media release

Bagpipes “flower” for SFU Pipe Band

August 17, 2013

Rob MacNeil, band manager (in Scotland): 011-44-746-292-7242

Jack Lee, pipe sergeant (in Scotland): 011-44-798-213-3152;
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, (in Vancouver) 604.209.5770;


GLASGOW—A break in the weather—and thus an improvement in their sound—gave the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band a lift for the second round of play Saturday afternoon at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow.

After the morning round was plagued by steady Scottish summer rain and winds pushing 30 km/h, the rain stopped, the sun appeared and the wind eased as the band played its medley program in Round 2 of qualifying events.

Veteran piper Robert Mathieson said of the afternoon play: “We were darn good—and getting better. The sun came out and the pipes started to flower.”

Pipe Major Terry Lee, whose assessment of the morning performance was simply “not bad,” spoke more enthusiastically about the afternoon’s play: “We’re really happy that the rain stopped. That really helped our sound, and I was happy with our ensemble play.”

In the morning, Lee had led the band into the arena – a rain-soaked grass playing field – for the 30th time, a record for the event. “With the rain, keeping the pipes tuned is like a moving target,” he said. “It’s hard to get what (tuning) you want and you can't keep it there. And then the inner workings of the pipes get wet, and it all begins to stop working so well.”

Despite those problems, piper Andrew Lee, son of Jack Lee, the band’s pipe sergeant, said that the soggy morning round “went pretty well.”

Following the afternoon round, piper Blair Cooper said: “We’re really happy with that. With the rain gone, the sound was really good. We were able to dry out and bring the pitch up.”

Lead drummer Reid Maxwell said the rain Saturday morning had presented problems for the SFU drum corps as well. “You couldn’t give it ‘the big shot’ because you’re scared of the wet sticks flying out of your hands. And there was a steady waterfall pouring off the side of the drum head.”

The band, one of 23 elite Grade 1 bands in the 2013 competition, is seeking its seventh world title. It plays twice again on Sunday: a March, Strathspey and Reel program at 4:30 a.m. Vancouver time and a Medley offering at 7 a.m. Pacific.

It will all be web-streamed live on Sunday at Then comes the judging.

The 225 bands in the event come from 17 countries and feature more than 8,000 pipers and drummers.

SFU’s six wins in previous championships came in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2008 and 2009.  In 2012, SFU finished third behind an eight-time winner, the Field Marshal Montgomery band from Northern Ireland, and the Scottish Power pipe band.

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.


Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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