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At time when the world’s pipe bands are finding it increasingly difficult to sustain quality and numbers, a new band has formed in Ontario, with hopes of competing in Grade 2 in 2009. Sponsored by the Highland outfitters of the same name, the Burnett’s & Struth Pipe Band will be led by Simon Connolly with Teddy Barr running the drum section.
Several members of the pipe section reportedly come from the Grade 3 Flint Scottish Pipe Band of Michigan, and Connolly’s older brother, Jamie, the former pipe-major of several successful Grade 2 bands over the years, will be in the ranks. Sixteen pipers are listed on the band’s roster.
Jamie Connolly was most recently Pipe-Major of the now defunct MacNaughton Highlanders, a Grade 2 band. He has been Pipe-Major of two successful Grade 2 bands: the Toronto Transit Commission and Celtic Flair, the latter of which reached Grade 1 for a season.
“We’re really at a Grade 3 level at the moment due to the newer players and short timeline, but we’re striving to raise that level through some hard work and a bit of recruiting,” said Mike Connolly, also a piper with the new band. Barr has 12 drummers so far.
Mike Connolly said that the sponsorship is non-monetary, with the company supplying uniforms. He added that R.G. Hardie has provided a set of Peter Henderson plastic chanters to try, but the band has not yet decided if it will play them or the blackwood McCallum chanters it already has.