September 30, 1999

Pipe band world moves into migratory season

The echoes of the final march past have only just ended, and the pipe band world (at least in the Northern hemisphere) has commenced its yearly off-season of members leaving and joining bands.

Arthur Cooke, lead drummer of the Grade 1 Polkemmet Pipe Band of Whitburn, Scotland, has decided to return to the Lothian & Borders Police, a band he played with previously. Cooke is a former winner of the World Solo Drumming Championship.

Both Polkemmet and Lothian & Borders Police are thought to be on the brink of being relegated to Grade 2 by the RSPBA, and Cooke’s move may simultaneously save the police band and sink Polkemmet.

As reported earlier, Michael Grey resigned as Pipe Major of the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band in early September. John Elliott, Pipe major of the band before Grey took over, has resumed command.

According to Elliott, “We have lost two side drummers, who have already been replaced by three side drummers, and we lost one piper who was going to leave the band anyway. The rest of the band members have no intention of leaving and are as determined as myself to keep the band moving forward. We have also picked up five new pipers so far with the potential of more joining.”

The highly successful Dumbarton & District Pipe Band is allegedly on the brink of collapse, as its Pipe Major, Mark Bennett, has decided to resurrect the Torphichen & Bathgate Pipe Band. Torphichen was one of the oldest bands in the world until it ceased operating several years ago.

The majority of the Dumbarton pipe section is apparently coming along with Bennett to Torphichen. Torphichen is expected to compete in Grade 2 in 2000.


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