Pipe Band History and Accolades
The SFU band was formed during the university’s inaugural year and officially become known as the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in 1981. They won firsts at the World Pipe Band Championships in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2008, and 2009.
1981: Jack Lee wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal and Silver Star at the Northern Meeting, Inverness, Scotland.
1982: The SFU band wins the Grade 1 North American Championship, the top prize on the continent.
1983: The band performs for the Queen during her visit to Vancouver.
1984: Nous Sommes Prêts, the band’s first album, is released.
1985, 1987 and 1988: The band places second in the Grade 1 World Championships, winning the March, Strathspey, and Reel event (1985) and the Medley event (1988).
1987: Jack Lee wins the Silver Star and Darleen Miharija wins the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting.
1989 and 1991: The band opens for Rod Stewart during his Vancouver concerts.
1991: The band cuts a pair of studio albums: The Silver Anniversary Tribute and A High Cut Above, a recording for highland dancers to practice to.
1992: Reid Maxwell, winner of three World Pipe Band Championships and five World Drum Corps Championships, becomes lead drummer.
1993: Bruce Woodley wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting.
1994: The band forms the Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) band in memory of band members Robert Barbulak and Malcolm Bokenfohr, killed tragically in a 1993 car accident. They produce an album, Do Mo Chara Maith (For My Good friend). Jack Lee wins the coveted Clasp at Inverness.
1995: At Glasgow, Scotland, the band captures the ultimate prize on the globe, the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship.
1996: The band captures the title again, becoming the first pipe band from outside the United Kingdom to win the World Championship more than once. Its first live album, Alive in America, is released.
1998: A concert in New York’s Carnegie Hall marks the first time a pipe band has performed a concert at the venue, and leads to another album, Live at Carnegie Hall and a video, Legacy: The Road to Carnegie Hall and Beyond.
1999: A clean sweep as the band regains the World Championship title, winning the World Drum Corps Championship in the process. The top level RMM band also wins the World Juvenile Pipe Band Championship. The Lees receive the Governor General’s Medal for Meritorious Service for contributions to piping, culture, and youth development.
2000: The band performs at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the nation-wide broadcast of “Music and the Spoken Word.” They also produce an album At The Worlds, a compilation. Stuart Liddell wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting. Reid Maxwell captures second in the World Solo Drumming Championship.
2001: Another Worlds win for the Grade 1 and the RMM juvenile pipe band. SFU also wins the Australian Pipe Band Championship during a tour to New Zealand and Australia. They perform at the Sydney Opera House, resulting in another album, Down Under: Live at the Sydney Opera House. Jack Lee wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering, Scotland. The Lees receive SFU’s Chancellor’s Award for Distinguished Service. Piper and Drummer magazine votes Jack Lee its Competitive Piper of the Year.
2002: In March, the band flies to the U.K. and performs back-to-back concerts in Belfast and Glasgow to sold-out venues. Jack Lee wins the Canadian Gold Medal, awarded for solo competitors who hold a Piobaireachd Society Gold medal.
2003: Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee is the first North American piper to win the Glenfiddich Solo Piping Championship. The band performs at Massey Hall in Toronto as part of an eastern Canada and United States tour.
2003 and 2005: The top level RMM band wins the World Juvenile Pipe Band Championship.
2004: Stuart Liddell wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering.
2005: The SFU band records a two-volume album at home, On Home Ground.
2006: RMM II wins the Grade 2 World Pipe Band Championship. Steven McWhirter wins the World Solo Drumming Championship.
2007: The band performs a concert and instructional workshops in Orlando, Florida. James Beaumont wins the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering.
2008: Alan Bevan wins the Gold Medal (piobaireachd) at the Northern Meeting in Scotland while Colin Lee takes the Silver Medal.
2008 and 2009: The band wins both the World Pipe Band Championships and the World Drum Corps Championships—marking Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell’s 16th World Championship.
2009: The band records its album Affirmation in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall during a sold-out concert.
2010: Jack Lee wins (second time) the Clasp at Inverness. Andrew Bonar takes first in the Silver Medal. The band adopts a new tartan. The Battle of the Bagpipes documentary is released.
2011: The band celebrates its 30th anniversary and places second at the Worlds for the ninth time.
2012: The RMM Grade 3 band claims the Grade 3A World Championship—RMM’s sixth title. The Grade 1 band marks its 15th time in landing in the top three of the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championships. The band earlier performed at the famed New York Lincoln Centre and wound down its 30th anniversary celebrations with a performance at home at the Vogue Theatre.
2013: Jack Lee wins the Masters Invitational Solo Piping Contest in Glasgow, and Alan Bevan wins the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering. Jack and Terry Lee are recognized with honorary degrees from SFU. Terry Lee announces his retirement, and long-time SFU piper Alan Bevan becomes pipe major. The RMM band celebrates its 20th year.