A Tribute to
Harold C. “Buck” Hampshire was one of the original members of the Fort Wayne Scottish Pipes & Drums, joining the band as a potential piper at its formation in 1986. As with most of the original pipers, Buck did not play the bagpipes at that time and had no prior experience with bagpipes. He, and many of the rest of us, were taught to play by band founder and first Pipe Major Frank Alderson. Buck went on to be an integral part of the FWS&D piping corps, playing with the band for the next 30 years, well into his 80’s, finally having to give up active participation around 2017 due to advancing age and encroaching infirmity. (The bagpipe is a difficult instrument to play and is physically demanding.)
Throughout his playing career, Buck was one of our most dedicated and faithful members. He seldom missed a practice and was almost always a participant in our engagements, from competitions, to festivals, to parades, to private parties, etc. We always knew, that when something came up for the band to do, Buck would be there.
Early in his career, Buck took up “kitchen piping”, a term used in the piping community to denote playing non-traditional tunes such as “Happy Birthday” and nursery rhyme tunes. He did this strictly on his own and for his own enjoyment, as the band does not play these sorts of tunes. Early on, he drove our first Pipe Major nuts, who, being a strict traditionalist, did not feel that such material was suitable for bagpipes. Buck didn’t care; he went right ahead and turned out to be a big hit with the kids present at our various outings.
Another thing that Buck liked to do outside of his band activities was to play his pipes outside of his home. Over the years, many people have told various ones of us how they enjoyed seeing and hearing him play up and down the streets of Kendallville (where he lived for much of his time with the band). While this might not have attracted much attention in Glascow or Edinburgh, it was quite something in Kendallville, Indiana, USA! Buck really enjoyed playing and took every opportunity to do so.
Sadly, Buck passed away last year (June, 2018) at age 85. Those of us who knew him for all those years will never forget his humor, his friendliness, and his dedication and hard work in connection with FWSP&D. He certainly played a major role in the success which the band has enjoyed over the years. Rest in Peace Buck. We miss you!