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Because Hamiltonians Carry on a Tradition: Jim Clough ’67


On a family vacation to Nova Scotia in 1963, Jim Clough ’67 discovered bagpiping. The music moved his brother, and eventually him, when Clough heard his brother practicing at home. Two years later, Clough became a piper too, and he’s been cultivating and perfecting the art for nearly 53 years. 

Clough pursued bagpiping during his summers off from teaching sixth-graders in Rome, N.Y. After traveling to Syracuse to play in a pipe band, he founded in 1973 what would become the Mohawk Valley Frasers. 

In addition to studying with top pipers over the years, Clough has helped many of his own students excel as musicians. His Frasers have won EUSPBA Supreme Championships four times and twice risen to the Grade 2 level. 

Closer to home, the Frasers perform each year at Hamilton, leading processions at Commencement and Reunions. “The annual tradition helps me stay in touch with old friends, and, speaking of ‘old,’ at age 72, I like doing things that make me feel relevant,” said Clough, who shares his enthusiasm for pipe music with his wife Liz, a drummer, and his daughter Jessie Clough ’07, a Highland dancer. 

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