How many of you will be around at age 90? ... and even if you are, will you be able to entertain yourself with the occasional tune?...have the same energy as a man half your age?.... well, congratulations to Ken Thornton of Creemore, Ontario. He began the pipes at the age of 84 and fulfilled a life long ambition to join the RCMP by parading with them in Ottawa shortly afterwards. We, at the Ontario School of Piping had the privilege of assisting Ken along his journey and now watch with great pride as he celebrates his 90th b-day this weekend. As far as pipers go, Ken is a middle aged youngster... and watch for him celebrating his 100th, only a decade away.
Ken Thornton is living proof that age is only a figment of the imagination. Pipers are living longer and sustaining a high level of competence well into their senior years. The Grade 1 scene used to be for the younger set only. In my time, players looked to retirement from the big grade often in their 40's. But now, musical life doen't seem to begin until much later. Hell, I recall John Weatherstone, the Silver Fox, on the field with the Red Hackle...well into his 60's. Even today there are Grade 1 pipe majors in that age bracket and maturity doesn't seem to arrive till at least the early 50's - check out the PM's of the top bands in the world!...so there is hope for me yet....just might have to mount a comeback...thanks for the inspiration, Ken Thornton. In your honor, I think this evening I will hoist a few Creemore's.