Published: March 31, 2012

78th Frasers skipping Maxville for more Scottish time

The 12-time North American Champion 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band on Ontario will miss this year’s Maxville competition in favour of more contest time in Scotland before the 2012 World Championships.

Pipe-Major Doug MacRae cited travel costs and depth of competition in Scotland and other Ontario contests as the motivating factors in the decision to spend a full two weeks in the UK, taking in as many as three additional Scottish competitions.

“We want a North American title just as much as the next band, but have made the decision for this year in determining what is best for the band in the long run,” MacRae said. “We are fortunate that in addition to the local [Ontario] bands, many others from outside Ontario travel to compete at other Ontario games giving us an opportunity to test our mettle against North America’s finest before making it to Maxville. With Maxville being the week before the World’s, this is an opportunity for the band to compete against some others from Scotland prior to the World’s.”

Several Grade 1 bands from outside of Ontario, including the 78th Highland (Halifax Citadel), City of Chicago, City of Washington and Oran Mor, are expected to make appearances at either or both of the Georgetown and Kincardine games.

“With our band being self-funded by the members, the journey to Maxville and Scotland is a burden, so this will help the pocket book of each member,” MacRae continued. “The pipe section has a new set-up this year in bags and reeds and could use the extra time to acclimate our instruments we transition between two extremely different climates.”

He said that the pipe section has made a move to Warnock chanter reeds, natural Gannaway pipe bags and basic tube water traps, rather than synthetic bags and Ross canister moisture control systems.

According to MacRae, personnel numbers in the 78th Frasers are strong, with a roster of 25 pipers, eight snares, four tenors and a bass, with many more members living more locally making practices better attended and more productive than in the past. He added that the band will perform a Friday concert at the Alma Highland Festival on May 25thwith a “new and growing repertoire that we imagine will be well received by those in attendance,” as well as concerts planned for the eastern United States in the fall.

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