Published: September 30, 2011

Peel Police hit studio, stage for CD, concert; add to roster

Many bands after a grueling competition season take several weeks or even months off before regrouping, but the Grade 1 Peel Regional Police almost went straight from the Toronto airport after returning from Glasgow and into practices for both a studio album recording and a full-length concert. And the band has already augmented its roster with several key additions.

The concert will be on October 15th at the Cawthra Park Secondary School in Mississauga, Ontario, near the band’s home-base of Brampton. With tickets priced at $20, the event is scheduled to begin at 8 pm. All proceeds from the concert will go the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a charity designated by the band’s police-force sponsor. Joining the band on stage will be the Celtic folk group Scantily Plaid, the Scottish Dance Company of Canada and emcee Ken Eller.

Even after failing to qualify for the Grade 1 Final at the 2011 World’s, the reigning North American Champions are more determined than ever to take things to the next level, according to Pipe-Major John Cairns, and another of their projects is a full-length CD that will feature much of the content to be performed at the concert.

“When I came to the band three years ago, I recognized two things: That I needed to develop a band that had a strong nucleus of local players, that would allow us to work together as a band on a regular basis and also support the activities of our sponsor, the Peel Regional Police,” Cairns said. “In order to achieve this, we would need to be patient and develop the talent that was in the band and any of the new young, local players that we decided to bring to the band.”

He said that the band’s next phase includes bringing in “quality, experienced players to augment the solid nucleus.” Cairns confirmed that among the additions is John Walsh, most recently a member of Shotts & Dykehead and earlier the former Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Halifax Police and Pipe-Sergeant of the 78th Fraser Highlanders. He said that veteran pipers James Cowie and Steve MacNeil have also been added and that “there are more notable names to be added to our roster very soon.”

Cairns said that creating a CD has a purpose beyond the product and record of the band’s musical talent.

“Anyone who has been through the process will understand how hard it is to record a CD and recognize that every member of the band must work extremely hard to prepare,” he commented. “The time in the studio itself, also allows us to identify those players in the band who can rise to a higher level and in a way, creates that ‘line in the sand’ that makes it easy for us to see who will be moving forward with us next year.”

When asked whether members of the band may lack motivation after missing the Grade 1 Final, Cairns responded, “We have been up front with everyone from the beginning and every member of the band bought into the direction we took the last few years. Now, they are all hungrier than ever to take that next step and it was easy to get the band members fired up for these projects. Everyone keeps talking about the great starting point that we will be at when we begin our practice schedule in November.”

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