Published: June 30, 2003

78th Frasers Expand on Reason for Withdrawal from Fort Erie

The 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band have expanded on their decision not to compete at Fort Erie, Ontario, on June 21, the first Championship of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario’s summer games circuit.

According to Pipe-Major Bill Livingstone, “Lead Drummer John Fisher’s older brother was diagnosed four months ago with terminal cancer. John’s focus quickly, and understandably, became his brother. Given that John had already lost two family members, one of them another brother, within the last two years, he was overwhelmed by this news. The detailed plans which had been made for John to travel to Toronto for regular practice with the band, soon fell victim to this situation. John’s brother has since passed away.

“The result of all of this, is that we have not been able to properly rehearse with our new lead drummer. So, it’s really simple: a family tragedy has prevented us from being competition ready in the time frame planned. We will compete when we have had a chance to properly rehearse. All efforts are now directed towards that goal.”

When asked if the recent setback would impact the band’s travel to Scotland in August, Livingstone commented, “No, there’s no doubt about going to Scotland. Flights are all booked, practice schedule set, and we’ll be in top form for Maxville where we will definitely compete. If we feel comfortable sooner, we’ll play sooner. But as always with the band, competing/winning is not the central focus. The philosophy has always been to strive for the best that we can achieve musically. With the current array of musicians in the band the bar is higher than ever before.”

The band is scheduled to perform its “Seanchaidh” concert on Wednesday, August 13, at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall before the World Pipe Band Championships.

“The show at the GRCH is on,” Livingstone said, “and all of that material is in great shape – the work on it having been underway for two years. After its maiden voyage in Springfield, we’ve tightened and improved it enormously. It will be great.”

The Fort Erie games promises to be one of the better Grade 1 contests of the year, with City of Washington and the 78th Highlanders (Halifax) making the distant trek to compete.

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