The Grade 2 New Westminster Police Pipe Band of British Columbia plans to take a break during the whole of the 2013 season, hoping to regroup for a 2014 campaign, after the retirement of 17-year Pipe-Major Angus MacPherson and the loss of Leading-Drummer Cam Dodson to Grade 1 Dowco-Triumph Street.
“The band will definitely not be competing next season,” MacPherson said. “There’s a fair bit of optimism that it will re-group in time for the following year. The pipe section has remained mostly intact so the new leadership’s first task will be to re-build the side line. It is our hope the band will rebound and once again be a force in Grade 2 whether pursuing the World Championship, North American Championship or the B.C. Pipers’ Grand Aggregate.”
After a long and successful career in pipe bands, including many as a founding member and pipe-sergeant of Triumph Street during that band’s first stint in Grade 1 in the 1970s and ’80s, Angus MacPherson moved from New Westminster to Powell River, British Columbia. As Pipe-Major of New Westminster Police (known as Maple Ridge until 2007), he led the group to a Grade 2 win at the 2011 North American Championships. The band won their Grade 2 qualifying heat at the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships, finishing sixth in the Final.
“Keeping members has been a significant challenge for the band over the past three seasons in particular,” MacPherson added. “Grade 2, worldwide, is probably the toughest grade to maintain stability and consistency in the ranks. When the Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 3 band decided to change to an adult band our source for younger players essentially disappeared. The band has always had a significant out-of-town contingent . . . as well as throughout B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan, but many factors dictated the end of that tradition, not the least of which is the world economy.”
The Maple Ridge Pipe Band started in 1948.
Following the defection of almost all of the Grade 2 Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band members to the current Dowco-Triumph Street, a relationship was struck between the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and the New Westminster Police Pipe Band in 2006. The affiliation essentially fizzled a few years later.
The Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 3 band was promoted to Grade 2 by the RSPBA in the association’s recent grading announcements. The BCPA also upgraded the band. It is not known if they will appeal.
The band will reportedly continue to compete in Grade 3 in the British Columbia circuit.
MacPherson concluded, “I would like to thank all the current and past members of the band for their support, dedication and effort in keeping the Maple Ridge/New Westminster Police’s reputation of playing good music while having fun doing it.”