Published: October 31, 2010

Overhaul at Pipeband Club, as Nicolson, McConnell step aside

After 10 years as Pipe-Major, Scott Nicolson has resigned from the position at the Grade 1 Pipeband Club of Sydney, Australia. The move follows the resignation of Lead-Drummer Dougal McConnell two weeks ago. Angus Roberts, who served as pipe-sergeant, will stand as pipe-major, while a successor to McConnell has not yet been confirmed.

Both former-leaders have said that their intention is to stay with the band. While typical of timing for northern hemisphere bands, the moves come on the brink of the start of the competition season for bands in the southern hemisphere.

Nicolson credited his decision to his personal uncertain work environment, the time and effort needed to lead a top-flight pipe band and his need to spend more time with family.

“I have given this decision a tremendous amount of thought; it is not one that I have taken lightly,” Nicolson said to pipes|drums. “It has been a long hard but enjoyable 10 years as Pipe-Major.”

The Pipeband Club is the first Australian band since the 1998 World Champions Victoria Police to make more than five consecutive trips to the World’s, and under Nicolson’s tenure the band achieved two Australian Pipe Band Championships in Grade 1 (2008, 2010), a contest that is held every other year. The band moved to the premier grade after the 2007 season, when it finished third in Grade 2 at the World Championships for the second consecutive year.

Reports from within the band indicated that a significant loss of personnel was occurring. The band’s annual meeting is set for October 16th. Under the band’s constitution, the Pipe-Major position must be approved annually by the band’s membership, and a special meeting can be called at any time should five per cent of members make a request to the secretary.

Two years ago the organization went through a major shakeup with its sponsor, The Band Club St. Mary’s, and eventually split from the closely held group.

The Pipeband Club finished 22nd in Grade 1 at the 2010 World Championships, failing to qualify for the Final.

The changes are the latest of many post-World’s moves by Grade 1 bands. Substantial leadership changes have been announced by the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Lothian & Borders Police, Robert Wiseman Dairies-Vale of Atholl and the  Toronto Police. House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead startled the pipe band world when Pipe-Major Robert Mathieson resigned in August only nine days before the World Championships.

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