SFU Pipe Band drum major tops again
Drum major Jason Paguio of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band won his fourth world title at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow on Saturday—and was quickly given tips on how to do it even better next time.
After cheers and hugs from the band, Paguio collected his third adult world title, to go with those he won here in 2007 and 2010, and the world juvenile crown he scooped in 2007. (He also won U.S. titles in 2009 and 2010.)
“Terrific,” he said, showing to band members the record of wins engraved on his mace. “The new one will go right here, see, Simon Fraser University 2013.’”
Along with congratulations from competing drum majors, Paguio got some mace-handling tips from a veteran, Dennis Ducsik of the Worcester (MA) Kilties band. “Your right hand like this, and then like this,” advised Ducsik, demonstrating. “That’s the way.”
Within minutes, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association announced that the SFU Pipe Band, six times world champions, had indeed qualified for the final two rounds of playing and judging on Sunday. SFU will also be in the front row of the massed bands parade.
In the Saturday afternoon Medley qualifier, SFU placed first, ahead of Ireland's St. Laurence O'Toole band and the arch-rival Field Marshal Montgomery (FMM) band from Northern Ireland.
Earlier, in the morning's rain-soaked March, Strathspey and Reel qualification round, SFU placed third behind FMM and Scotland's Inverary and District band.
Combining the results above, SFU placed second over-all to FMM in Saturday's day of qualifications and ahead of Inverary.
On Sunday, the band plays 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 livestreamed athttp://www.bbc.co.uk/events/ex6g9r. Saturday’s livestream was viewed in 146 countries.
SFU’s first qualifying round on Saturday was beset by steady rain and winds that exceeded 30 km/h.
Pipe Major Terry Lee led the band into a soaking grass playing arena 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.”
Lead drummer Reid Maxwell said the rain Saturday morning 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.”
Despite those problems, piper Andrew Lee, son of Jack Lee, the band’s pipe sergeant, said that the soggy morning round “went pretty well.” Terry Lee limited himself to “not bad.”
For Round Two of the qualifications Saturday afternoon, a break in the soggy weather—and thus an improvement in their sound—gave SFU a boost.
Veteran piper Robert Mathieson: “We were darn good—and getting better. The sun came out and the pipes started to flower.”
And Terry Lee added: “We’re really happy that the rain stopped. That really helped our sound, and I was happy with our ensemble play.”
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.”
The SFU band is one of 23 elite Grade 1 bands in the 2013 competition. 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.