A quarter century has passed since a Scottish Grade 1 band last competed in Ontario, when Vale of Atholl travelled to Canada in 1988 to compete at the North American Championship. Twenty-five years later Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia will show their stuff this weekend at the somewhat unlikely Cobourg Highland Games, a small contest resurrected after its own hiatus of more than 15 years.
Boghall, fresh off a second-prize at the British Championships, the first RSPBA major of 2013, will perform in concert on the Friday evening, and then compete in the five-band Grade 1 competition on Saturday.
“We’ve been planning the trip for a good six months now, and have the material ready to perform,” said Boghall Pipe-Major Ross Walker. “While it is a version of our ‘Forte’ concert performed in Glasgow last year, it will give us the opportunity to debut our new medley for 2013 under some pressure. This will stand us in great stead given we could be competing with it two weeks after we return from Cobourg at the European Championships in Forres, Scotland.”
Boghall & Bathgate won the European Championship in Belfast last year.
At the concert Boghall revealed that Peel Regional Police bass drummer Ian Gibson will join the band to play in the salute to Boghall’s legendary former-Leading-Drummer Tom Brown. “It is an honour to be asked to perform with a band that I have always admired and looked up to,” Gibson commented, adding that he will compete against them with his own band on Saturday.
The band also said that the audience on Friday can “expect to be involved more in this show in contrast to Glasgow.”
About the experience, Walker added, “It will be an opportunity to experience a different pipe band culture and give some people a chance to hear Boghall in the flesh perhaps for the first time.”
Tickets are available for the Friday concert at the Cobourg Community Centre.
Bands competing against Boghall & Bathgate at Cobourg in the Grade 1 MSR event are the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Peel Regional Police, Toronto Police and the Grade 2 Ottawa Police, who will play up under new PPBSO policy allowing bands to challenge into a higher grade at select events.
With the draw of the World Pipe Band Championship and, for the last 10 years, the Piping Live! Festival, Canadian pipe bands have travelled collectively to compete in Scotland more than 150 times since 1988.