December 31, 2007

UPDATED: Triumph Street promoted to Grade 1; gains new sponsorship

At a special meeting called on December 30th, the Board of Directors of the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) unanimously approved the promotion of the Triumph Street Pipe Band to Grade 1. The upgrade came after several months of the association being unable to make a formal grading recommendation due to an impasse within its grading committee.

In addition, Triumph Street has secured a new sponsorship with the Dowco Group, a BC-based steel detailing company, and has changed its official name to “Dowco-Triumph Street.” Terms of the sponsorship were not disclosed.

Regarding the upgrade Hilder said, “I am hopeful that [with] the decision [to Grade 1] we can move forward and really build the band for the future. We are looking forward to it.”

Hilder said that the Chairman and CEO of Dowco, Hugh Dobbie Sr., approached him about sponsoring the band because Dobbie was a side drummer as a youth in Scotland.

“He has always wanted to sponsor a pipe band so when he approached me it was an offer that caught my attention, and was a perfect match,” Hilder said. “Along with our other sponsors Odlum Brown ltd. and David Naill and Co. we are very pleased with the long awaited upgrade to Grade 1.”

Hilder added that Dowco-Triumph Street plans to travel to the Costa Mesa Highland Games in California in May, and the North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, in August.

The Triumph Street story over the past year has been extraordinary. After the Robert Malcolm Memorial II (RMM2) band won the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships, the band was recommended for promotion to Grade 1 by both the BCPA and the RSPBA.

Subsequently, the Simon Fraser University organization, of which RMM2 was a part, applied to have the band remain in Grade 2, citing a drop in key personnel. With that, all members of the RMM2 decided to defect from the SFU organization, and then merged with the Grade 3 Triumph Street Pipe Band.

The new Triumph Street then requested to compete in Grade 2, which the BCPA approved. The band went on to win every contest it played in in 2007, including the North American Championships.

In October, the grading committee of the BCPA could not reach a decision on Triumph Street’s grading for 2008 due to committee members abstaining from voting, citing conflict of interest. It was then decided to delay all band grading recommendations until a special meeting could be held.

Dowco Triumph Street’s upgrade brings the total number of Canadian Grade 1 bands to nine, and the worldwide number to 39.

The world’s 39 Grade 1 bands:

Australia Highlanders
City of Blacktown
Queensland Highlanders
St. Mary’s Band Club
Western Australia Police

78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel)
Alberta Caledonia
Dowco Triumph Street
Fredericton Society of St. Andrew
Peel Regional Police
Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders
Simon Fraser University
Toronto Police
Windsor Police

New Zealand
Canterbury Caledonian Society
City of Wellington
Dalewool Auckland & District
Hamilton Caledonian
Manawatu Scottish Society
New Zealand Police

Northern Ireland
Ballinderry Bridge
Bleary & District
Field Marshal Montgomery

St. Laurence O’Toole

Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
Clan Gregor Society
Dysart & Dundonald
House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead
Lothian & Borders Police
Robert Wiseman Dairies-Vale of Atholl
Strathclyde Police
Tayside Police

United States of America
City of Washington
Los Angeles Scottish
Oran Mor
Prince Charles


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  1. Respectfully, Sandy, I have to disagree with your commentary. The analogy you employed in an attempt to prove your point, does not follow a logical sequence. While you funded your children’s musical education, supported them in their endeavour, and provided assistance to them, the SFU organization did a great degree more, in relation to the development of the current incarnation of Triumph Street. I could go through the roster name-by-name, but to do so would be pointless; you will, no doubt, agree that the vast majority of players in the Dowco-Triumph Street Pipe Band have been strongly influenced by SFU, or members of SFU. Indeed, all three of the bands’ leaders (Dave, Shauna, and Andre) played in SFU for multiple World Championship wins. Does this mean that SFU is responsible for their current success? Certainly not; however, it does suggest that SFU played a role in some way.” One might also note that James Troy can also be seen to have played a role in some way

  2. Sandy The exact quote from Terry Lee is we would play a part in that evolution in some way.” I think you’re taking advantage of the vague nature of that statement by interpreting it as “making them who they are today.” The leadership of TSPB won theWorlds more than once with SFUPB. Does that not mean that SFUPB played a part in their evolution? When the band was RMM2 any bystander would have witnessed the SFUPB leadership assisting the band at practices and in the tuning area. Is that not playing a part? The drive and passion is given. If the band members didn’t have it

  3. I am so happy that for (one) Dowco Triumph street pipe band has justly so been upgraded to grade one (without having to apply) and (two) that B.C pipers assoc. has finally revamped their band grading committee so there will no longer be any conflicts of interest between different bands involved. I truly wish Mr. Hilder and his group nothing but the best in their future endevours as they are a first class bunch.

  4. This means SFU will win the Worlds in 2008. Here’s why: SFU have been one of the world’s top bands for all these years while playing only one contest each year (The Worlds). Imagine how good they will be when they are pushed every weekend from May through the Worlds.

  5. So much speculation about nothing concrete. The SFU Pipe Band has been a great band because it seeks challenges, and always has. SFU started as the weak sister in a three-band field, and after blowing the doors off local competition, turned to the world stage, where it has excelled for 25 years. The new Triumph Street Pipe Band has proven itself in Grade 2, and will be ready for the Grade 1 challenge, and I suspect that SFU will be ready, and eager, to compete. It’s a good news story for the BC scene. Competition is good; more bands makes it more fun. Congratulations to TSPB on two back-to-back great seasons, and to SFU for getting the ball rolling in the first place, and making RMM2’s original success possible. This is a great result for all.

  6. Dear Iain I to belive this to is a good news story. Its just to bad SFU did not promote this right from the start. In fact I think if inspector Clusso had looked into this he would have found that they were the ones actually trying to stop Triumph street from becoming a grade one band. But then that would have been done over his dead body!

  7. It’s CLOUSSEAU, by the way. But anyways the world’s most famous detective would haphazardly discover that this arrangement is better. The SFU organization was already under a lot of local scrutiny, being the called the Borg what with a sea of Ancient Fraser kilts dominating the local band scene in all grades. Many felt the scene was stifled by it. Now it has opened up and yet the critics still aren’t happy… or maybe there are just new critics. What’s unfortunate is the impulse to assume that the SFU leaderships’ reasons for not supporting the RMM2 upgrade were selfish and petty. If anything, that impulse of judgement is selfish and petty. If you want to know what the reasons were, read Terry Lee’s comments from the November 23, 2006 P|D story. The right decision isn’t always the popular one. Now with an independent organization and sponsorship, and growth in membership TSPB (née RMM2) is meeting the goals that Terry Lee stated were required for the band to be a sustainable grade 1 band. Whisper words of wisdom.

  8. I do apologize for getting inspector Clousseau’s name spelt incorrectly. My point was not that SFU didn’t support having RMM 2 a grade 1 band within their organization, I think the article Terry Lee wrote in 2006 did have some merit, but between 2006 and 2007 things changed what I thought were for the better. RMM2 was dissolved and the majority of that band then became the Triumph Street pipe band. My point was why then was it such a hard decision for the then BC pipers assoc. grading committe,( most of which at that time were made up of SFU band members) to upgrade this band to grade 1. I must add that I am neither a member of either band, just a pipeband enthusiast, who thought it was time for another grade 1 band in our area. I feel a little embarrassed to say I am from these parts of the pipeband world because of the spectacle that had to take place to get this band upgraded to 1. I truly hope that this is the end of it and both bands do what they do best and thats give us the pleasure of listening to some great pipeband performances.

  9. I have to agree with Iain Macdonald 100% on this issue and might add that this spectacle probably would not have occurred if people did not speculate so much in the beginning. While we struggle in Atlantic Canada with our small population to field a big enough grade 1 band, I cannot tell you how happy we were last year to see the Fredericton band move up so we had to fight every week for that prize. Jack Lee, my very good friend for the past 35 years is in my mind, the very best piping competitor in the world, easily. To even think for a minute that Jack would allow his band to step away from a contest scared of losing before the worlds is absurd in my mind, he would welcome the competition with all doublings ablaze. What I feel is most important here and deserves applause is that none of the members of either band (to my knowledge) have felt it necessary to comment , they are just going about their lives probably laughing at all this speculation. Good luck to both bands this summer and by the way, for the person that said SFU only plays once a year, you might want to check the games to note that whenever possible, AlCal has come to the field to compete against them.

  10. Many thanks to Iain and Bruce for their educational, insightful, articulate, and well-informed responses. I see this as a very positive step for the BC Pipe Band Community, and I applaude the members and leadership of Triumph Street for developing an independent organization, and gaining meaningful sponsorships. When the RMM/SFU split initially ocurred, I argued that we needed to keep quiet, and let personalities and groups sort out these issues on their own; for the most part, I believe this has happened. I will say, however, that I believe a that a serious defect in the way bands are graded in BC has been brought to the fore, and hopefully, the manner in which this issue has been addressed will ensure that grading will no longer be a ‘monkey on the back’ of the the BCPA.

  11. We wish DTSPB all the best in striving to achieve higher goals and have always applauded that endeavour. There are two things I always believed would happen: 1. there would be another Grade 1 band in this area someday 2. we would play a part in that evolution in some way Terry Lee. SFUPB

  12. Did the thread of comments cease after the last one because it ended all speculation regarding whether or not some members of the SFU Pipe Band tried to stop the promotion of the Triumph Street Pipe Band to grade one? In my opinion, no. I believe it was the collective “jaw-dropping” of many readers. After considering the two statements Terry Lee made, I have to agree with them. “1. there would be another Grade 1 band in this area someday” Yes, but then again this is a moot point. With all the talented, hardworking, devoted musicians, why would there not be another grade one band in this area? (now there’s an appropriate lead into comment 2) “2. We would play a part in that evolution in some way” To this I say (and I apologize in advance for altering this quote), “That which does not stop you from becoming a grade one pipe band makes you a stronger grade one pipe band.” They are definitely stronger. Oh, before I forget . . . though I gave birth, raised, paid for lessons, encouraged, drove, volunteered, fundraised, sat as director and on the executive of various organizations, etc. I would never have the audacity to imply that I in any way made my child who they are today. It is their passion for the music and their drive to be the best they can that has brought them to this level of playing. Now I intend to sit back and enjoy the incredible music I never tire of hearing.

  13. Thank you Sandy, you put into words what has been running through my mind for the past day or so. The arrogance and audacity of those comments and their source never cease to amaze!

  14. This particular subject seems to stew and bubble and rehash on a number of forums – I’ve seen so much I felt compelled to hop in. If you’re not in the band – why do you care, why all of the caustic comments etc – those involved know the story, should be enough to let them all get on with it and sort out their own differences on and off the field. It’s great to see another quality band hit the G1 circuit, let’s all just worry about playing music and having fun.

  15. Some-young-guy……… Clearly you are confused. First, this article is not about SFU, although many people feel the need to comment on them (I suspect it is the SFU membership feeling threatened) Second, FMM are the greatest band in the world and have been for several years now. SFU has not been the best for over 6 years……………..

  16. Congratulations to the members of the DTSPB, particularly those who survived the unceremonious dump by SFUPB. You got pushed out of the nest and now you can fly. Did the SFUPB play a part in this success story? Absolutely.

  17. It’s possibly time to lay the hatchet down and while it’s easy to forgive it’ll be impossible to forget what’s happened here. Most people who live in this area know full well what has transpired and if theirs any need for revenge or retaliation, it should be kept to the competition circle. What has been said has perhaps needed to be said but it serves both bands little purpose but instead causes further friction and discontent and even a desire by some to give up this addiction we call a hobby.

  18. I can certainly undertsand your sentiment, Frank. The point here is that Triumph Street has received the upgrade they deserve, and we–once again–have two Grade 1 bands in British Columbia. To me that is a positive, regardless of anything else.

  19. Frank is absolutely correct. I will say though that the SFU organization has contributed a great deal and done a lot of good for the pipe band seen in this neck of the woods, but I also have to say in the past couple of years there have been many situations where they have behaved very badly and not handled them selves with any kind of dignity (more like bullies). I think for a lot of people in this area the rose has staring to wilt. I used to have a great deal of respect for the Lee brothers, but I have to say as of late I no longer do, and I suspect a lot of other people feel the same way. I do hope though that things will eventually settle down and everyone can be happy and enjoy what we do best out here, and thats play good music. But I have a feeling it will take some time for the bitter taste some people have to go away.

  20. To frank Lee…. Frank, the Dunsire Forum is the most balanced platform for piping related discussion on the web. To say critical comments are deleted is patently untrue and extremely insulting to the Moderator team. Unpleasantness, divisive topics and blatent untruths are neither encouraged nor tolerated but balanced discussion on the merits of either the SFU organisation or the BCPA would certainly not be deleted and have happened in the past. Rather than posting ill-informed opinions here why do you not log on th the BDF and raise the points you mention? regards, Willie (Wulls) Galbraith BDF Moderator.

  21. Frank, I am not going to turn this thread into an arguement….this is my final response to the ill-informed opinion you posted here…… has it never occurred to you that a lack of published criticisim may be down to the fact there is not a lot to criticise??????? sour grapes methinks…… You can laugh all you like but I have clearly stated the policy of the BDF moderator team. If you choose not to believe me I won’t loose sleep. Please contact me by email if you wish to continue this . Wulls.

  22. It’s been a breath of fresh air to see others in this area are finally becoming aware of the truth. Frank Lee and Published are 100% correct and it’s about time. We are fed up with the I” and “We” statements.”

  23. Enough is enough. Congrats to DTSPB – They got the promotion and sponsorship because they were earned. DTSPB got screwed over by the SFUPB – but in the end it was the best thing that could have happened to the band.

  24. Confused, SFU is better then FMM. If you think the judging wasn’t biased then your nuts. Listen to Alive in America, Live at Carnegie Hall, and On Home Ground. Then try and sit through Re:Charged. Completely pales in comparison. Heard nothing that SFU hasn’t done, and heard nothing better then what SFU has done, because SFU is a better complete band then the well traveled comp band of FMM. Yeah world, I know we’re talking about the two best bands in the world, but for my $$ SFU is #1. And for those of you trying to tarnish Terry and Jacks reputation, quit whining, your just making the DTSPB look ridiculous in the eyes of all of us who have no clue who they are as people. When written contracts get breached, hire a lawyer. When feelings get boo booed, get a **** tissue and quit your crying. There is a big difference between Grade 2 and Grade 1 and a bigger difference between Grade 2 and the top 6 in Grade 1, let alone the top 2 in Grade 1. DTSPB will have to prove their mettle before you hand them a blue ribbon and Terry the red one. Late.

  25. Those . . . are . . . re-cor-dings . . . ! Don’t let the words “Alive” and “Live” lead you to believe that someone went to an SFU performance and hit the old record button on their tape recorder! In order to make a quality product to sell, there is always some sound editing involved. “On Home Ground” (by SFUPB) was made from 3 separate performances and some studio work. Personally, I quite enjoy listening to the SFU CD’s. Now, competing in Glasgow is a totally different situation from producing a CD. It is a one shot deal each time a band enters the arena. You don’t get to play your MSR over again because a drum head blew as you crossed the line! It all rests on that one, hopefully perfect, moment in time (and if a drum head blows, you keep playing in the air!). No matter how prepared and “perfect” a band may be, there are always events outside of its control (I am not referring to judging). For instance, humidity, wind, and temperature changes during the contest. By the way, maybe you should take your own advice regarding boo boo’s and tissues. Quit your crying about FMM getting first place instead of SFU. As players in other bands will tell you (from experience), crying doesn’t change the results from 2nd to 1st place. Besides that, as the character Morrie so perfectly put it in Tuesdays With Morrie, “what’s so bad about being number 2?” When you really have a passion for the music, you go back to play another day. It is unfortunate that you “have no clue who they [DTSPB] are as people”. May I suggest that you start by looking at some SFU pipe band rosters from the not so distant past? Trust me, they know the difference between a grade 1 and a grade 2 pipe band. As written earlier in this thread of comments, they have earned it.

  26. Dear published who wrote to confused. I don’t think SFU or FMM are any better than each other they both have great things going for them selves as for the people who are trying to tarnish Jack and Terry Lee’s reputation well I think they are doing a pretty good job of it all on there own!!!!!

  27. I find it completely inappropriate that some of these comments are trying to bring down the names of both Jack and Terry Lee. They are both tremendous musicians, leaders and people. And none of these comments have anything to do with the actual article which is that Triumph Street has been upgraded. This is not a thread for ignorance it is a thread for comments on the news that has been writtien. So grow up and enough of the slander. All the best to the band in grade 1

  28. Congrats to the Dowco Triumph Street Pipeband for both the well deserved upgrade and the sponsorship. I look forward to sharing in the triumphs” for many years to come.”

  29. I too just want to say congrats to the Dowco Triumph Street pipe band. Lets just let cooler heads prevail now and stop this silly squabling. A great thing has come out of this big mess and that is we now have another grade one band in our area. I truly wish both of our grade one bands the best of luck in all of there endevours.



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