As the Grade 2 New Westminster Police Pipe Band celebrates its second anniversary as part of the Simon Fraser University organization, it’s looking to an active 2009 summer, complete with a June concert in aid of cancer charity and the imminent arrival of a new set of synthetic Sinclair chanters.
The delivery of the chanters is believed to be the first for Sinclair’s new plastic model of its well established blackwood version, which was once a staple on the Grade 1 circuit but is now played only by a handful of bands, including 2008 World Champions SFU.
Pipe-Major Angus MacPherson said, “Our previous Sinclairs are starting to show their age and the decision was made to try the new poly model.” He added that the band has not yet decided if they will in fact compete with the new chanters.
MacPherson said that the relationship with SFU is working “extremely well. To date we’ve had 18 players who have joined as a direct result of our alliance. In addition, [SFU L-D] Reid Maxwell is working very closely with our new Leading-Drummer, Cameron Dodson.” Dodson came to New Westminster in July 2008 from Regina, Saskatchewan.
He said that the band has a total of 22 pipers, 10 snare-drummers, five tenor-drummers and two bass-drummers.
The June 25th “Pipe Up” concert coincides with the city of New Westminster’s 150th anniversary, with proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer initiative. MacPherson said that the concert will be held at the Massey Theatre and will also feature SFU and the Scottish all-female Celtic folk group, “The Shee.”
MacPherson cited the numerous people in the British Columbia pipe band community who have been directly affected recently by cancer. “It’s astounding how many people in the pipe band community have contracted this terrible disease. I think it’s important we do this.”
Formerly Maple Ridge, the band secured a sponsorship with the New Westminster Police in April 2008. The band partnered with the SFU organization in 2006 after the membership of the Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 2 band left to join Triumph Street.