Chalk one up for pipes|drums’ panelists: the Fearless Forecast that longtime House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead Pipe-Major Robert Mathieson would join another band has come to fruition, with the five-time World Championship winning pipe-major signing on with six-time winners Simon Fraser University of Vancouver.
SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee confirmed that Mathieson will play with the band “for 2011 and beyond,” including at least six contests, several in British Columbia. He will reportedly spend an extended period of time in the Vancouver area over the summer before travelling with the band to compete at the World Championships.
After his surprise announcement to step down as Shotts pipe-major in August 2010, Mathieson played the rest of the season with the band before quietly stepping aside altogether in December. Shotts is now led by Gavin Walker.
“I am thrilled to have Rob Mathieson – a living legend – join our ranks,” said Lee. “My relationship with Rob goes back to the Polkemmet days of the early 1980s. There has always been a mutual respect between our bands that carried on through the Shotts years. I look forward to having the musical force and genius of Rob Mathieson in our midst, and know that our band members are looking forward to his addition with tremendous excitement.”
Mathieson will also be an instructor at Piping Hot-Summer Drummer, the annual week-long July workshop that SFU coordinates.
“It took me all of two seconds to grab this [opportunity] with both hands,” Mathieson commented. “Terry Lee and his SFU pipe band are, and always have been, a serial tour de force in the pipe band world. Our respect and friendship goes back more years than I would care to remember and I am looking forward to this challenge, which has me really fired up and motivated. Who would have thought it: me playing alongside Terry Lee, Jack Lee, Reid Maxwell and the huge talent within the ranks of SFU? It doesn’t get any better than that. I am very honoured to get the chance to play with this particular group of musicians and very thankful to Terry for this great opportunity.”
The SFU Grade 1 band celebrates its thirtieth anniversary this spring, and Terry Lee said that details on celebrations to mark the occasion will be revealed soon.
He also reported that the Grade 1 band’s snare section numbers 12, including the addition of former Toronto Police Leading-Drummer Doug Stronach, and that Nicola Purvis of New Zealand and Owen Russell of Minnesota, formerly of Auckland & District and the 78th Fraser Highlanders, have joined as tenor drummers. Lee said the band has 26 pipers on its roster.
Mathieson joining SFU follows the similar development of long-time 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band Pipe-Major Bill Livingstone resigning his position, subsequently leaving the band and then joining cross-town rivals Toronto Police in February 2011.
Robert Mathieson was the subject of an exclusive four-part pipes|drums Interview in 2008.