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World-class SFU Pipe Band to play free community performance on campus
For the first time in five years, the SFU community can watch the six-time world champion SFU Pipe Band—including its reigning world champion drummers—perform beyond their traditional appearances at convocation ceremonies. On July 30 (11a.m. - 12 noon), the band, often touted as the university’s musical ambassadors, will give a free performance near the AQ pond as a way of giving back to the community.
“We are always grateful for the response we get from the attendees during Convocation, and want to take this time to show our appreciation,” says Pipe Major Alan Bevan. “We're planning something a little more informal for this event, and hope to provide an opportunity on this beautiful spot on campus, for people to hear more of the band—whether it’s to rediscover us, or just to get to know us and hear our music in a more casual setting."
Over more than 30 years of competing at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland, the band has consistently landed in the top 10—more often, finishing in the top three, including six firsts. In 2022, its drummers also took the top prize in a category recognizing the world’s best drum corps.
The 45-member band led by Bevan is made up of members from different walks of life – from a lawyer and dentist to a professional opera singer. Among its ranks are a dozen alumni and current SFU students, including Bevan’s two sons, Alistair and Callum, and snare drummer Jake Mix, who graduated this past spring.
Several band members are currently leading the 30th year of their popular summer school, Piping Hot Summer Drummer, in the Okanagan. They will return to perform on the SFU campus before trekking to Scotland to compete in the annual championships. This year the elite Grade 1 band as well as its junior Grade 3 Robert Malcolm Memorial band will compete.
Since its inception, the band has performed at some of the world’s top venues, including Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and New York’s Lincoln Center, as well as Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre.
They’ve also played off the beaten circuit. In earlier days the band opened for Rod Stewart in Vancouver, and more recently, its junior members played at half-time at a Vancouver Whitecaps game.
"We’re really looking forward to playing in our own backyard,” says Bevan. “The band loves playing in front of a hometown crowd, and this will be a nice send-off as we prepare to perform in concert in Glasgow and compete at the Worlds next month."
Following the concert at the SFU campus there will be a fundraiser at the Biercraft pub, located at the east end of campus at UniverCity, to help the band raise funds for its Scotland trip.