Ronnie McShannon to retire from Pipe Dreams

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Having been at the forefront of Pipe Dreams (the manufacturers of Ezeedrone reeds) for almost three decades, Ronnie McShannon has decided that the time is right to pass on the baton and he will be retiring as a director on 31st July 2024.

Pipe Dreams was formed by Tommy Johnston and Ronnie McShannon in March 1997.

They had been great friends for many years, playing together in the Pipes & Drums of British Caledonian Airways, and later the Scottish Power Pipe Band, where Tommy was a drummer and Ronnie a piper.   

Tommy’s comprehensive engineering skills and knowledge were instrumental in developing the Ezeedrone reeds and with Ronnie’s reputation for setting up pipes and producing a first-class sound, they became the ideal partnership.

Now the business will be carried forward by Tommy’s son, Finlay who will be joined by Major Gordon Rowan MBE (recently retired from the position of Director of the Army School of Bagpipe Music & Highland Drumming) who will become a director on 1st August 2024.

Ronnie said: “Pipe Dreams would never have existed had it not been for my dear friend and original business partner, the late Tommy Johnston (Finlay’s dad) who was, unfortunately, taken from us far too soon in July 2020.  We had a blast setting up and growing the business together for over twenty years and my thanks are due to Tommy for his skills, friendship and support throughout that time.

“I’d also like to acknowledge all members of our staff, past and present. We have been extremely fortunate to have had many exceptional individuals on our payroll and I thank them all for their efforts and dedication.

“A huge thanks is also due to all of our customers for their patronage over the years.  Without their loyalty and support we could not have made Pipe Dreams the success it has become.

“Change is inevitable though and I now feel the time is right to step back.  I’m sure Tommy would be delighted that Finlay will continue to manage the business and that he will be joined by Gordon Rowan.

“Between them, they have vast experience in the piping world and I take particular pride in both Finlay’s and Gordon’s achievements, having been heavily involved in their piping tuition over a long number of years.  I wish them every success in this new chapter.“

•Early years of Pipe Dreams at 1129 Argyle Street – Tommy Johnston, Ronnie McShannon, Niall Stewart & Ian Munro.

Finlay Johnston said: “It’s difficult to find the appropriate words to thank Ronnie for everything he has done for Pipe Dreams, my family, and for me personally. He was the very best friend to my late father, Tommy. They made a great team and their mutual respect, hard work ethic and tireless pursuit for quality has helped steer Pipe Dreams in the steady direction it has maintained over the last 27 years. 

“I’ve been very fortunate to have received my piping instruction from Ronnie for 30 years now, and his guidance has far exceeded just piping – particularly in recent times since stepping into my father’s role at Pipe Dreams after he sadly passed away in 2020.

“I would like to thank Ronnie from the bottom of my heart for everything, and wish him all the best on his well-deserved retirement.

“Whilst we will miss Ronnie as he steps back from the running of the business, I’m delighted to be moving forward with Gordon Rowan. His fantastic career in the Army speaks for itself and he brings with him a wealth of experience. He also shares the same professionalism and integrity we are used to with Ronnie. He is from Tiree and we were both taught the pipes by my grandfather, Alasdair Sinclair. I’ve known Gordon my whole life, so in many ways it feels very fitting he is coming on board.” 

•Ronnie & Finlay following a successful day at the 2018 Glenfiddich

Gordon added: “To be joining Pipe Dreams after 36 years’ Military service is a new and exciting opportunity for me.  I look forward to continue building the company that Ronnie McShannon and the late Tommy Johnston launched over 27 years ago.  They have undoubtably made a major contribution to piping, supporting pipers around the world with quality bagpipe reeds.  Working alongside Finlay connects me back to my upbringing and tutor, the late Alasdair Sinclair of Greenhill on the Isle of Tiree, who was also Finlay’s grandfather.”

•Gordon Rowan, Alasdair Sinclair, Tommy Johnston and a young Finlay Johnston.