People of SFU

SFU Pipe Band wins World Drum Corps Championship and lands in top six in Glasgow

August 16, 2022
The SFU Pipe Band won 6th place at the 2022 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland.

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band remains in the elite ‘top six’ in the world after competing at the 2022 World Pipe Band Championships—while its drum corps will bring home the top prize in the competition’s World Drum Corps Championship (WDCC).

Headed by Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell, the drummers delivered four strong performances across two days of competition, landing first overall and tops in the two Medley performances.

The win marks Maxwell’s sixth drum corps world title—five with the SFU band and one with the Canadian band 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto.

“Taking the drumming championship is a huge feat for our corps,” says Maxwell, one of the world’s most decorated drummers. “There are no drummers in the existing group who were in the corps the last time we took the drumming title (in 2009). A large bunch of them would have barely been teenagers.

“Of the current group only one of our drummers has tasted this success, winning the drumming with St. Lawrence O’Toole pipe band before he immigrated to Canada." 

October will mark Maxwell's 30 years with the band. Hailing from Scotland, he resides in Coquitlam.

Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell practises with the SFU Pipe Band. The drum corps won first overall and two medley performances.

Several ‘rookies’ make up the current drum corps, winning the WDCC while playing at the ‘Worlds’ for the first time with the elite Grade 1 band. Members include recent SFU graduate and tenor drummer Madison Rattai and current student Taylor Killoran, a snare drummer whose sister, Tori, is a piper in the band and recent SFU graduate.

And when SFU’s bass drummer became ill days before the competition, the band activated member Ali North, who plays with the organization’s Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 2 band (part of the four band feeder system of the SFU Pipe Band organization) as part of its contingency planning for the Worlds, and is now reveling in a championship win.

“I have never seen so many tears and smiles all at the same time following the announcement, myself included," says Maxwell. "I feel no less excited than on any of the previous occasions. Eight of the drummers have come through our RMM system, which is a particularly huge accomplishment for our organization. In addition, the drum corps includes seven amazing young women, by far the most of any band playing in the top grade.”

Maxwell, who earlier played with Scotland’s Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band before coming to Canada to play with 78th Fraser Highlanders, then SFU in 1992, has now tallied an impressive 19 World Championship titles (band and drumming). He is regarded worldwide for his mentorship and dedication to instructing young drummers, and in 2015 was awarded the BC Community Achievement award by the Province of British Columbia for his service to pipe band drumming.

In a 2012 interview from Scotland, Maxwell’s mother Catherine recalled how her son “just loved to be drumming. He was always sporty and liked his football and swimming, he always had to be on the go. But if it was in the house, it was drumming, the whole time.”

In 2010 he was awarded a Life Membership in the British Columbia Pipers’ Association, its highest honour.

“Reid is an exemplary leader who challenges his corps members with world championship goals and extensively mentors the corps to produce increasingly exceptional performances. There are so many young women and men in the corps who have worked so hard and now have realized a life-fulfilling goal. It's moments like these that are so heartwarming to witness first hand.” says Robert MacNeil, President of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Society.