The Grade 2 University of Ballarat Pipe Band of Victoria, Australia, has gained an experienced Grade 1 leader in Scott Nicolson, who has agreed to take over the band as Pipe-Major after a lengthy search that considered applications from around the world following a successful global advertising campaign.
Nicolson had been Pipe-Major of the Grade Pipeband Club of Sydney for the last 10 years until agreeing to step aside in October of this year. To take on the position, Nicolson and his family will move from Sydney to Ballarat. He replaces departing Pipe-Major Bradley Saul, who resigned due to university studies commitments.
According to band member Stephen Matthews, the publicity generated through advertising and comments on piping and drumming internet forums “drew numerous high quality applications from the United Kingdom and New Zealand, as well as Australia.”
The University of Ballarat was promoted to Grade 2 for the 2009 season, and, as of now, has no plans to advance to Grade 1 until it has established itself as a Grade 2 success.
“We want to consolidate our position in Grade 2 and to add to the depth of our band,” said University of Ballarat Pipe Band President and Leading-Drummer, Tim Bodey. “The band was thrilled by the extent of response to the advertisement and we are still actively looking to recruit experienced pipers and drummers, but we don’t wish to rely upon fly-in, fly-out members for either play-outs or contests.”
Matthews added that the band has also added Ben Stumpo on England to its ranks. Stumpo has played with the Australia Highlanders since 2007 and last season played with his hometown Grade 2 band, the University of Bedfordshire. The band hopes and anticipates that other experienced pipers will join the band as a result of Nicolson’s appointment, Matthews said, and is “actively looking to recruit experienced pipers and drummers, in addition to continuing to develop the teaching and development program.”
The University of Ballarat organization has a competitive Grade 4 band that has a focus on teaching through its links with local schools in Ballarat.