This page is a memorial to the members of the organization who dedicated a great deal of time and love, and have passed on. They will forever play on in our hearts.
IN LOVING MEMORY
PIPE MAJOR DAVE TAYLOR
David E. Taylor, the Pipe Major of the Broome County Celtic Pipe and Drums (BCCP&D), died in a Scranton hospital on February 13th, 2006 after a prolonged stay. To his family, Dave was a loving husband to Phyllis, father of four and grandfather of five. To us, Dave was the “heart and soul” of our bagpipe band. Dave was our band’s pipe major.
While the drum major, dressed in the tall feather bonnet and carrying the silver-topped mace, struts his stuff when leading the band at parades, it is the pipe major who is in charge behind the scenes. It is the pipe major who chooses the band’s music, conducts practices and maintains the band’s high standards. Out of sight on parade day, the pipe major can be found endlessly tuning each player’s chanter and drones so that all sound alike. It can be a thankless job.
Under Dave Taylor’s leadership, Broome County’s original bagpipe band proudly marched in parades in New York City, Syracuse, Scranton, Philadelphia and Wildwood and lots of small towns (and pubs) in between. The BCCP&D took second place in its classification at the 2004 New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade-something that we attribute to Dave’s hard work with the band. All told, the band under Dave’s stewardship has played Scottish, Irish and American music before hundreds of thousands of cheering people at parades.
Dave learned to play the bagpipes in 1976. He played in a number of bands in New York before joining the BCCP&D. He joined our band in 1988 and became the pipe major that year.
As the pipe major, Dave made our band more professional. He demanded control over an ancient and fickle instrument. Unwanted chanter and drones noises were silenced so that we had “clean” starts and stops. Bagpipe songs, called “tunes”, were practiced over and over to so that muscle memory kicked in. Tunes were played at practice without sheet music so that we learned faster and without a crutch. From all appearances, Dave was as tough as a drill sergeant from his Army days.
Dave’s tough exterior did not fool his friends. You just had to know him. Whenever Dave barked, he never meant it. He would always apologize later, out of ear shot of others. Dave, “papa”, proudly showed off family, especially his infant granddaughter, at bagpipe events.
Dave was absolutely committed to the pipes and our band. Dave rarely missed a band practice or a job. Sometimes he arrived home late for his wife’s birthday (much to Phyllis’ chagrin) just so he could be with us and playing his beloved pipes. Dave would volunteer to play for any event, whether or not the band was going to be paid. He played at weddings, funerals and other special occasions. If needed to play at a firefighter’s funeral, no one had to ask Dave if he could make it. Dave Taylor would do anything for anyone.
It is believed that Dave Taylor’s last parade was the 2005 Binghamton Veteran’s Day Parade on November 11th. After the parade ended, Dave, a proud Army veteran, led the band in playing the Marine Corps Hymn for two former Marines from World War II and Korean War who were there to belatedly receive war decorations for past service. You should have seen the tears in the eyes of these grizzled warriors.
Although Pipe Major Dave Taylor’s pipes will play no more, we privileged few of the Broome County Celtic Pipes and Drums will remember a tough man with a big heart who spent the better part of his adult life selflessly helping others celebrate life, heritage and family through the gift of pipe music. We are better people and a band because of him. – PAUL SWEENEY
IN LOVING MEMORY OF CO-FOUNDING MEMBER
LINDA GRIFFIN CAHILL
Obituary: Linda Griffin Cahill, Endwell, wife of James N. Cahill, beloved sister, aunt and exuberant friend of many, died on February 16, 2013. Her death is sudden, unexpected and tragic for all who knew and loved her.
An accomplished pianist and organist, Griffin inherited her passion for music, particularly opera, from her mother, Madeline Santa Lucia, a Juilliard School-trained lyric soprano. Griffin grew up on the Santa Lucia family farm in Kirkwood, NY. As a little girl, she harvested hay and corn and rode her horse, Gussie. She gained her skill with animals from her beloved Aunt Eleanor. After graduating from The Crane School of Music SUNY Potsdam, Griffin began a long career in the Union Endicott School District, fostering a love of music in more than 1,000 pupils per year. In 1998 she was voted one of the Best Teachers in America by Who’s Who Among American Teachers.
Griffin’s fervor for music ranged far beyond the classroom. She was an ardent supporter of the New York Metropolitan Opera, Verdi, Puccini, Rossini, singers, conductors and an army of amateur friends and family whom she educated with tolerant enthusiasm. From her Italian mother Griffin acquired her talent for music; because of her Irish father, Neil Griffin, she fell in love with all things Irish. A self-taught bagpiper, three decades ago she and Douglas Arnott founded Broome County Pipes and Drums. It is impossible to count the many parades, weddings, funerals and fundraisers Griffin and the band piped through grief or celebration. Opera and music were but two of her passions.
Griffin loved animals and all animals loved her. On her own initiative, with her famous dog, Hugo, she created a therapeutic program that comforted the ill and disabled throughout Broome County.
Griffin is predeceased by her parents and her brother, Joseph Griffin. She is survived by her husband, Jim; her stepsons, Peter and Zachary Cahill; step grandchildren, Caitlin and Connor Cahill; brothers, Michael (Joan) Griffin, Windsor, Thomas Griffin, Kirkwood; sisters, Tonetta (Norman) Wallen and Patricia Griffin, Kirkwood; sisters-inlaw, Pat Griffin, Cathleen Barber, Margaret Cahill, Ellen McDonough, Mary Jane Salk; several nieces and nephews and grand nieces and nephews. Griffin will also be mourned by her thousands of former students; the Independent Mutual Aid Society, of which she was vice president; her fellow pipers, singers and musicians; neighborhood dogs, feeding songbirds and feral cats.
We will never forget the rowdy sing-alongs, the fearless cooking, the dinner parties, the hearty laughs, open door and open heart. Here’s to you, Griff. You always were and will be the life of every party.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF TENOR DRUMMER
Binghamton: Kathleen Sullivan Ames, 59, of Binghamton, died Sunday, May 4, 2014, at Wilson Memorial Regional Medical Center. She was predeceased by her father, John N. Sullivan. She is survived by her husband of 33 years, David G. Ames, Binghamton; her son, Timothy Ames and Gabrielle Percival, Binghamton; her mother, Mildred “Tommy” Sullivan, Vestal; her brothers and sisters, Patricia Sullivan and Howard Heilpurn, Loretta Sullivan and Kevin Lewis, Mary Jane Currid, John N. and Joanne Sullivan, Michael Sullivan, Daniel and Cara Sullivan; several nieces and nephews; mother-in-law, Dorothy Ames, Lisle; sister-in-law, Sheila and James VanDusen. She was a member of the Church of Saints John and Andrew, Binghamton. Kathy graduated from Seton High School, Endicott, and SUNY at Morrisville. She was a longtime member of the Broome County Celtic Pipe and Drum Band. Kathleen was an L.P.N. serving those of need in our community for nearly 40 years. A Funeral Mass will be offered at the Church of Saints John and Andrew, Vestal Ave., Binghamton, Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Burial will be in Lisle Village Cemetery, Lisle. The family will receive friends at the J.A. McCormack Sons Funeral Home, 141 Main St., Binghamton, Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in memory of Kathy may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, PO Box 50, Memphis, TN 38101-9929.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF BAGPIPER
DONALD M. RUMRILL
(1948 – 2016)
Published in Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin from July 18 to July 20, 2016