The Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band has added former 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band Pipe-Major Bill Livingstone to its roster. Livingstone committed to playing with the band after attending a practice on February 6th and joins several pipers with whom he once played in the 78th Frasers.
Livingstone had been with the 78th Fraser Highlanders for 29 years, all of them as pipe-major, and was a founder of the group. He left the band in August 2010 after resigning as pipe-major following a string of disappointing showings at the World Pipe Band Championships and a 2010 Ontario season during which his band did not win a competition. He announced his departure after Doug MacRae was elected Pipe-Major of the 78th Fraser Highlanders in September 2010.
Now playing under Pipe-Major Ian K. MacDonald, Livingstone joins former band-mates Michael Grey and Brian Pollock, as well as former 78th Frasers Pipe-Sergeant Sean McKeown and piper John Hugh MacDonald, who also departed the 78th Frasers in late-2010.
“Continuing to play in the 78th as a corps piper was my initial intention when I stepped down,” Livingstone said. “But the actual business of letting go has been much more difficult than I imagined. Knowing how much I loved the band, and the music we have strived to produce, I began to see that I would likely be fairly grumpy about things if they weren’t what I would have done. Rather than put myself in that situation I decided not to play at all. But I’m a player, and while I have had a somewhat freakishly long career, I can still play.”
Livingstone added that he sees his new band as “a pretty inventive outfit, and they’re willing to throw their hat over the windmill and I love that. Clearly they focus their energy on moving the music in a fresh direction. It’s a good fit for me.”
The Toronto Police also confirmed that the band will stage a concert on May 21st, returning to the El Mocambo night club where the band performed in 2010 and made a CD from the show. The band also confirmed that it will not be competing at this year’s World Championships.
In other related news, former Toronto Police Leading-Drummer Doug Stronach has joined the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee has confirmed.