Working to win the 'Worlds'
Riding high with its new CD release and ending its competitive regular season with a win at the Pacific Northwest Highland Games in Enumclaw, Wash., the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band now sets its sights on the Aug. 11 World Pipe Band Championships.
“This is a critical time for the band to really polish our sound,” says Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee, looking for the band’s seventh championship. The band placed second in 2011 and won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009. “We’ve been playing the best we’ve ever played and we want to keep that momentum going.”
SFU secured its spot in the championship finals with its high placing at last year’s competition (along with five Scottish and two Irish bands, including reigning champions Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band) and will compete against 26 of the world’s top bands (the remainder make the cut on event day).
More than 8,000 pipers and drummers and over 40,000 visitors will take part in the event on Glasgow Green.
The band’s junior contingent — the Robert Malcolm Memorial Band — will compete at the Worlds this year. Its Grade 3 and 4 bands — which also took firsts at the Enumclaw competition —will take part in the North Berwick Highland Games near Edinburgh on Aug. 4.
The Grade 3s last competed in 2009 (placing fourth) and have won four championships since they began competing in the novice-juvenile category in 1997. They’ll compete in the Grade 3A category this year.
The Grade 4 band makes its first appearance at the contest this year, competing in the juvenile class.
The SFU contingent heading to Scotland includes more than 100 musicians and a total of over 200 individuals, with family and relatives in tow.
Battle of the Bands, a documentary on the SFU band, airs on Monday, Aug. 6 at 7-8 p.m. on The Knowledge Network. (See promo at http://at.sfu.ca/relseV)
BBC will once again live stream its coverage of the Worlds on Saturday, Aug. 11.