Pat Taylor sent us this tribute to LBPS member John MacKay

T he Lowland Borders & Pipers’ Society & I lost a good friend with the death of John MacKay on March 20, 2015 in his 66th year.   Longer & short medical conditions piled up over a short time.
John had played the Highland pipes since he was a kid, but after his youth he was not in a band. He played several instruments, & it was because he wanted to learn fiddle that he came to me, in 2006, as I was both a piper & a recent student of Cape Breton fiddling.  After about three years he was at least equal to me, so no more lessons.  
A year or two earlier John had got a combo set of small pipes from Richard & Anita Evans, & we began playing duets, inspired by the LBPS duet book. We also experimented with John on the fiddle & me on small pipes.  Later, using in his small pipes a Ross Border chanter I had, we extended our range.  Pleased with our efforts we decided in 2010 to enter the LBPS competitions that April.
John was the only entrant in the Intermediate Class, but was judged worthy of the trophy donated for this class by Julian Goodacre.  While staying in Edinburgh with the sister of a neighbour at home, I found a guitar & got it tuned up.  John’s son, Neil, tried to rent one, but had to settle for that one, & with it he & John won 3rd in the pipes & other instrument class.  John & I entered for the small pipes duet, but started the variations over.  And I had note errors in the Open Border Pipe.  It was great hearing the playing & meeting so many people we’d heard of.
John, with Angus Sinclair, a church organist, made a CD, he on the Highland pipes, & Angus on piano, organ & accordion.   He also frequently played for weddings & funerals.  On one occasion when a team of Scottish country dancers were to show the dance, “The Piper & the Penguin”, at a ceilidh I made a tune & played while John accompanied me on a guitar.
I shall miss him, as on Tuesday afternoons we studied piobaireachd, & Thursdays we played Lowland pipes, or pipes & fiddle.  Latterly we were picking out tunes from the Massif Central book of tunes.
John was much involved in society.  He had been 35 years a medical laboratory technologist, & a mentor to younger technologists.  He was a Mason.  In recent years he was an elder at Metropolitan United Church with music as his remit. At his funeral easily 250 were present.  Angus & I each played as did son Neil, & some others. It was a celebration, an expression of gratitude to God for a life well lived. He leaves behind his wife Chris, & his sons, Kyle & Neil, & many friends.

Pat Taylor