Pipe Major J. McWilliams composed by
Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE
Piper: Jack Lee
Blackthorn Set 1 - Flaming Bonnetslisten to more clips...
In this, the earliest known volume of The MacHugh Memoirs, the traumatized thirteen-year-old Rory MacHugh is taken captive by a band of Blackfoot. His tragic and strange life becomes even stranger as he matures into a Blackfoot Warrior — until the day he solves the tragic mystery that forces him to return to the whiteman’s world to seek vengeance.
Lieutenant Rory MacHugh, the British Army’s only Blackfoot Highlander, is about to depart the fortress of Almeida when one of the greatest man-made disasters in history turns him into a fugitive. Fate brings MacHugh together with a small band of fugitives, each with his own secret. Joined by a bewitching and mysterious Spanish widow, their perils increase until only three remain to take a vital role in the epic Battle of Bussaco.
Welcome to James L. (Jim) McWilliams’ website and to 2014! As you can see, I am a bit behind times. Sorry about that.
I will make up for my short-comings by letting Jack Lee, a friend and neighbour, reintroduce me by playing “Pipe Major Jim McWilliams”, a fine march composed by the wee man often described as the finest piper of the 20th Century, Pipe Major Donald MacLeod MBE. The tune was composed thirty years ago, but is only now being played regularly. It still appears under various versions of my name: P/M J McWilliams, Pipe Major McWilliams, P/M JL McWilliams or MacWilliams, etc. Jack Lee, on the other hand, has little trouble getting his name spelled correctly, possibly because he is one of today’s finest pipers, and also serves as Pipe Sergeant of one of the world’s finest pipe bands, Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.
As a further musical introduction I will let my friends, BLACKTHORN, carry on by playing a set of three of my compositions, “The Way Things Might Have Been”, “Flaming Bonnets”, and “The Portuguese Ceilildh”. I spent some of the happiest days of my life playing with this group of fine musicians and friends. Here you will hear me playing both the Great Highland Bagpipe and the Scottish Small Pipes (sometimes both at once -- a modern technological miracle). The recordings were made a year ago before I was forced to surrender to ill health.
The last two years have been a bit traumatic for me, but things are settling down now, and life is providing me with some unfinished literary work from years past. Consequently I am back into writing again as a member of the Canadian Authors Association
But back to 2014! My plans for this summer are admittedly vague and already behind schedule. Joan has been invited to several interesting sites to judge Highland Dancing, and I have already tagged along to one in Saskatoon. There in mid-May we spent a long weekend with my son, Dr. Lachlan McWilliams, and his family, plus visiting two room-mates from my University days, Lloyd Widenmaier and Dr. Dave Keegan.
But enough about me. I hear some of you calling, “What about Rory MacHugh?"
A good thing you asked! Young Rory left Rupertsland for London early in 1798 to pursue his VISION as partially revealed to him during his Sun-Dance with Sun Bull’s band of Blackfoot. Upon his arrival in London things did not go that well, but Rory did eventually get to see a lot of the world, and meet the man who was to become the Evil Presence for most of his and Europe’s life -- General Napoleon Bonaparte.
However, one thing did go well for Rory. I entered the first few pages of the second of Rory’s Memoirs, now titled A SECRET OF THE SPHINX in the 2012 Canadian Authors Association contest and it was awarded First Prize, as “Welcome to London”. You can sample this in NEWS.
A SECRET OF THE SPHINX will appear in both paperback and E-book forms this summer, so keep in touch and I promise to do better at keeping this site more up to date than I have been doing.
Assuming that all goes well, THE MacHUGH MEMOIRS’ third book chronologically, THE ASSASSINS, will appear sometime later this year. I know these are a lot of promises by someone who has been stumbling along a year behind times for the last few years, but I promise to give it my best, and I beg you to back me up as best you can.
Now it’s back to work for me, and hopefully, back to the joys of reading or writing or music or exploring or even loafing for you. ENJOY!
31 May, 2014.