Published: September 30, 2009

Peel Police enjoy player windfall; create feeder-band system

The Grade 1 Peel Regional Police of Brampton, Ontario, has confirmed the addition of 14 new players – nine pipers, three snare-drummers and two tenor-drummers – to its ranks, each vying for a spot on the maximum number of 45 total players.
 
Pipe-Major John Cairns says that he and Leading-Drummer Graham Brown and mid-section coordinator Andrew Elliott agreed on the 45-player total based on a pipe section of 22-to-26 pipers, eight-to-10 snares, seven tenors and a bass.
 
In addition to the previously reported additions of Adrian Melvin and Jake Watson to Peel’s pipe section, Cairns said that Jason Briscoe, Wayne Kennedy, Joel Kimball, Jon Maffett, Andy Millman, James Stewart and Mike Wood have joined. Stewart is the former pipe-major of the now defunct Grade 1 Windsor Police Pipe Band.
 
Ian Bell, Sean Donaldson and Nathan McLaren have joined as snare drummers; Jeremy Evans and Sarah McLaren tenors.
 
“We find ourselves in a very interesting position, because we made an agreement with the Police department last year that we would limit the number of players in the band,” Cairns said. “When I joined last year, a number of new players also joined and the band nearly doubled in size. Understandably, the police department became concerned that this might be an annual occurrence and asked . . . how many pipers and drummers do [you] actually need? As we have no desire to have an unlimited number of pipers and drummers, we agreed on a ceiling for membership.”
 
Cairns said that a total of 32 pipers are committed to trying to make the cut, and “another four or five” are “considering coming out.” With so many players, he says that those who don’t immediately make the cut will be told why and given until December 25th to correct things. If they still can’t meet the standard they will be let go from the roster of the Grade 1 band.
 
Rather than letting them go completely, Cairns said that they will have the opportunity to play in a new feeder-band system.
 
Cairns revealed that the Penatangore Pipe Band of Kincardine, Ontario, will be directed by Watson, and the band plans to apply to compete in Grade 2and will bring practices closer to Toronto to accommodate more members. Kincardine is approximately three hours from Toronto by car.
 
Cairns also said that the Peel Regional Police pipe band organization intends to start a “Juvenile Pipe Band training program” in the fall of 2010. The program will be open to players younger than 18.

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