|2008 - John Connor|
"Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love." At just 8 years of age John Connor had discovered his vocation - the highland bagpipes! For he "eats bagpipes", "sleeps bagpipes", and "drinks ...well ...usually a pint of light!). And with this devotion has come an abundance of success.
Food for thought - Jonah Lomu was crowned World Rugby Champion once with New Zealand in 1995, Pele is a three times world cup winner with Brazil, Tiger Woods won the Masters four times - Peebles' John Connor has won the Pipeband World Championship five times with House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia...not forgetting an admirable 39 major titles and 9 consecutive Champion of Champions crowns since joining Shotts in 1992.
A true Gutterbluid, John was born in the War Memorial Hospital in 1957. He was educated at Halyrude and Kingsland Primary Schools, before attending Peebles High School. He took up the pipes during his primary school years, following in the footsteps and with guidance from his Father, John Connor (snr). And P/M Archie Euman.Innerleithen RBL was the first band John joined - under Pipe Major Robert Euman. From Innerleithen John came "home" for the first of two spells with Peebles Ex-servicemen's pipe band, . John then tried his hand in Grade 1 for two years, this time with Bilston Glen. After a short spell with Selkirk, John and his father spent 7 years with Grade 1 band, Woolmet and Danderhall.
Bagpipes were not the only thing going-on in John's life however, he also had a family to support. Following the birth of his daughter, Sarah in 1980 and son, Graham in 1984, John brought his piping closer to home - rejoining Peebles ex-servicemen's pipe band - this time under Pipe major Robert Veitch, During his second spell with Peebles, John saw the band promoted to Grade 2 and thereafter took up the mantle as Pipe Major.
Never one to stay with a band for "too long", three years down the line he was on the move again, this time to Lothian and Borders Firebrigade. But a desire to return to the top grade saw John join forces with PM David Barnes (presently PM with Lothian and Borders Police) at Polkemmet in 1990 - amove which provided his first real taste of pipe band success, being crowned Scottish and European champion and finishing second at the world championships. It was the first time Polkemmet had ever triumphed in a major competition and came in John's first year with the band. John had been noticed, and once again his pipe band career was about to move onward and upward. Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia beckoned - the most famous pipe band in Scotland, comprising of the biggest names in the circuit - Robert Mathieson (PM), Jim Kilpatrick (MBE), Within two years of John joining Shotts he won his first world title and the Lanarkshire band’s 10 year major title famine had come to an end. 14 years on, and John continues to make the 120 mile round trip, twice weekly to play alongside the world's finest pipers at Shotts, all the while bolstering his already impressive pipeband CV.
However for John Connor, the pipe band world has not all been about competing for trophies and titles on a rain soaked Saturday afternoon during the British summertime. It has also lured him to sunnier climes, and to corners of the globe he could never have imagined. St Andrew's Day celebrations in Sofia, 'Burns Nights in Kazakhstan, concerts in the Stade de France, Monaco, and the United States, as well as mixing with the rich and famous Catherine Zeta Jones, Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Frank Carson and Nookie Bear - no less!
John is fully certified with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) to advanced level in Music Theory and Practice, as well as being a RSPBA Instructor, presently tutoring with Musselburgh Boys Brigade and Prestonpans RBL.
Carrying on the family tradition, John's son Graham is currently enjoying a successful season with Torphichen and Bathgate Pipe Band with a Scottish and British Championship already under his belt.