The death has been reported in Victoria, British Columbia, of James Hardie son of the famous pipe major RG Hardie. James was 63.
Born in 1955 James, or Jimmy, followed his father into piping and was taught exclusively by him. He won all the juvenile and junior prizes available at that time. He was a very musical player with all his father’s devotion to phrasing and pointing coming through in the presentation of his music. I particularly remember Jimmy’s performance of the 2/4 Atholl Highlander’s March to Loch Katrine.
Around 1976 his father brought him to the 214BB company pipe band in the west end of Glasgow, travelling twice a week from their home in Bishopbriggs to this noted training ground for pipers and drummers.
Jim’s band playing developed there and when he left the Boys’ Brigade he joined his father’s band, Muirhead and Sons, by then unfortunately in its declining years.
James kept up the solo playing and embarked on a professional career. He had almost immediate success winning the first ever Silver Medal presented at the Northern Meeting by the Competing Pipers’ Association in 1979 (pictured top).
He subsequently competed for the Gold Medal, and at Inverness in 1980 many thought the medal was going to be his when he broke down in Corrienessan’s Salute.
However, thanks to his father’s astute guidance, he continued to enjoy a growing reputation as an interpreter of ceol mor. He travelled with his father to the Couer d’Alene Piping School in Idaho and there he built many friendships that were to remain throughout his life.
On leaving school Jim joined the family bagpipe making business before emigrating to Ontario where he planned to open a manufacturing workshop. This did not work out and he drifted to the west coast of Canada eventually giving up playing and his involvement in piping altogether.
However he remained friends with many in the piping and pipe band scene particularly in Canada. Condolences to his family at this time. RW