The annual Regina and Moose Jaw highland games in Saskatchewan will be a band less after the Edmonton Boys Pipe Band of Edmonton, Alberta, decided to withdraw from the competition out of concern for the spread of H1N1 virus, or “swine flu,” which has garnered world attention over the last two weeks.
Various Alberta school boards have recently set a “no-travel” policy in the wake of the virus outbreak and, while the Edmonton Boys band is not connected with a school district, concerned parents questioned the band’s plans and withdrew their children from the May 15-17 trip, thus leaving the group short of numbers, compromising its ability to compete.
Founded in 1929, the Grade 4 band has the longest history of any band in Alberta. It also accepts female members.
“This extraordinary decision made in light of the H1N1 Virus situation was not reached easily and we will be looking forward to the Regina & Moose Jaw highland games in 2010,” the band said in a correspondence to the games organizers.
The move is believed to be the first time instance of a band changing plans due to concerns about the spread of the H1N1 virus.
The band also plans to travel to compete in Scotland in 2010.