After several years living in London, England, working as a regional sales manager for a major pharmaceutical company, Willie determined that economic conditions didn’t hold much promise and that better opportunities for him and his family lay elsewhere. With the encouragement of a friend living in Ontario, he relocated with his family in 1973 to London, Ontario and entered into partnership in an import / export business specializing in trade with the UK. Unfortunately, Willie’s initial assessment of the future for the British economy was correct which in turn had a deleterious affect on their business. In time Willie returned to pharmaceutical sales.
Upon arriving in Canada Willie had let his interest in piping wane, but it didn’t take long before knowledge of his arrival became known in the local piping community. He received an unexpected invitation to judge at an indoor contest in Toronto and from there was drawn back to his former interest. From this point, he focused his energy and attention on instructing and adjudicating. Upon reflection later in life, Willie conceded that had it not been for that invitation, he may not have returned to piping. A phone call that changed the course of his life.
Over the years, numerous pipers made their way to his door in pursuit of what he had to offer. Bob Worrall, Bruce Burt, Michael MacDonald, Matt Turnbull *, John Mackenzie *, Brad Davidson *, Greg Abbot * and Jacob Dicker all credit Willie with helping them gain a degree of mastery the internal structure of both light music and piobaireachd. To date, four have been awarded the Piobaireachd Society Gold Medal (Canada) *, among other prizes, for their performances of tunes taught to them by Willie.
In addition to his time devoted to individual instruction, and as a recognized expert and authority on the Cameron style, Willie traveled across North America teaching at workshops and sharing his insights into performance of the musical form and the style.
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