After 36 seasons of never missing a competition, Jim Sim has decided to retire from the Grade 2 Midlothian Scottish Pipe Band of Chicago. He competed in his final competition at Waukesha, Wisconsin, on September 5th.
Sim was a founding member of Midlothian in 1975 when he and Ian Swinton formed the band. Sim had previously played with the Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Pipe Band, also of Chicago – one of the world’s longest running pipe bands.
Starting in Grade 4, Midlothian progressed to Grade 1 in only 10 years with pipers and drummers mainly taught from scratch by Swinton and Sim. Under them, the band gained PPBSO Grade 3 Champion Supreme awards in 1981 and Grade 2 in 1984. The band competed successfully at the World Pipe Band Championships, placing in the top six in Grade 2 several times, and also won Grade 2 at the North American and United States Championships on several occasions. Midlothian has finished second at Maxville in Grade 2 for the last three seasons.
Sim holds full adjudicator status with the Midwest Pipe Band Association and is currently Chair of that organization’s music board. He plans to stay involved through teaching drumming.
According to Midlothian Pipe-Major Adrian Melvin, Sim’s replacement has not yet been decided. He added that the band’s bass drummer and a piper have also retired.
Ian Swinton retired from Midlothian in November 2008, giving way to Melvin.