October 31, 2009

Stuart Highlanders set sights on the top

By more than doubling the band’s pipe section since the end of the season, the Grade 3 Stuart Highlanders of Boston are looking to move to Grade 2 for 2010 after a nearly undefeated 2009 campaign.
The band has picked up 13 newcomers, several of whom have Grade 1 experience. Eleven pipers and two snare drummers bring the band’s roster total to 33.
Pipers joining are Warren Adam, Johnny Bassett, Graeme Blackman, Andrew Choate,
Dan Cole, Patrick Downing, Kennie Farrigan, Matt Farrigan, Andrew McIntosh, Tammy Pratt and Avens Ridgeway; snare drummers are Bonnie Fletcher and Quinn McCormack.
“We are truly excited to welcome so many skilled and accomplished players to the Stuart Highlanders,” said Adam Holdaway. “For too many years, [New England] has lacked a Grade 1 band. As a result, dozens and dozens of top-notch players have been forced to travel across North America in order to compete at a high level. We’re extremely proud of our performance over this past season and feel the unusually high number of roster additions is a testament to our current success and potential as a world renowned band. We’re hopeful that the ultimate recognition of our hard work will be an upgrade by the EUSPBA to Grade 2.”
The Boston area has not had a Grade 1 band since the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band of the 1960s, ’70s and party of the 1980s. But since then the United States has seen a rise in top-level bands. Currently there are three active Grade 1 bands based in the US: City of Washington, Los Angeles Scots and Oran Mor.
“If the Stuart Highlanders continue their momentum, you could well see them be in Grade 1 by 2011,” said a piper with a top US pipe band who asked that his name be omitted from the story.
The band placed second in Grade 3 at the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, losing to Scotland’s George Watson’s College.
The Stuart Highlanders are planning to travel to Scotland in 2011 for the World Pipe Band Championships.




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