New band of leading pipers and drummers formed
A band of all-star pipers and drummers has been formed, with Roddy MacLeod (pictured right) as pipe-major and John Fisher as leading-drummer, featuring a roster that reads like a who’s who of famous players.
According to an exclusive statement to pipes|drums from the new band, the group “will gather at the 2008 World Pipe Band Championship in August.” The statement also said that the band will compete at the World’s, but did not say in which year.
In addition to MacLeod, who led the ScottishPower Pipe Band for many years and is in the category of elite soloists and also is the Director of the National Piping Centre and the Piping Live! Festival, pipers so far signed on with the band are:
- Wilson Brown, Glasgow
- Robert Crozier, Australia
- Alasdair Gillies, Pittsburgh
- Jenny Hazzard, Edinburgh
- Finlay Johnston, Glasgow
- Angus MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland
- Finlay MacDonald, Glasgow
- Simon Marshall, Bathgate, Scotland
- Colin MacLellan, Edinburgh
- Willie McCallum, Bearsden, Scotland
- Jim McGillivray, Aurora, Ontario
- Simon McKerrell, Edinburgh
- Stuart Samson, Edinburgh
- Iain Speirs, Edinburgh
- Niall Stewart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland
The pipe section between them have so far won 14 Highland Society of London Gold Medals.
The renowned soloist Fred Morrison is also alleged to have expressed interest.
John Fisher, who lives in Vancouver, was Leading-Drummer of the 78th Fraser Highlanders from 2003-’04, and before that led the City of Victoria Pipe Band’s corps until the mid-1980s.
The band’s mid-section will be led by Craig Colquhoun, who most recently played with the 78th Fraser Highlanders.
No other drummers so far have been revealed.
“I became aware of a lot of really good pipers and drummers standing watching at the World’s and realized there were a number like me who would enjoy the thrill of playing and competing,” MacLeod said. “However, a full-on commitment to attend year round practices was a stumbling block.
“It seemed a shame not to try to harness that talent to see if we could field a band that could perform at a high level even though we might not get together regularly. The idea was immediately met with enthusiasm – so why not? More and more now we see bands practicing in different units that come together from tremendous distances. It’s a challenge in organization, logistics and teamwork.”
The band so far has not officially registered with the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, but it is thought that its intention is to compete in Grade 1. The group is also in the process of sourcing instruments and uniforms.
A source with the band said that practices will be held in Glasgow, and that much work will be done during the World’s Week when everybody gets together.
The as yet unnamed band is further ahead musically, with the two March, Strathspey & Reels distributed. Simon McKerrell and Finlay MacDonald, who each play in Celtic folk groups, are described as “the creative force behind spearheading the creation of the band’s medley.”
The new band said that other top pipers and drummers have expressed interest in joining.
In 1965 the Invergordon Distillery Pipe Band featured a comparable group of top pipers and drummers. Led by Donald Shaw Ramsay and Alex Duthart, with the likes of John D. Burgess, Bert Barr and John MacDougall in its ranks, the band won several Grade 1 championships until it essentially broke up in 1968.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more details on the new all-star band – jokingly called “Highland Society of London Gold Medals & District” by one observer – as it is made available.
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