media release

Celtic Kiwi joins the band

August 09, 2011

Marianne Meadahl (in Scotland) 44-742-648-7107;
Steve Ray (in Scotland) 44-742-649-5319;

Nicola Purvis
Photos on Flickr

There's no mistaking the wee bit o' Scottish drawl among a handful of imports in the circle of Simon Fraser University Pipe Band pipers and drummers.

Then there's the "Kiwi" in the crowd. Among new recruits to the band this year is tenor drummer Nicola Purvis of New Zealand, who'll compete with the Grade 1 band at Glasgow later this week.

Purvis was recruited by the band's Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell and Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee, who, for the past eight years have spent two weeks in January teaching summer programs for the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association and Australia's Pipe Band Association.

"Nicola is a great addition to the drum corps," says Maxwell, who added a number of new faces this year and is bringing the band's largest drumming contingent to date.

Purvis started drumming with the Auckland and District Pipe Band 10 years ago, winning two New Zealand Grade 1 championships and half a dozen prizes for best bass section.

She also teaches in the New Zealand summer program and got to know Lee and Maxwell, who attend as international tutors.

"I've known about the Simon Fraser band since I first started piping and never dreamed I would one day be playing with them," says Purvis, who has been based in Vancouver since March. "It's an amazing opportunity to be here."

While her mom is Scottish, it's her father who started the family in piping – he currently manages the Auckland band.

"There is definitely growing interest in piping in New Zealand and like everywhere else there's a great enthusiasm among those who are involved in it," she says.

New Zealand will have two of the 21 Grade 1 bandsManawatu Scottish Pipe Band and Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band – competing for the coveted world championship next Saturday in Glasgow.

Purvis is no stranger to Scotland. She left New Zealand five years ago to play stints with the Scottish Clan Gregor Society Pipe Band and the Fife Constabulary Pipe Band, but returned to play with her native band during competitions. She hopes to do the same while drumming for SFU.

Other new faces in the drum core this year include Katelyn Garrity from Burnaby, Owen Russell of Minnesota and Doug Stromach, former lead drummer of the Toronto Police Pipe Band.

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