July 31, 2010

One-hour CBC documentary on SFU, RMM to air August 7th

All too often mainstream coverage of anything to do with Highland bagpipes is full of ridicule, jokes and derision, but a new one-hour documentary on Simon Fraser University and the Robert Malcolm Memorial pipe bands’ 2009 trips to Scotland will be aired on CBC television on Saturday, August 7th, at 10 pm EDT.

Battle of the Bagpipes: A Journey to the World Pipe Band Championship tracks both bands’ August 2009 trip to Scotland. The film was produced by Jordan Paterson, of Simon Fraser University’s Learning Instruction and Development Centre, and focus on both groups as they prepare to compete at Glasgow Green in 2009 – where SFU eventually successfully defended its 2008 title by winning Grade 1.

According to SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee, the film focuses primarily on eight players from the two Vancouver-based bands, considering how pipers and drummers of different generations go about their craft to prepare for competition.

“The film tells the story well, it captures the mood and spirit of the band as we prepare for what has become a defining moment for us every year,” Lee said.

“We wanted to tell the story of the band’s rise to the top at the Worlds through the eyes of these incredibly talented pipers and drummers, and of the sacrifices they’ve made to get there, Paterson added.


Publicity for the movie include comparisons with The Beatles


  1. KMartin, Ringo wasn’t even the best drummer in The Beatles! 😉 SFU can do what they like, and will. It’s a good and worthwhile venture. Self-confidence is a good thing, being full of yourself is just plain boring. The Beatles analogy” can easily be taken out of context but it doesn’t make sense in any case. Just play pipes and drums

  2. SFU is a class act. I’m betting this documentary will be first-class too. I’m sorry they won’tl likely run it south of the border, and I hope it comes a DVD eventually.

  3. It’s an called an analogy–a loose one, at that–and the fact that you’re getting upset about it is pretty amusing. Didn’t John Lennon compare the success of the Beatles to that of Jesus? I don’t recall Jesus recording any platinum records. Well, if the Beatles were narcissistic, it certainly didn’t hinder their album sales. Somebody needs to lighten up…

  4. A good concept and I wish them well with it. Good to see an in-house SFU product has been taken up by a media stream. Tend to agree that The Beatles comment was tacky and made me cringe, especially when made by someone who appears young enough to have not been alive when SFU first played at the worlds. Somewhat void of class and humility. When you’re good enough, there’s no need to tell people. They already know.

  5. oh dear….never believe your own hype and never pose as an Indy Rock band for a piping thing I usually stay out of this sort of thing, but oh dear

  6. I know drummers have to put up with a lot from pipers during their lives, but I’m wondering what Reid Maxwell will be thinking about being considered the Ringo Starr of the pipe band world by one of his own band. The rooftop gig awaits the U2 of pipe bands.

  7. If the SFU Pipe Band are the Beatles then who are the Rolling Stones of the pipe band world? Aerosmith? Jethro Tull? Oh yes…..Bill, RU really Ian Anderson in disguise? LOL!! Anyone know of any pipe bands that throw TV sets out of hotel windows? Cheers, Doc

  8. Slamming the band for a comment like that seems a little petty. This documentary is for a non-piping audience and I thought that was an appropriate comparison that an average person that does not understand the piping world would understand. Was it the most humble comment? No, but so what? Let’s face it, we ALL wish we could play and sound like SFU and they are THE standard. They deserve that status they’ve earned. I marvel at what the Lee’s have done over the last nearly 30 years. Go SFU!

  9. Maybe Alastair Lee just really likes the Beatles? I agree, he’s just trying to make a (somewhat loose) analogy for those in the non-piping world. Way to go! Can’t wait to see the programme on The big blue machine” “

  10. A tenuous link I know, but the session drummer in the Beatles first single ‘Love Me Do’ was Andy White, a Scotsman who had played in pipe bands apparently. Just remember, evolution doesn’t always move in a straight line. LOL!



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