Pipe band heads to Scotland’s “Worlds” with new leader
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.3210; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca
For the first time in its history, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band will be led into the World Pipe Band championships in Scotland by a new pipe major.
Senior piper Alan Bevan took over the role last fall after the retirement of founding Pipe Major Terry Lee. Lee led the band 30 times onto the field at Glasgow Green, netting six first-place championships and nine second-place finishes during his watch.
Bevan, a band member since 1995, competed at five of those championship wins and has been to 18 “Worlds” contests. He feels the band is well positioned to make a strong run for its seventh world championship when it competes on Aug. 15.
“I’m feeling good about my first Worlds as pipe major – we’re playing stronger than ever and I think the band is eager to show off all the hard work we’ve been putting in,” says Bevan, a 37-year-old lawyer from Abbotsford. One of the world’s foremost pipers, Bevan has won gold at two of the world’s premier solo piping competitions, including the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, Scotland last August.
Following a fourth place finish in 2013, the band has had consistent success this year under his leadership at regional competitions, including a face-off with the top U.S. band, LA Scots, at the Victoria Highland Games in May.
The band is now focused on fine-tuning two key pieces – the March, Strathspey and Reel, and its signature Medley – during practices this week in the rural backyard of the band’s Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee.
Also at practice are members of SFU’s junior Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) band. The juvenile Grade 4 band, which two years ago placed third at the Worlds, is returning to Scotland with its contingent of young players —Bevan’s 11-year-old son Alistair among them. His wife, Bonnie, is also a long-time piper with the SFU Grade 1 band. The two met as students at SFU.
About 30 band members are leaving for Scotland next week (starting Aug. 5) to give a special performance at the Harris Tweed Hebrides Tattoo in Stornoway on Aug. 9. The remainder will join them in Stirling, just outside of Glasgow, a week before the Worlds to prepare for the competition.
In 2012, the RMM Grade 3 band competed and won the world championship in its category. Several pipers and drummers have since been raised up to play with the elite Gr. 1 band, and some will be competing in Scotland for the first time.
Other news faces include a piper and drummer from New Zealand, where Jack Lee and lead drummer Reid Maxwell teach annually. Band members are largely from the Lower Mainland, including a trio of current SFU students, as well as the U.S. and a new addition from Scotland. For more on band members see: www.sfupb.com.
For background on Pipe Major Alan Bevan see: http://at.sfu.ca/SCOgdQ
The SFU Pipe Band won “Worlds” championships in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2008 and 2009.
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