People of SFU

SFU Pipe Band reclaims best drum corps title, juniors land 2nd at 'Worlds'

August 22, 2023

The young and talented drummers of the SFU Pipe Band are once again on top of the world after defending their title and taking first prize for Best Drum Corps—for the second year running—at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland Aug 19.

The six-time world champion band also moved up in the elite top six with a 4th place finish among 16 of the world’s best bands, while its junior Grade 3A Robert Malcolm Memorial (RMM) band finished second with an impressive run in its category.

Adding to their achievements, SFU drummers took first place for drumming in the March, Strathspey and Reel (MSR), one of two main events, while the band’s drum major Jason Paguio earned third-place recognition.

Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell, one of the world’s most decorated drummers, says SFU’s repeat drumming championship is another huge feat for the corps, many of them young players including current SFU student Tori Killoran and recent SFU graduate Jake Mix.

“The drum corps taking the top prize in the championship for a second straight year really makes it so hard to find the right words at the moment,” said Maxwell after the event. “Once it has all sunk in it will start to get easier, I hope. Still a little numb.”

SFU Pipe Major Alan Bevan says it was a good year overall for the band. "We are ecstatic and so proud that Reid and the corps are World Drum Corps champions for the second straight year, and we were very happy with the band's overall finish, the highest we have been in several years. It shows that the band is headed in the right direction and is something we can build on as we go forward into the 2024 season.   

“We are also extremely proud of RMM for achieving a very strong second place against a tough field in Grade 3A."

Maxwell, who earlier played with Scotland’s Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band before coming to Canada to play with 78th Fraser Highlanders, then SFU in 1992, has now tallied an impressive 20 world championship titles in band and drumming.

He is regarded worldwide for his mentorship and dedication to instructing young drummers, and in 2015 was awarded the BC Community Achievement award by the Province of British Columbia for his service to pipe band drumming.

Following the band’s televised medley performance BBC commentator Bob Worrall acknowledged his talent, noting, “Reid Maxwell knows how to support music. And it was evident in that performance.”

The event—won by Scottish band Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia, its first-ever win—marked the band’s 40th appearance at the world’s most prestigious pipe band contest held annually in Glasgow. Over the years, in addition to six world championships the band has nine second place finishes and placed in the top three more than 20 times, rarely placing out of the elite top six.

Earlier in the week the SFU band performed a sold-out concert in Glasgow titled “Generations,” highlighting the band’s family ties, its wide age range and with a view to its future. More than 2,500 concert-goers attended, the biggest crowd ever for the traditional pre-World’s performance. One reviewer described SFU as “arguably the world’s best concert band.”

“Another great week for the band with a sold-out capacity at the SECC in Glasgow, and four great runs over the weekend capturing 4th place overall—I’m so very pleased for Alan and the band,” adds Maxwell.

Nearly 190 Pipe bands from 15 countries across the globe including Australia, Canada, USA, Israel, Malaysia and Zimbabwe took part in the competition, attended by more than 35,000 people and viewed by many thousands more through BBC’s livestream.See more on the event’s results here.