January 31, 2010

SFU takes Hosbilt Cup again for Best Bass-Section

The Hosbilt CupBased on new criteria set by the sponsor of the trophy, the winner of the Hosbilt Cup for the Best Bass-Section in Grade 1 at the 2009 World Pipe Band Championships is Simon Fraser University. SFU also won the 2008 trophy.

This year’s award was decided both on popular vote via a pipes|drums Poll, as well as Hosbilt owner Craig Colquhoun’s own judging. Colquhoun is a three-time winner of the award.

In the popular vote, SFU was the winner by a wide margin with 28%, followed by Dowco-Triumph Street (13%), Manawatu Scottish (13%), St. Laurence O’Toole (11%), House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead (9%), Field Marshal Montgomery (8%), Boghall & Bathgate (5%), Australia Highlanders (4%), Strtahclyde Police (3%), Fife Constabulary (2%) and Robert Wiseman Dairies-Vale of Atholl, Cullybackey, ScottishPower and Ballycoan each receiving 1%.

The popular vote.  

Colquhoun’s judging of the event saw the result differently after he applied his own  criteria  of Motion, Rhythm, Sound  and Visuals to his decision.

He personally judged St. Laurence O’Toole to be the best, with SFU second, House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead third and Field Marshal Montgomery fourth. But when combined with the popular vote, he determined that SFU should be the overall winner.

Colquhoun’s comments on the four sections he considered the best, in his personal order of placing:

St. Laurence O’Toole

  • Most consistent between the two runs.

  • Good motion, time and flourishing.

  • Very mature in the placement of the rhythms.

  • Decent drum tone and good interval tuning.

  • Superb use of tacets in the Medley

  • To constructively criticize, if the bass drum were 10-15% louder, more of a  fundamental foundation would be created to match the richness of the band ensemble sound.

  • Score of 37/40 combining both runs.

Simon Fraser University

  • Quite a discrepancy between the two runs.

  • A very mature display throughout in the MSR and not at the same level in the Medley.

  • Good motion, especially from the bass drummer, the fluidity in motion is almost guaranteeing the band a solid metered reference.

  • Watch the speed of the eighth-note triplets and sixteenth-note patterns throughout, open them up.  Superb tuning to the pipes in the MSR run; not as precise in the Medley.

  • The tenor drummers could really help the feel of the ensemble by opening up all “three” rhythms to match the rhythms in the melody.

  • SFU with a score of 33/40.

House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead

  • With the widest range of voicing in the game, and a day where drums and pipes were changing, I’m sure there was much to consider in the two runs from Shotts.

  • Good motion in the pianos, all of the motion work in the tenors is not executed equally.

  • Very mature choice of rhythms and use of space, effective composition choices in the scores.

  • Watch the time playing in the strathspeys.

  • The snare accompaniment has a  very  laid-back,  open feel, this needs to be matched by the mids to get a consistent feel happening throughout.

  • With all of those voices on tenors I would love to hear the entire corps replace the “drum with tube” break.

Field Marshal Montgomery

  • A very consistent approach to all of this band’s music.

  • Very “Haggis”-like motion, which is very comfortable to watch.

  • Some of the “three” rhythms being crammed. Watch the speed of the subdivisions.

  • The clearest, full-bodied tone of the day from the tenors; quite good interval tuning.

  • More work between voicing and more attention to when the voices are being played in the melody could lift this section and the ensemble effect.

  • With a left-handed bass drummer I would like to see and hear the drum with his left hand facing the snare section and not the pipes.

  • It would be easier to align the beat “ones” if there was sonic and visual communication happening here between the bass and lead drummers.

The awarding of the Hosbilt Cup via pipes|drums was started by Colquhoun after the RSPBA eliminated the Best Bass award at the World’s following the 2007 season.


  1. Andrew, popular vote” being the two operative words here. A Canadian band ‘wins’ a voting contest on a Canadian website…

  2. Congratulations SFU! Very interesting comments from Hoss. I wonder if any of the bands will be miffed that the comments were posted online? Even so… I’d love to see the comments from the rest of the bands listed 🙂

  3. Must say I’m a little puzzled as I thought that SLOT was a runaway with the popular vote online. Maybe I misred the stats? However, I respect Hoss’s analysis and would agree with his overall assessment and commentary.

  4. Lawrie – the magazine’s readership over the last year is, by visitors’ countries of origin: UK-33%. Canada-30%. USA-20%. Australia-4%. NZ-2%. Ireland-2%. France-1%. Germany-1%.

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