There is no doubt that the vibrant state of the piping world is due in large part to the generosity of its members. The offering of tuition; loans of music, instruments, reeds, and uniforms; constructive assessments of performances and compositions; and so much more, all go with the territory. In so many ways Willie Connell embodied and exemplified this generosity of spirit. As you have discovered on this site, he gave much and asked little in return. Upon learning that Willie's health was at last failing, I resolved to make a sincere effort to return the favour he had performed for me as a student of his for 3 years. A website as a tribute to his efforts and his memory seemed most fitting.
I'll readily admit that my efforts in creating this site would have been much less if it weren't for the enthusiasm and shared spirit brought to it by Jay Close. Willie often spoke to me of his travels to Virginia to instruct at a weekend Cameron workshop, and even in his latter days recalled how enthusiastically Jay had collected and recorded whatever Willie could give him. Without hesitation, upon learning of my intention to create this site, Jay volunteered virtually everything he had in his archives as his way of returning the favour he feels Willie had granted him.
For my part, Jay's archive of recordings and extensive knowledge of things related to Willie and to piping in general has been a tremendous asset, not to mention his enthusiasm for the project and his steadfastness in the face of the few challenges we've encountered.
Likewise, I would also like to recognize Jacob Dicker for providing what I hope is an initial recording of himself performing one of the tunes taught to him by Willie.
It is hoped that this tribute website will evolve over time as others who have been equally as fortunate in their associations with Willie come forward to contribute in their own ways. Wille gave as generously as he did for the simple reason that it was important to him that this knowledge be kept alive and passed on.
Post script: Much to my delight Ross McMahon of Winnipeg contacted me through this site in late 2011 offering to share recordings and manuscript notations he had received from Willie. I am grateful to him for his unsolicited generosity and support for this cause, and am pleased to have included them in the collection posted herein.
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