The Edinburgh Evening News, 23 July, 1945
From Our Turret Window
One of the most treasured letters in the possession of Mr. John Grant, lifelong student of pipe music, whose home is at 35 Groathill Avenue, Edinburgh, is one signed by Mrs. Roosevelt expressing thanks for the tune, “Salute to Franklin D. Roosevelt,” composed by Mr. Grant in honour of the late president “The manuscript,” writes Mrs. Roosevelt,” will be placed in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Library.” Mr. Grant has also received a letter from Downing Street conveying appreciation of the tune, “Salute to Winston S. Churchill.” Dedicating a bagpipe tune is an ancient Scottish custom which has become almost defunct, Mr. Grant told me. He is doing what he can to commemorate outstanding personalities and events in our history.
When a youth in the Elgin district, Mr. Grant was so keen to achieve proficiency with the pipes that for seven years he walked 22 miles twice a week to have tuition. His tutor was Ronald McKenzie, one-time pipe-major in the Seaforth Highlanders.
One thing of which Mr. Grant is proud is that his tutors can be traced right back to the famous MacCrimmons of Skye. During the last war he conducted, free of charge, eight classes for boys in Edinburgh, and derived much enjoyment from that pleasant task.
Having completed an instructional book dealing with every movement in bagpipe music, he is now employing his well-earned retirement in busy fashion, writing music and carrying through research so that much valuable lore shall not be lost.
“There is a great deal more in the pipes than meets the ear,” asserts this active, lithe veteran, who is delighted to find that American soldiers “love to march to the Highland pipes.”