanting to improve one’s self. A great accomplishment was his work at Carnegie Mellon and with the EUSPBA. He was fortunate to have the wholehearted support from his wife, Joyce and his son Cameron.
One could go on about his gifts to the piping world but I shall be laconic and say that his accomplishments are well known and he has been a great personal friend for over four decades.Bob Pekaar
When I think of your immense influence in my life, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude, for your mentorship, your unwavering dedication to our beloved music, and perhaps most of all your friendship through all the vicissitudes of life through the decades.
I remember so clearly hearing you play for the first time, at Oban. I had been studying for only four years then but was very keen. I was eager to try my hand at Ceol Mor but could make no sense of it from the recordings available to me. In fact, the first time I heard piobaireachd, on a recording by a very famous piper, I laughed. Surely this can’t be how it was supposed to be played! It made no musical sense.
Then I heard you play. I was dumbstruck. Suddenly what had seemed meandering and strange fell into an order of phrases, lines, and variations. I remember thinking there was a grammar to it, like commas, periods, and paragraphs. And that sense of order allowed for so much expression to come through. I was very moved. Meeting you that day changed the course of my life, and in the forty-three years since, my life has been devoted to competing, teaching, and finally judging the greatest music on earth. I owe all that to you.
In the wider picture, you have transformed piping in the US, having singlehandedly done more than anyone to raise the level of playing here. You have persevered in your quest to educate and mentor pipers here in the great Balmoral tradition. Your students are a Who’s Who of highly regarded players, teachers, and judges. Your influence is timeless, and the great library of music in your head and hands is a treasure to all who love Ceol Mor.
As a friend, you have been steadfast through the ups and downs of life, always kind and generous, ready with words of wisdom and helpfulness. I love your sense of humor and ability to laugh at life’s absurdities. Your steadiness and sympathetic ear have seen me through some big events, and I’m truly grateful. You are a rock and a superb friend.
Thank you, Jimmy, from the bottom of my heart, for all that you are!-Nancy
Amy and Ken
I did not ask to speak to you today Jimmy as I was not certain you would feel well enough to talk to me and I understand you were spending time with Cameron watching the football game. There are so many things I have wanted to say to you over the past few years and I was so hopeful Ken and I would have an opportunity to visit with you and Joyce in 2020 and play a tune or two in your sunroom. Ken would have helped you out with the wine as well. As fate would have it, this pandemic has made travel impossible and so I thought it an opportune time to write to you and express my deep gratitude for the years of teaching you have provided me for the past 45 years and for the deep hospitality you and Joyce have provided over the years opening your home up to all Balmoral pipers.
As you know, we met long ago at the Timmins summer school in the 1970s when I was just 15 years old. I was on the verge of giving up bagpiping as I could not find a teacher and you took me under your wing and made me into the player I am today. You stood by my side when others chastised and ridiculed my playing and supported me to become the player I am today. You shared with me your wealth of knowledge of piobaireachd and through singing and a simple tap on the arm I was able to feel the mood of the piobaireachd and portray it confidently. You are a gifted player, teacher and most of all a wonderful friend. I feel privileged to have known you and will never forget your generosity in the time you spent helping me towards success in piping.
I regret that in more recent years I was not able to win the top prizes in piping and perhaps to live up to expectations you may have had for me. A busy career and family sometimes got in the way. I can assure you that in retirement I intend to pursue my piping both as a hobby and hopefully to achieve more success as a solo competitor. I also intend to share the wealth of knowledge you bestowed upon me to others to help keep the Balmoral school of piping alive.
Thank you Jimmy for your friendship and for your support over the years.
With fond memories,
P.S. I wrote the above message just before you called this evening Jimmy. I am grateful to have spoken to you directly and want to reiterate how much both Ken and I appreciate your friendship , hospitality and years of dedicated teaching. We will do our best to ensure your music lives on.
P.S.S. Hello Jimmy, this is Ken adding to Amy’s note above. I am sorry that your health has been poor and that you feel that the end is near. Amy’s comments above describe my feelings as well. I have not forgotten that it was your teaching that placed Amy and I together for our life’s journey. I will also add, that one of the greatest joys of coming back to piping after being away from playing for so many years was to become reacquainted with both you and Joyce. In more recent years, in addition to you being my teacher and a great master of piping, you became a much dearer friend (this applies to you as well Joyce). Thank you for your teaching and your friendship. Ken
E. J. Jones
You have given your time, intelligence, passion, and kindness to me since I was 12 years old and have shown me a depth of music that I will carry with me all my life and hopefully pass along to others.
You have always pushed for excellence in your students and in the world; and your ability to discern while not being overly critical is something that has inspired me in many areas of life.
In recent years I have taken great pleasure in your company, and taken comfort in what a steady authority you have continued to be. One of the happiest times of the past year for me was the summer day in my yard with you and Joyce. You did a voiceover introduction for the Grandfather Mt Games with such warmth and humor and charm- I thought it was the best part of our whole event.
When people feel the strength and hope that the pipes give them, I feel it’s for a reason. They are hearing the voice of people like you.
What a character!? What a player!? What a scholar!? What a teacher!? The list goes on and on. Jimmy was not only a mentor to me for the last eleven years, he was one of my closest friends. A very generous and kind person that was all about trying to do best for piping and for the promotion and preservation of the playing of our ceól mòr.
It was always a real pleasure to play for Jimmy. He had the unique ability to make the dots on the page sing and pass that knowledge along to his students at every level. He also wouldn’t hesitate to give me a well deserved kick up the backside! In turn, he would always play a tune or two for me on the pipes… the last time I heard him play was in May 2020… he was 94 (a month shy of 95) and picked a wee small tune to play with Patrick Og! The music pouring out of him, his high G singing and what a crunluath!? (better than mine, and I was 60 years his junior!).
Just under a month ago, I had the pleasure of sharing my last visit with Carnegie Mellon graduate and good friend Nick Hudson. The 95 year old was still in good form and put the two of us through our paces. With COVID-19 restrictions, the visit itself was complicated with multiple negative tests required, but it was well worth it! We managed to play the maestro 16 tunes in the course of two days – 8 big tunes each. Jimmy sang and fingered along the entire way. A lasting memory will be me hitting a wrong note in line two of the taorluath doubling of the Unjust and the eye roll I got as a result. “Oh deary me!” Even at 95, his piobaireachd memory was razor sharp!
A real character; very quick witted. He regularly drank coffee until 5pm, followed by wine until bedtime (although it often was already “5 o’clock somewhere” with Jimmy). “Water’s for camels” was another common expression of his (resulting from a WW2 illness in Aden from drinking the water there – he would never drink water again!). Everywhere he went, he was the life of the party, even amongst young pipers 70, 80 or even 85 years his junior!
Another memory was at the Atlanta workshop a few years ago – many of the piping and drumming greats were in attendance as instructors. For the instructor concert on the Saturday night, already in his 90’s… he wasn’t at all shy of performing. He played Highland Wedding, Susan MacLeod and Mrs. MacPherson of Inveran along with me and Chris Apps (tunes were his suggestions!)… and when there was any suggestion that some instructors were too old to play (yes, Ken Eller and Richard Parkes) – he reminded us all that he was in his 90’s and if he was playing, they had zero excuse for not playing a tune… which they did and did tremendously well! His response was actually to play a full piobaireachd, ‘Lament for Alasdair Dearg MacDonnell of Glengarry,’ including a crunluath-a-mach! A lot of solo piping and pipe band stars of the modern era performed that evening… Jimmy the talking point as always, leaving the audience with a standing ovation!
Jimmy lived, ate, slept and breathed piobaireachd! Averaging 3-4 full piobaireachd on his old Lawrie or Robertson bagpipe each and every day, well into his mid-90’s, he must have come close to the individual that played the most piobaireachd in history! His teachings, inherited from P/M Bob Brown, P/M Bob Nicol (and earlier from P/M Willie Ross and P/M Donald MacLeod from his time in the Cameron Highlanders) will be passed down by the hundreds of pipers he has taught. He will be sorely missed by all that knew him, but his amazing legacy will live on.
We have lost one of our greats! Thoughts and prayers with his dear wife Joyce, sons Roddy and Cameron, daughters Margaret and Moira and all of his extended family, friends and hundreds of fellow students.
Most recent thoughts from Wife, Joyce.
"There are so many things I've wanted you to know, and here are my heartfelt thoughts at this moment."
Dear Family and Friends,
It has been awhile since I wrote to you. We hope you had a wonderful Holiday season, albeit a very different sort of celebration this year. Ours was very quiet, but we did manage to do a bit of low-key celebrating. I’m pretty sure no one was sorry to see the back end of 2020, but the first week of 2021 has certainly been a doozie! I suspect you may be wondering how things are going with Jimmy’s health. It is very difficult for me to write the following, so I will attempt to do so metaphorically.
It appears that Jimmy and I are coming to the close of a very long, captivating, and fascinating recital. Some of you knew Jimmy before I did, but many of you have known us since we began our relationship. That was the beginning of this very enthralling concert. There have been stirring marches, lilting strathspeys and driving reels. There have been laments dedicated to sad things that have happened along the way. But there have been hornpipes and jigs to celebrate the sensational happenings of the past 36+ years.
Some of you entered the concert 🎶 in the middle. Some of you, more towards the end. But all of you have observed the love and magic that has linked each segment together. When Jimmy gave a recital, no matter if it was 1/2 hour, or 2 hours long, the classical music of the bagpipe, the Piobaireachd, was always kept until last. A Piobaireachd has a Ground, which sets the theme, and not at all unlike a symphony orchestra’s presentation, there are different movements, built upon the theme, which are called variations. Each Piobaireachd represents a life happening and this ancient music was used to communicate many of those happenings to neighbors near and far.
During this concert of our lives together, there have been Piobaireachds of every ilk. Together, we have been through the Battles, the Salutes, the Births, the Laments, and the Big and Wee Sprees. Those of you who know us well, are very aware of the love and mutual respect that has carried us through all of these captivating scenarios. But now, we are evidently playing our final piobaireachd together. Piobaireachd actually brought us together--specifically on February 14, 1981, at the now defunct Delco Workshop in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, when I was formally introduced to this art form for the first time during the day of classes by none other than the Master—Jimmy McIntosh. How clearly both of us can remember that evening, when we spoke for the first time during the Ceilidh. There have been many piobaireachds learned and played since that date, with so much education, both musical and life-influencing, absorbed since then. It is fitting then, that we now play through this last 'chune' together, variation by variation.
Oh, we had a marvelous and vibrant Ground. The first variation and doubling were glorious. The next variations flowed on spectacularly. Then, after many intricate variations, the taorluath singling began. It showed ups and downs in its phrasing, and the light and dark shading became even more obvious. The taorluath doubling was a bit more labored than it should have been, as fatigue set in.
Alas, the crunluath variation began in 2017. Irregularities began to show up with a breakdown in execution, though the expression remained true. The rhythm became slightly unsteady. The tune continued on, nevertheless, despite a few slips and chokes, though that expression was ever present. Then the crunluath doubling began. Weaknesses showed through more clearly in the execution, though the musical expression valiantly remained. As the variation moved on, the clarity of execution and some of the expression waned.
Now, we are entering the crunluath-a-mach, ‘a-Mach’ literally meaning ‘exit’. Let’s all remember the spectacular fingering we heard from Jimmy in those crunluath-a-mach movements of years gone by. To me, there is no greater Master of Piobaireachd than the one I have lived with and loved for the past 40 years. For now, the music continues, but when that final note is played, and the magical bagpipe is silent, we will still hear his singing and playing, and it will remain internalized in our hearts.
His knowledge and love of our great music will live on in each of his students. But he was far more than a teacher. Jimmy has been a friend, mentor, father-figure, grandfather-figure, role model, sage and savant. He always had a vision for the future of piping. He is leaving us such a rich legacy. It is up to us to carry on whatever we have learned from this amazing human being. I’m sure you will join with me in feeling grateful to have known Jimmy McIntosh, MBE.
Below, are thoughts and well wishes that were sent to Jimmy a few years back as he was surprised with a Christmas Gift in the form of these messages and videos and photos. Enjoy again!
First, I would like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!
Believe it or not, 2018 will mark 40 years since we first met. I am sure you remember that "uncivilized" piping and dancing school. The dry toilets, the vegetarian cook, using shoes for a pillow.
That fateful meeting marked a turning point for my piping goals. I was just about ready to pack it all in. Although I had been piping for 16 years, I never had a true understanding of the music. My previous advanced instructors never really encouraged me and since I was living in Atlanta, I was pretty much alone with no direction.
After meeting you, all of that changed. I never imagined the possibility of competing in Scotland. But you told me about your establishing a Silver Medal competition at Oban and Inverness. Most importantly, you encouraged me to consider going over.
This led to the establishment of the FIRST, ORIGINAL Balmoral School at Guilford College in 1979. I was so excited about your style of playing and teaching, I encouraged many of my piping friends to come to the school. Those beginning year students included Mike Cusack, Peter Kent, Mike Rogers, Amy Garson and many others. All were impressed with your teaching methods and many went on to win major prizes in Scotland.
Your decision to permanently move to the United States in 1981 was most likely the single most important thing to happen to American piping in my lifetime. I would venture to say one could argue your moving to the States was more likely the single most significant event in American piping history, period.
In closing, I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, how deeply appreciative I am of your interest in me personally as well as your desire to raise the standard of piping in the United States. I am so honored that Joyce asked me to contribute to this unique Christmas remembrance. That honor is second only to the honor of being your best man.
You have brought high credit to your teachers, "the Bobs of Balmoral", as well as the piping world in general. Thank you for the huge influence you have had on my life.
Jimmy: Sally and I hope you have the best Christmas ever! I write this as my Christmas gift to you. Although it is totally inadequate considering what you have given me over the past four years--the gift of piobaireachd and a lot more. Sandy got me started almost 60 years ago and you helped me improve on Sandy's solid foundation. When I first asked for your help, you were welcoming. You have always been patient and kind--always making yourself available when I needed help. You have taught me the finer aspects of piobaireachd, giving me a great appreciation for the music and a personal sense of fulfillment in singing, listening, playing and recording. After not playing for over 33 years, you have taken me on a great journey where I could barely get through Catherine's Lament when we started, to playing Lament for Donald Dughal MacKay, Lord Lovat's Lament and Lament for the Children, among others, reasonably well, with an occasional "excellent". Your efforts on my behalf are greatly appreciated. At 71, you have motivated me to keep playing. It was truly inspirational to hear you play a few years back at the Atlanta Workshop, to hear your more recent recording of Lament for the Children and to see the photo of you playing recently in the living room with Skye at your feet. You make a difference in people's lives through your music. Sally and I enjoy your friendship--our visits to Anderson, dinners out, watching music videos on You Tube while have a good glass of red wine, the Beaufort carriage ride and the McIntosh Book Store. Thanks, Jimmy, for your gift of music, your friendship and for just being who you are. Best wishes to you, Joyce, Cameron and Skye.
Bob and Sally Stinson
Hope the messages and love shown to you represents the impact you have had on all of our lives .
Thank you for all you have done for me
Wishing you the best of health and happiness
Thank you so much for being a wonderful teacher. It was such a privilege to learn from you and play in your band. You lifted everyone around you, and are an inspiration to so many!
All my best,
I remember hearing you first in 1976 at Oban. Your playing stood out from the crowd by a mile. I remember thinking "I want to play like that". I never have, but not from lack of trying! My whole life since then has been informed by your teaching, mentoring, and friendship. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful direction my life has taken since I first heard you play.
Love and best wishes,
Everyone has someone in their life that has made an impact on who they are, whether it is a parent, coach, sibling, or teacher. I was lucky; I had you Jimmy McIntosh! You made an impact on me more than you know. You opened my eyes to the world of piping and understanding the importance of the History of bagpipes. You had the patience to explain things to me sometimes many times and allowed me to follow my dreams of piping and playing solo. Your guidance is the reason I was able to win prizes. You gave me the confidence to be part of something that was much bigger than I. For that I am very thankful.
Learning music theory was tough for me since I am a musician by ear. Tuning and tone was my strength. But you made it easier. You made going to practice worthwhile. I loved the discussions we had about what you have done in life and the history of the bagpipe. Thank you for seeing potential in me and in my piping.
Thank you for showing me how great piping is and how important it is to keep it alive. Thank you for broadening my horizon in more than just piping. I learned to have a passion for Scottish history as well because of you. Thank you for taking the extra time to make sure I felt comfortable asking you for help and giving that help when I asked.
Thank you for taking an interest in me and caring about the things I was passionate about. Thank you for sharing your piping stories. Because of you I gained a greater understanding of James Robertson brand of pipes from Edinburgh in detail because that was the instrument that I purchased for my solos. These Robertson bagpipes that I own belonged to your first pipe major as a youth in Dundee Scotland Charlie Buick. This instrument was refurbished in 1998 by John Weston of Stirling Scotland. I still treasure and own this instrument today.
Thank you for pushing me. Thank you for showing me that it is okay to have different beliefs than those around me and to not shy away from them just because others might not think the same. I want to thank your father for making you choose a musical instrument and because of that you have impacted the piping world with your contributions we have benefited immensely by your talent. You have been a great example to me as a teacher and friend!
I HAD to write something from the heart for Jimmy - as President of The St. Andrew's Society of Pittsburgh, which Jimmy helped found in 1990.
I've spent a lot of time trying to preserve and promote Scottish traditions in the Pittsburgh area, and cannot overemphasize how much Jimmy has meant! When he came over, piping took off in Pittsburgh. Many months ago I received an "Auld Year's Nicht" program from an antique bookstore in Edinburgh - fell out of an old book and they sent it to me. Did some research, and Pittsburgh had the oldest piping society in US - back in the 1800s. It fell into decline - lack of interest - loss of standards. When Jimmy came over and started the Balmoral Pipe Band - bringing his invaluable knowledge and expertise gathered among others from "the Bob's of Balmoral", things began to take off - and get back to the Scottish traditions Jimmy grew up with.
Jimmy's focus on the art and the practice of piping engendered a whole bevvy of young pipers who are spread across America and the world. It was Jimmy's love of youth and their interest in working to perfect their art that sticks in my mind. With Jimmy it was always about the student.
Jimmy, your legacy will live on in your tireless quest for perfection - and in the love you've always demonstrated for the art of the piper. Bless you - and thank you, Paul Thompson, The St. Andrew's Society of Pittsburgh
Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous new year.
I must say you are an inspiration to me. When I hang up the phone after our wee blether and remembering some of our good times in the army, I am always charged up for another few weeks and our next blether.
As relative newcomers to your long list of friends and acquaintances and never being under your Bagpipe tutelage, we will speak as neighbors and friends.
It certainly has been an adventure since the McIntoshes moved to Anderson. Never a dull moment!
You never cease to amaze.
It has been fun to meet your students and followers. You are the consummate educator as evidenced in the willingness of your students to travel from all over the globe for your instruction. The many awards of your students speak to that, as well. You have touched the lives of everyone you have met. Always a gentleman and always a loyal Scot!
We cherish your friendship and look forward to many more adventures. We love you!
Bill, Lynn and all the Weans
Since I know you,and since I knew both of you,sorry the 3 of you , there has been many sincere Merry Xmas and New Years because of your care attention and great piping help and participation to me and my wee country: BRITTANY.Far ago,when I met you Jim, playing these wonderful pieces of CEOL MOR,you have drifted me into this musical path. My recognition to have allowed me to do that and carry on with my pupils is and will be eternal on Earth and elsewhere in the Piping Galaxies! I hope I have not betrayed the mission you gave me and that I always have deserved to respect.So enjoyed as much as possible your going coming Time, singing and playing your nice tunes.
Jakez Anna Pincet in Brittany
I hope this finds you well!
I just wanted to say how thankful I am to be your friend and how much I appreciate the gift of piobaireachd you gave me!
My regret is that I didn't do it sooner but I'm trying to make the most of it.
Also the formation of the Balmoral Highlanders was probably the most fulfilling band I've played in not to mention the close friendship I have with John and Ryan. That wouldn't exist without you and I am truly grateful!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Jimmy!!!!! All the best!
I cannot do all the fancy video stuff, but I wanted to include my two cents! I first met Jimmy when he and Joyce toured Christ Lutheran to see if it could be a "good fit" for "Cammy". I could tell that they were very concerned about finding a great place for the education of their son. They asked a lot of questions and, Joyce, as an educator, knew just what to expect. It turns out that they registered Cameron and we became fast friends. I was always happy to see and interact with this family, and they became firm supporters of my school. I tutored Cam after school for a few years, and the family became very special to me. I was so sorry to hear that they would be moving to S.C. I live vicariously through their travels and enjoy their pictures. I look forward to the pictures and their travels. I also love when Joyce and I share a visit. Most of all, I am Mesmerized by Jimmy's accent! So charming! Love to all!
The Stephenson Clan wishes you a Merriest Christmas and a healthy happy 2018!
We think of you and Joyce always and enjoy reminiscing about times we have shared:
· Thursday evening band practices and a gaggle of youth learning to play in unison.
· Long car trips to garden spots like Bridgeport WV, Fair Hill MD, and Wellington OH with family and friends, and who can forget Canada??
· Sitting in your basement listening to Ryan pound out a tune while you provide input seemingly out of the blue.
· Cups of joe on early dewy mornings while pipes are being tuned.
· Laughs around a table at the Olive Garden with the gang.
· A wee glass or two of merlot in Paris or elsewhere!
Most of all, we remember your smile and warm heart knowing we’ve been blessed to count you and Joyce as our special friends!
The reason the rear view mirror is small compared to the windshield is because the past is nowhere nearly as important as the present and the future. You have been an inspiration in that way - you have continued in "retirement" to live to the fullest, give back to the community of arts that you care so deeply for and always be there for friends and family.
All of our love and hope we see you soon!
Hi Jimmy! Christmas greetings from Maryland. Just wanted to say how glad we are to have met you and Joyce while we were living in Pittsburgh! We are so impressed by your amazing career and when you agreed to speak at Career Day, that certainly added a new dimension to your talents!! Just think how many children had never seen or heard a bagpiper! That was truly a gift to me and to the children! We also love the fact that you were the piper for CMU when Nick worked and where my son went to school. Enjoy the Christmas holiday and we wish we lived closer so we could hear your amazing bagpiping skills.
Love, Dottie and Nick Gaudioso
Hi and Merry Christmas Jimmy!
You have been such an inspiring figure in my life. You have taught me how to
continue to improve not only bagpiping skills but also life skills. Among my most
impressionable years, I learned from you every Tuesday and Thursday and each
time you were as happy as could be. No matter how unprepared I was you always
kept a positive face and listened to whatever I presented. You always told me to
keep practicing and moving forward. You taught me to never give up on learning, as
I was always impressed by your ability to keep up on technologies anywhere from
the CD recorder to an iPhone. You are a phenomenal mentor, teacher and friend. I
could always count on you. I will always be impressed and envious of your exciting
vacations from helicoptering around volcanoes to snorkeling in the oceans but I will
always remember to enjoy a nice merlot.
Merry Christmas Jimmy!
Happy Christmas Jimmy and many more of them. Your contribution to piobaireachd, its understanding and teaching will be a lasting legacy for piping for many, many years to come. You are a real link with the past, part of the travelling stream of our great ceol mor tradition. All the very best to you and Joyce; keep the red wine and the tunes flowing.
Here’s to 2018!
Rob Wallace, Glasgow, Scotland.
Frank was well aware of your reputation in the piping world but the first I had heard of
Jimmy McIntosh was when you phoned our house (Ballygowan, N.Ireland). Andrew at the age of 16 had won a competition in Scotland and the prize was 2 weeks at Balmoral summer school, Pittsburgh arranged by yourself. The 2 weeks were separated by a week so obviously I was unsure how this would work out?
You phoned our house and reassured me Andrew would be well looked after, from arranging for him to be picked up at the airport to staying with the Blair family the middle week. This was a magnificent thing to do. When I think of you Jimmy it is with a heart full of gratitude.
When Andrew was appointed Director of Piping at Carnegie Mellon University in 2010, it was Joyce and yourself who looked out for him, Joyce even sourcing the apartment he lives in.
We met you, Joyce and Cameron eventually on our first visit to Pittsburgh in April 2011 . We were treated like royalty taken around and shown the sights and then welcomed into your home.
We had the pleasure of visiting you all in your new home in Anderson where we had a wonderful day. Jimmy, you made us feel so relaxed and welcome.
Frank of course had the pleasure of seeing you honoured as Chieftain of the day at the Virginia
Military tattoo in April 2017. When the citation was read out the crowd were stunned at your many achievements including your WW2 contribution.
We hope you a have a very happy Christmas and every good wish for 2018
Love from Frank, Susan & Emma
Merry Christmas! I have no hope of being able to sum up with words all you have taught me and done for me, but I just wanted to say thank you. You are so generous with your talents, and your instruction has shaped my playing of both piobaireachd and light music in a lasting way. I feel very fortunate that, of all places, you picked upstate South Carolina to move to, and I miss our lessons more than anything else from South Carolina (apart from my mom, of course)!
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It's taken me a long time to get around to writing this, not because i have nothing to say but because when i think about Jimmy my heart is so full that i have trouble putting into words the amount of impact he has had on my life. When I first met Jimmy I was new to bagpiping but I knew I was incredibly excited about it. I loved the music and the instrument and wanted to master them both. What I found in Jimmy was a patient but exacting instructor and, perhaps more importantly, a wise and caring mentor. Band practice and my private lessons quickly became weekly highlights, and I found myself motivated to work harder on my playing than I had on anything else in my life up until that point. I have always tended to be good at the thing that I've tried, but from studying piobaireachd with Jimmy I learned what is necessary to go from being merely "good" to being excellent. The work ethic this cultivated in me is something that I will take with me to everything i do in life, musical or otherwise.
I am now an instructor myself, and though I'm teaching beekeeping rather than bagpiping I often find myself reflecting on the quiet but capable leadership Jimmy always demonstrated, the individualized care he took over each of his students, and the way his uncompromising standards always motivated me to work a little harder and play a little better. His legacy lives on not only in my playing - I will always be a bagpiper - but in my high personal standards for conduct and in the kind of teacher i try to be.
Parry Macdonald Kietzman
A Moladh Sheumais (In Praise of Jimmy!)
Merry Christmas, Jimmy!
I have learned much more than Piobaireachd from you.
You have shown me by example how to live an impactful life. All my visits to Anderson have been full of joy because of you and Joyce's love for each other and those around you.
I appreciate the tireless energy you spend, whether it's on projects around the house, staying fit with SilverSneakers, cementing your legacy of musical piping through your near constant teaching and recording to those of all different abilities, or playing full Piobaireachd on the pipes, daily, as a nonagenarian. I'm encouraged by the way that you celebrate the accomplishments of those you know and utilize their respective talents. The way that you almost adopt your students as children. The way that you fight for things that are right and important and aren't afraid to make enemies if you need to. And, of course, the way you've taught me to approach bagpipe music as an artist.
I hope to live a life as full, rich, and lasting as yours, but know I probably can't even get close! I am humbled and grateful.
I'll raise a glass of Merlot for you, Joyce, Cameron (and Skye!) this Christmas. Here's to a great year ahead.
All my very best,
I really regret that I've only really gotten to know you over the past few years, however I'd like for you to know that I am truly in awe of all of your contributions to the piping world, and only wish that circumstances had been so that I could have been closer to you and been able to have had a greater influence from you during my own career. You are a gentleman, and a scholar, and I have truly enjoyed your company and the many laughs and stories over the past years at the North American Academy of PIping as well as a the Games and other meetings. I also appreciate your kind and encouraging words and support over the past years as a games organizer and representative of our Southern Branch to the Association. I'm glad that you are now one of "us" - a southerner! I wish you all the best and many more years of sharing your great company and knowledge with so many of us who are interested in learning. You are a good man, and I salute you for all that you are and all that you do.
Rachel, Rachel’s family, Ada, and I send our warmest greetings for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Ada and I drove up to Rachel’s house at Half Moon Bay yesterday, and I hoped we might make a short video to send you for Christmas. But her children, Jasmine and Sydney, were at dance practice until almost 10 PM last night, they were off to school this morning, and Rachel left for work at Facebook, so we could not get everyone together for a video. Nevertheless, all of us want to let you know that we are thinking of you, Joyce, and Cameron during this holiday season, and we look forward to when we might get together again. (Time for another trip to California, perhaps?)
We all hope you all enjoy this holiday season and continue your adventures into 2018!
With best regards,
I think I was 11 years old when Joyce brought Jimmy to my house to give me my first piobaireached lesson. I was so nervous that I wanted to hide under the table when he insisted I sing Glengarry’s Lament. After Jimmy moved to Pittsburgh to be with Joyce, he became an enormous part of my life. There were weekly lessons, piping schools, travel to competitions, family dinners, a summer job in the workshop, and time at the cabin our families shared in Ligonier. Jimmy and Joyce became family to me, and I was lucky to have their love, support and instruction.
Jimmy never failed to challenge me. He gave me difficult music, and a lot of it, and his expectations were always high. I remember getting used to the feeling of being overwhelmed by the task ahead, and then learning how to rise to meet it (sometimes with help on the side from Joyce). I gained a tremendous amount of confidence in my ability to learn just about anything, assuming I was willing to work hard enough. I will never forget the quote pinned to the wall in the workshop, “Nothing in the world takes the place of persistence...”
My years with Jimmy made me a better musician, certainly, but also a better person. I am grateful for the lessons (in piping and in life) that I received, and also for the love and laughter shared between our families over the years. Thanks for being such a huge influence on me. I love you and wish you a very merry Christmas.
Kate Melenyzer McNear
Words can't express very well the extent to which Jimmy McIntosh has influenced my life. As a young teenager, I attended the Balmoral School with my bagpipe band. It was there that Jimmy's piobaireachd instruction opened up a new world for me. I had always loved the sound of the pipes, but his music spoke to me in a unique way. The opportunity to study with Jimmy drew me back for three more years of summer school and then four years of university. Much later on, I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to reconnect with Jimmy as a mature adult and continue my studies.
I have thought a lot over the past weeks about how to express the depth of gratitude for all that Jimmy has shared with me. Our shared love for piobaireachd runs like a silver thread through the last thirty-two years of my life. Without him, I would be a different person. Jimmy, you have been my teacher, my mentor, and my friend. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Dear Jacobus –
What a nice forum to wish you well and to highlight some ways that you have touched the lives of my family and me personally!
Clearly Jimmy, we have become quite close but when Ian and I joined your band in 2002 we knew nothing about either pipe bands or the McIntoshes. Over the following couple years all five McLeods had become drummers and donned the Isle of Skye band kilt. The vibe of the organization felt right – it was welcoming and comfortable. It was a place that newbies could learn and improve in their musical ability and could develop character through the self-discipline required to achieve expectations. There was an expectation that we would come to rehearsal and work hard to improve as a band. To accomplish that it was expected that we would improve on our own by practicing between rehearsals. The band was started and always continued to operate as a place primarily for young people to learn their instrument and perform as an ensemble at a high performance level. This can be achieved only through strong and thoughtful leadership and I have observed in you the embodiment of a skilled leader in so many ways.
· As a teacher of the bagpipes you have a definite set of expectations and a standard for the student to achieve. Those standards are challenging yet achievable for the level of that particular student or group. Then, you hold us to the standard.
· You continually think forward and make plans to change things for the better. I’ve seen this in context of the band, for individual soloists, and for individuals in other aspects of their lives outside of piping and music.
· You take action on the plans for improvement. Sometimes those necessary actions haven’t been easy to decide or easy to implement; some have been downright uncomfortable. But they were necessary for the good of the organization or for the good of an individual and you took action.
· You conduct yourself with dignity and act as a role model to others (not just to kids, but to all of us). We can see you when things are going well and we can see you when times are more challenging. To an outsider it can be difficult to know the difference as you continue to hold to your values and avoid over-reacting during those challenging times.
· You focus – and ask the rest of us to focus – on what you can control; not on what you can’t control. Perhaps the most public context of this is when band and solo instruction is geared to giving the best possible performance rather than achieving a win. I’ve seen more private examples as well.
· You’re compassionate to and for others. I’m aware of situations where you have gone to great lengths to provide assistance (advisory, financial, motivational) to others; much of it confidential and behind-the-scenes.
· You are loving. I can’t think of a marriage that is more mutually loving, kind and respectful than yours and Joyce’s. It’s a model.
So, as I review our past and list the above examples of values and leadership it strikes me that some of those observations were available for all to notice and some I have picked up through our more private times together. Regardless, we all benefit from your influence. I know that my family and I have talked about many of these concepts over the years and we can’t help but being better for having you in our lives. It is with much love and admiration that I wish you a very merry Christmas and I can’t wait until our next time together.
Silver Spring, Maryland
I was so pleased when Joyce mentioned that she was working on this wonderful Christmas surprise for you, and an opportunity for your many friends to let you know what a positive impact you have had on so many lives.
Its amazing how one little thing can affect so many more events later in life. I honestly believe I would not have the life I do now, the family I do now, if it was not for having met and become a student and friend of yours.I often reflect how the things I hold most dear in my life are largely a result of my love for piping. For example, I wouldn't have met Margaret or have the joy of knowing my three children if it had not been for piping, because it was through a pipe band that we first met.
And there have been many other memorable experiences, all because of piping.
I doubt 1 would have seen degree of success that created these opportunities if I had not met you back in the early 1980's at the Balmoral School -1 think we first met the year it was held at Old Dominion University, though I much preferred the years when it was at Guilford College in North Carolina. I have fond memories of those years.
I also have fond memories of the many treks I made to Pittsburgh and McHenry, both for the winter workshops you had at CMU, and for the "day trips" I made to go over tunes with you in preparation for various competitions. There are a lot of good memories there - both the tunes, and the fellowship at the weekend workshops was a real Joy.
1 still remember a group dinner on the Saturday when we all went out for sushi and ordered a huge "sushi boat!"
One lesson in your basement in Pittsburgh sticks in my mind. We were discussing the potential for me to compete successfully in Scotland, and your advice to me has stuck with me to this day - "You have to be single-minded about it." Simple, yet great advice, that rings true still, in piping as well as any other worthwhile pursuit.
Your creativity, innovative thinking, and willingness to always try something new is quite inspirational, and reminds me in many ways of my own father, who is only a year apart from you in age. As I've aged myself and come to know more people, I've come to realize what rare traits these are.
You've been an amazing teacher, an inspiration, and a good friend for so many years, and I'm so grateful for that. The impact you've had on my life is profound, and I'm just one of hundreds of people whose lives have been influenced by the good fortune of you being part of it...
the impact is simply staggering!
My very best wishes to you, Joyce, and Cameron for a wonderful holiday season!
I don’t have words to express my feelings...Merry Christmas, dear friend!
There are three ways to learn about a person: by what he says, what others say about him, and what he does. Each method carries its own significance. Actions speak louder than words, but words may touch where actions cannot. And while one may control his words and actions, the words and actions of another stand testimony to his influence. This letter offers one such testimony. Few positions can claim the influence of the teacher, and even fewer teachers can claim the influence of Jimmy McIntosh.
My first encounter with Jimmy occurred only with his voice through an answering
machine. He called to introduce himself and offer his services as a teacher. The timing could not have been better as I had recently graduated from my first teacher and needed a new one. So, with surprise and confusion at the Scottish accent visiting the home of a fourteen year old boy in Greenwood, South Carolina, my mother returned the call. At the time, she and I were hoping simply for another teacher. She had previously spent nearly a year in search of my first,
and even then she drove nearly an hour there and back to meet him. We could not have imagined the credentials of the man we were set to meet or the magnitude of his love for teaching and the bagpipes. And while this brief act of communication may seem inconsequential, and certainly did at the time, as I have reflected on it several times, this moment was more than the beginning of a relationship; it was the beginning of a journey. As such, this moment finds its place among my fondest memories.
But perhaps the most telling example I can provide comes from observing his lessons.That Jimmy expresses a passion for the bagpipe and its culture need not be stated; this is obvious from a cursory glance at his achievements from being a pupil of Robert Brown and Robert Nicol, among others, to winning many top competitions in Scotland on multiple occasions. However, as great as his passion for the instrument may be, his passion for teaching is just as great, if not more so. Walking down the steps of his house for a lesson meant leaving behind a world of problems and deadlines, if just for an hour, and entering a world inhabited
only by music and the one who could channel it. During his lessons, Jimmy did not modestly sing, hum, or feel music. In fact, he couldn’t. He became music. Every pulse, embellishment, and melody fused into his movements as he instructed with eyes closed and arms flowing. His passion coupled with patience and encouragement nurtured a love not for what was on the page, but for the spirit of the music and the great highland bagpipe.
Countless further examples exist, but none can truly convey Jimmy’s depth of love for the instrument and his students so I shall conclude with this final sentiment: An inspiration to all bagpipers and to me, a reminder of how great we can be, always helping, always encouraging, always teaching, always living through the music – that is Jimmy McIntosh.
David and Michael McLeod
Jimmy...here are some video messages and assorted photos that well wishers have sent. Enjoy the spoken words and photo memories!
David McLeod and Mr. Mac at Loch Norman Games
I really appreciate you to open the door of the bagpipe world for me. Bagpipe gives me friends, opportunities and confidence.
I love bagpipes!
I wish all the best for you and your family.
I like Jimmy's playing and teaching a lot, I have been fortune enough to meet him and get to learn from him. He always been very nice to me and willing to answer my questions. He has done so much for piping, inspiration to many, truly a living legend. I attached photos of when first met Jimmy in Maxville highland games in 2009, also when Jimmy and Joyce were travelling in Beijing. And another photo of us after the wonderful piobaireachd event in Cancale.
Wish you and yours a merry Christmas!! Have a grand family time!
With best wishes
You've taught me since I was a boy and through those lessons I learned about a lot more than just playing the bagpipes.
From your example and the things you've said to me that have rolled around in my head for years, I learned to not just accept things the way they were but to make them better in lots of areas of life.
I learned to take things that I might have overlooked and find the song in normal things and I learned to be more gallant in my life and more of a fighter for making things better.
So I'm grateful to you. I'm grateful for your lessons and your teaching over the years, and I'm grateful for the fact that whenever I think of what I should do in a given moment, I think "How would Jimmy approach this situation" and it's a wonderful feeling to think and to feel that I have you with me.
So I hope you are having a good day. Merry Christmas and Thanks!!!
Maclean Macleod of Ullapool Composed by James McIntosh M.B.E.
Performed by Bruce Gandy at United States Piping Foundation(USPF) on June 21st. 2014 at University of Delaware, Louise & David
Roselle Center for the Arts. Newark, Delaware.
Murdoch Maclean "Mac" Macleod (1923-2013) founder of USPF in 1986 to promote musical excellence
among traditional performers on the Scottish Great Highland
Well, my dearest Jimmy.
By now, perhaps you have recovered from the
shock and surprise of your Christmas gift, and have enjoyed these many tributes
from so many of your friends and students! This has been MY best Christmas
gift, and it’s not even for me!! I wish I could even say I had the idea, but this was
the brainchild of the wonderful fellow who now lives at a very well known address
for most of the contributors: in Pittsburgh PA!! Rob has
been an absolute workhorse in putting this together for you! I’d like to personally
thank him from the bottom of both our Scottish hearts.
Jimmy, you’ve read and heard how you’ve had an impact on these folks’
lives, but I would venture to say that none has been quite as influenced, inspired,
nor blessed as mine has! That night when we spoke with each other for the first
time, all of those years ago in Valley Forge, PA, changed my life forever. I have
had the utter pleasure of living and growing with you by my side as my best
friend, my soulmate, and my love for the past 33 years as your wife. I would not
change a minute of it for anything in the world. I have had the best life and
marriage that anyone could wish for. Just a few of the little things I love about
You are patient with me. You encourage me to try new things. You are
not afraid to stand up for what is right—even when it may cause controversy.
You are ALWAYS thinking—of ways to improve just about anything! You are
willing to try new things. You are always reading—history, biographies, and
current events. If I have a question about what’s going on in the world, you can
usually give me the answer—in great detail! You even have a STAR in the sky
named after you, courtesy of your amazing children!!! You have an amazing
energy and work ethic. You never argue about money, and in fact sometimes
even encourage me to spend it! You don’t moan and groan about going
shopping, you always find something interesting to show me, and you never say,
“Is it time to go home yet?” You buy me beautiful jewelry. You treat me as
though you cherish me. I can trust you—with anything. You love to
travel—anywhere! You are my best friend. And did I mention you are very
patient with me?!
Your deep and true love for me has made me so much a better person.
I’ve learned so much about life from your example and guidance. I wouldn’t be
half the person I am without you. You’ve stood by me, brought joy to my life,
made dreams come true. You’ve held me up in tough times, and saw me
through them. You were my strength when I was weak, and you saw the best in
me. When I lost faith, you gave it back to me. You were always there for me.
How can I ever thank you for all of these things that you’ve given me?
Without a doubt you are the best thing that ever happened to me, and I
thank God everyday for you. Thank you for loving me!
All my love,