Juniors join elite pipe band at Worlds
Jack Lee, Pipe Sergeant, 778.240.1480; (away until Sunday, then 604.574.3299) firstname.lastname@example.org
Terry Lee, Pipe Major, 604.936.8548, 604.313.7473 email@example.com
Rob MacNeil, manager, 604.657.8695; firstname.lastname@example.org
Rob Watt, RMM bands, 604.942.5118, 604.992.9488 email@example.com
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.4323/9017; 604.209.5770; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band will be joined by two of its youth pipe bands at the World Championships in Glasgow on Aug. 11 – a first for one young band and the first appearance in three years – and in a new category - for the other.
More than 60 young musicians from the Grade 3 and 4 junior Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) band are preparing to compete along with the 44-member Grade 1 band at the Worlds. The elite band, which finished second in 2011, is looking to claim its seventh championship.
It’s the first appearance for the Grade 4 band, which will compete in the contest’s novice-juvenile category. None of its pipers and drummers have been to the Worlds and one young piper – Cameron Ickert of Maple Ridge – will celebrate his 10th birthday two days after the international competition.
The Grade 3 band is the highest level of the band's junior organization and last competed in 2009, placing fourth. The band first performed in 1997, finishing second, and went on to compete every two years - winning four firsts along the way.
The band previously competed in the juvenile class and now moves up to the Grade 3A class. Several young players, like piper Connor Watt, of Coquitlam, are veteran members who have been to the Worlds and experienced victory.
“All of our bands are working hard this year and aiming high for wins at the Worlds,” says Jack Lee, pipe sergeant of the Grade 1 and pipe major of the Grade 4 band. “We (Grade 1) finished second last year and we would love to do a little better than that this year.
“The competition is extremely tough but we are right in the thick of the action,” he adds. “The Irish and Scottish bands are very, very strong. We are on roll, having celebrated our 30th anniversary with a concert and new CD, live from New York’s Lincoln Center. We hope to carry that momentum with us to Scotland.”
Practice schedules are in high gear and will continue after a final competition in Emunclaw at the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering this weekend (July 28-29).
As weather permits the elite players will continue practices in Lee’s backyard and on Burnaby Mountain. They leave for Scotland the week of Aug. 5.
The RMM bands arrive in Scotland Aug. 2 and will participate in the North Berwick Highland Games near Edinburgh on Aug 4. All of the bands will spend the week practicing before the Worlds in Stirling, about an hour from Glasgow.
The RMM band is named after two members of the SFU Pipe Band, Robert Barbulak and Malcolm Bokenfohr, who were killed in a car accident in 1993. It was formed to continue developing talented and dedicated players in the spirit of the two young men.
RMM also fields a Grade 5 youth band, which acts as a first step into band play for students taking beginner lessons taught by senior band members.
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