After more than a decade as Lead-Drummer, Doug Stronach has resigned from the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band. He said that his current plans do not include playing with the Toronto Police, or any band specifically, but possibly would like to play as a corps member somewhere.
No successor to Stronach has yet been named and, according to Pipe-Major Ian K. MacDonald, the band has started a search.
Stronach is a professional musician and teacher, and operates a successful recording studio and production company. He has produced several piping and drumming recordings, including Bill Livingstone’s 2009 Northern Man project and the recently released Toronto Police CD, Live at the El Mocambo.
“I have opportunities with other parts of my music career that need my focus and attention right now,” Stronach said. “The job of leading-drummer just needs more time, energy and dedication than I have available at this point. I have no immediate plans to join any other band but would like to continue playing as a corps member somewhere. I’ll see what opportunities appear in the next couple of months and make a decision from there.”
In late August of this year, the Toronto Police travelled to Scotland to compete at the Cowal Pipe Band Championships, and finished last in the Grade 1 medley competition, playing one of their controversial selections. For the last three years the band has introduced medleys that are a departure from more familiar pipe band music, resulting in lively discussion throughout the pipe band world.
“Scotland’s results were definitely not my reason to leave,” Stronach added. “The band knew what they were getting into by going to Scotland and playing the music we did. The result was expected. In fact, the opposite is truer: the new music that Toronto Police presented gave us all reasons to stay. However raw it sometimes appeared, the music offered a chance to explore possibilities in pipe band drumming and ensemble that would have taking a whole lifetime and more to experience anywhere else. For that, I’m eternally grateful to [Pipe-Major Ian K. MacDonald, Michael Grey] and the entire band outfit and wish them all the very best in their future endeavors.”
The band has been competing with modified Premier snare drums designed by Stronach and the well known drumming instructor and percussion instruments dealer, Hugh Cameron. It is also not known if the band will continue to use the drums.
Stronach’s departure is the third lead-drummer resignation from a Grade 1 band in the last week, following Arthur Cook of the Lothian & Borders Police and Paul Turner of Robert Wiseman Dairies-Vale of Atholl.