Jean-Caude (“J.C.”) Allioux
(1941 - )
My piping involvement started in 1953 at the age of 11, in Brittany, France. In October of that year, I joined a newly formed bagad (Breton pipe band) sponsored by St. Peter’s church in the city of Vannes. Oddly enough, give or take a few months, everyone in the band was roughly the same age.
Moving to the city of Rennes in 1958, I joined what was at the time a top band of the day. It was a milestone in my piping adventure. Imagine was it was like in those days as a boy in France to play on a state-of-the-art 1957 Hardie chanter! I still have it.
In 1961, at the age of 20, I was drafted into the French Navy and spent two-and-a-hafl years in the Navy pipe band “Bagad of Lann Bihoué,” a major naval air station located near the city of Lorient. I returned to the Bagad of Rennes in 1963 as the band’s pipe major until 1967. During this time, between 1963 and 1967, I studied extensively with my friend Jacky Pincet and other players in Brittany, as well as in Scotland.
When I emigrated to the US in the late 1960s, I played with local New Jersey bands, my favourite being George Bell’s original Kenmure Pipe Band in 1970-71. I also played with the Kearny Caledonian Pipe Band for a while, then with the Bergen Irish in the late 1990s. As the pipe sergeant and musical director, I helped that band win two Grade 4 Northeast Championships. I took a break from the band starting in 2002 to concentrate on my Grade 2 solo work. I joined the Schenectady Pipe band for the 2006 season.
I began making drone reeds when I retired a few years ago. I do not mass produce them, but work mostly with high-profile solo players and upper-level bands who have very specific needs.
And, of course, I write pipe music. Some of my tunes have been published in Brittany, and more recently in Bruce Gandy’s Book 4.