The Grade 1 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) have a new Pipe-Major. Alex Gandy of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, has stepped in to the post, replacing leader Roderick MacLean who had led the band for more than 10 years.
MacLean reportedly had been considering stepping down for several years, meanwhile guiding the band to considerable success, including victories at the Kincardine Scottish Fesitival in Ontario and second-place finishes at the North American Championships in 2010 and 2011.
At 22 years old, Gandy becomes one of the youngest Grade 1 band pipe-majors in history. He has had a successful solo piping career already, winning, among other prizes the Open Jigs at the Argyllshire Gathering and the 2011 William Livingstone Sr. Memorial.
“It’s very exciting for me to take over the band where I started,” Gandy said. “I think that I’ll be trying my best to combine my years of experience with Field Marshal Montgomery and what I’ve learned throughout my full piping career to further the band. I’m very lucky to walk into a band that isn’t on its way down, but has been improving over the last couple of years.”
According to sources close to the band, the change was completely amicable.
“I have enjoyed my time immensely but feel that this change is in the best interests of the organization,” MacLean said. “Ten years is not that long a time but I think organizations need regular rejuvenation in order to grow and improve. I believe Alex can help provide us that new spark of energy and I am confident the group will continue to improve under his stewardship.”
Gandy said that Roderick MacLean will remain with the band as a Pipe-Sergeant.
“For myself, I plan to be part of the organization for a good long time to come,” Maclean continued. “Pipe bands have been my passion since I was eight years old and I’m looking forward to the 2012 contest season as eagerly as ever. Accordingly, I plan to support the Grade 1 corps in a second Pipe-Sergeant’s role along with Bruce [Gandy] and put some additional efforts into beefing up our developmental program.”
“Our immediate plans are still to be decided on over the next couple months after discussing with the members and other leaders of the band,” Gandy continued.
Under MacLean, 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) won the North American Championship in 2003. The band has not competed in Scotland since 2007.