The Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band has dissolved to become part of the Grade 2 Maple Ridge Pipe Band in a “partnership” that will be led by incumbent Maple Ridge Pipe-Major, Angus MacPherson. The Robert Malcolm Grade 2 band will cease to exist, and the “new” Maple Ridge band will be independent of the Simon Fraser University organization.
The remaining RMM2 players “are free to go whatever they want, including joining SFU,” SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee said.
The move comes after much speculation in the pipe band world after the upgrade of RMM2 to Grade 1 by both the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA). RMM2 won the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships and every contest that it competed in during the year.
The band subsequently appealed to move back to Grade 2, and only days later RMM2’s leaders, Pipe-Major David Hilder and Leading-Drummer Andre Tessier, abruptly resigned from the band. Responding to allegations that the parent SFU organization demanded that RMM2 not be in Grade 1 or face disbandment, Lee made a lengthy statement in an attempt to clarify the situation.
Commenting on the new Maple Ridge Pipe Band, Lee said, “For many years, both bands have maintained strong Grade 2 bands and have regularly competed at the local Highland games. Both bands have lost quite a number of players since competing in the recent World championships. We looked at both situations and concluded it would be best to combine our resources. In that way, we can help to ensure another strong, vibrant Grade 2 band in the area. RMM will encourage any current and future members who wish to play at the Grade 2 level to join the Maple Ridge Pipe Band.”
“The RMM2 group has not made up their minds as to what they would like to do,” said former RMM2 piper Myles Wilcott. “We are in close consultation about what our next steps will be, all the while respecting the individual decisions of each member to do what they please. No RMM2 band-members have agreed to join Maple Ridge at this point. We are considering our options.”
Wilcott added that the agreement was strictly between SFU and Maple Ridge, and that no members of RMM2 were consulted.
When asked whether Maple Ridge will compete as a Grade 1 band in the future, Lee said, “Maple Ridge has indicated to us they are not (and will not be) interested in Grade 1 in the future, [but] it was not a condition [of partnering].”
The “new” Maple Ridge will reportedly hold many of its practices on the Burnaby campus of Simon Fraser University.
“This should result in two strong Grade 2 bands in our area: Maple Ridge and Chilliwack & District,” Lee added.
Maple Ridge had been struggling after the loss of personnel following the 2006 season.
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