SFU Pipe Band

SFU Pipe band wins fifth world championship

September 4, 2008

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The famed SFU Pipe Band won its fifth Grade 1 title at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on Aug. 16. You can hear their winning performances at

It was "a great, great day," says pipe major Terry Lee, who heads the group along with his brother, pipe sergeant Jack Lee and lead drummer Reid Maxwell.

Capturing its first title since 2001, SFU won the Medley contest, placed second in the March, Strathspey and Reel event, and its drum corps was tops in drumming in both sections.

The band turned in "the two best ensemble performances we have played in the 16 years I have been with the band," says Maxwell. "It was awesome!"

The "Worlds" are Scotland’s largest annual musical and cultural event, with 40,000 visitors, 8,000 pipers and drummers and a record 221 bands from 16 different countries this year.

SFU, one of only three non-U.K. bands to win the Worlds, came first in 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2001. It placed second seven times – finishing in the top two in 11 of its 25 years.

This year’s win was particularly sweet for Terry Lee. It was the first time his son Alastair, who also leads the organization’s junior Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, performed with him in the final.

The band’s family ties run deep. Jack Lee’s oldest and middle sons Andrew and Colin are members, as is niece Brittany Lee.

The band also includes four married couples; a brother who plays the pipes while his sister drums; two brothers who travel all the way from Scotland to play with the band each year; and two brothers who regularly commute from Calgary.

Steven McWhirter, arguably the finest pipe band drummer in the world, lives in Northern Ireland but moves to Burnaby every spring and summer to play with Simon Fraser.

Stuart Liddell, possibly the world’s best piper, has been travelling from Scotland since 1998 to play with the band."

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