September 30, 2008

Cairns leaves 78th Frasers for Peel P-M post

In the latest shake-up of top bands, Glenn Brown has stepped down as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, and John Cairns, former Pipe-Sergeant of the Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders, has taken the post.
Brown, who lives in Glasgow, has joined the Grade 1 ScottishPower Pipe Band. Graham Brown, Glenn Brown’s brother, will continue as Lead-Drummer at Peel Police.
Glenn Brown had become Pipe-Major of Peel following the 2007 season, taking over from long-serving leader John Elliott. Brown had at the time moved back to Milton, Ontario, after living in Scotland and playing with the House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band for six years, but then decided to move back to Scotland to be closer to his Scottish girlfriend.
“I am honoured to accept the invitation to become the new Pipe-Major of the Peel Regional Police, and am delighted to begin working with all of the talented musicians in this band.,” Cairns said. “With a continued level of commitment, dedication and teamwork, I am confident that the band will achieve continued success on the pipe band circuit. Although I will miss working with the wonderful people in the Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders and wish them success, this exciting new venture is one I look forward to.”
Cairns has played with the Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders for 12 years and in the last 10 played a significant role in the band’s musical arrangements. A full-time teacher of piping through his Bagpipe Solutions business, Cairns brought several of his pupils to the band, and six of them will reportedly follow him to the Peel Police.
“Due to living in Glasgow, I have decided to step down as Pipe-Major of the Peel Police,” Glenn Brown said. “I’d like to thank everyone in the band especially John Elliott and my brothers Blair and Graham for the opportunity I was given.  I feel as though the band had a really good year and I wish them all the best.  I am sure that Graham, Blair and John Cairns will make a great team and continue the progress the band has made the last few seasons. I am very much looking forward to playing with [ScottishPower] and continuing on with the solos.”
Under Brown’s guidance, Peel maintained a solid Grade 1 standard, and competed at the 2008 World Championships, but did not manage to qualify for the Final competition.
Before joining the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Cairns led the now defunct Grade 1 Scotsaire and St. Thomas pipe bands. As a solo piper he had much success, including winning both Gold Medals in 1999 and the 2004 Bratach Gorm.
The change comes on the heels of other post-season shake-ups, including changes in leadership at Vale of Atholl, Clan Gregor, Lanark & District and Lomond & Clyde, in addition to the complete dissolution of the Grade 1 Windsor Police.


  1. Looking forward to hearing this band next year. It’s ashame there isn’t a preseason in piping, see how the free agents are doing before any actual competitions would be awesome.

  2. Thanks for the clarification. I would figure that it was obvious that John is leaving given that it was the subject of the article. I was more interested in your comment which suggested that a few front row players” may also have left. I take it from your response that this was not the intended message. Andrew Hayes”

  3. Well now, it’s about time that the Ontario scene received a bit of a shakeup. The quality of playing had been slipping (listen to the Georgetown Utube recordings) since most of the talent had migrated over to the Frasers. In fact, at one point there would have been more Fraser pipers watching the contest than playing in it! All the best to John Cairns and the crew at Peel as well as the recently revitalized TPPB. I’m sure that Bill Livingstone will welcome the stiffer competition as it can only serve to improve everyones playing when there is a real horse race going on (besides, its more fun for all).

  4. So let me get this right, John is leaving to become P/M at Peel, and he may have a handful of followers(not def.) so this would leave 78th with the chance to promote some of it’s Hamilton players and makes some moves, right? Sounds like Bill took care of things along time ago. This is far from the band losing players such as Bruce, Michael, John and Jim, over a ten year period, and going through numerous D/S. Good luck to both bands, and good luck to Glenn with Scottish Power, they’ve got to be getting close.

  5. In tough economic times the bands with the lucrative sponsorships tend to attract the players. Pipe bands can be very expensive and Peel has one of the best sponsorships in the world. Let’s not forget that Peel’s LD & PM both receive honorariums for their services as well.



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