Scotland-bound for seventh “Worlds” trophy
The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band – sporting some new faces – heads to Scotland this weekend eyeing a seventh first-place trophy at the World Pipe Band Championships Aug. 17-18. The band last secured championships in back-to-back victories in 2008 and 2009.
The newcomers include five who were elevated from the band’s Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 3 band following the junior band’s world champion win in 2012: brothers Brian and Graham Haddon from Langley and pipers Daryl Techy and James MacNeil and drummer Gavin Macrae, along with newcomer Kim Mercado, from the Coquitlam area.
Jamie Kubasiewicz, a piper from Winnipeg, now studying in Surrey as a first-year student in SFU’s School for Interactive Arts and Technology, also joins SFU’s elite band this year. Eric MacNeill, who resigned as lead drummer with New York’s Oran Mor Grade 1 Pipe Band last fall, rounds out the new crew.
Members are from all over the Lower Mainland as well as across Canada and the U.S., with a few from Scotland and Ireland, and one drummer, Nicola Purvis, from New Zealand.
SFU has secured 20 top-three finishes in 30 “Worlds” appearances, finishing third last year behind eight-time winners Field Marshal Montgomery (FMM) from northern Ireland and Scottish Power, a band that enjoyed a wave of European popularity leading up to last year’s competition.
SFU placed second in 2011, again finishing behind FMM and continuing the rivalry. In both of SFU’s 2008 and 2009 wins, the Irish band took second place.
Changes to the competition this year mean all bands need to qualify for the championship finals. Until this year, SFU’s top three finishes have guaranteed them a spot. This year the contest will also be a two-day affair, with final play and results announced on Sunday.
The 50-member band completes its practice schedule tonight at SFU (7 p.m.) and will spend a week in Stirling, Scotland, about an hour outside Glasgow, practicing daily leading up to the competition.
The 2013 Worlds will see 225 bands from 17 countries compete at various levels. SFU is one of six Canadian Grade 1 bands competing among 23 top bands.
Once again BBC will live stream the competition over both days, with SFU scheduled to play first in the MSR and Medley first rounds starting at 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. Vancouver time on Saturday. Competitions continue Sunday with the winners announced around 11 a.m. Vancouver time. Check http://www.theworlds.co.uk for further details.
Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.
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