December 31, 2006

Update 2: Maple Ridge combines with RMM2

The Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band has dissolved to become part of the Grade 2 Maple Ridge Pipe Band in a “partnership” that will be led by incumbent Maple Ridge Pipe-Major, Angus MacPherson. The Robert Malcolm Grade 2 band will cease to exist, and the “new” Maple Ridge band will be independent of the Simon Fraser University organization.

The remaining RMM2 players “are free to go whatever they want, including joining SFU,” SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee said.

The move comes after much speculation in the pipe band world after the upgrade of RMM2 to Grade 1 by both the British Columbia Pipers Association (BCPA) and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA). RMM2 won the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships and every contest that it competed in during the year.

The band subsequently appealed to move back to Grade 2, and only days later RMM2’s leaders, Pipe-Major David Hilder and Leading-Drummer Andre Tessier, abruptly resigned from the band. Responding to allegations that the parent SFU organization demanded that RMM2 not be in Grade 1 or face disbandment, Lee made a lengthy statement in an attempt to clarify the situation.

Commenting on the new Maple Ridge Pipe Band, Lee said, “For many years, both bands have maintained strong Grade 2 bands and have regularly competed at the local Highland games. Both bands have lost quite a number of players since competing in the recent World championships. We looked at both situations and concluded it would be best to combine our resources. In that way, we can help to ensure another strong, vibrant Grade 2 band in the area. RMM will encourage any current and future members who wish to play at the Grade 2 level to join the Maple Ridge Pipe Band.”

“The RMM2 group has not made up their minds as to what they would like to do,” said former RMM2 piper Myles Wilcott. “We are in close consultation about what our next steps will be, all the while respecting the individual decisions of each member to do what they please. No RMM2 band-members have agreed to join Maple Ridge at this point. We are considering our options.”

Wilcott added that the agreement was strictly between SFU and Maple Ridge, and that no members of RMM2 were consulted.

When asked whether Maple Ridge will compete as a Grade 1 band in the future, Lee said, “Maple Ridge has indicated to us they are not (and will not be) interested in Grade 1 in the future, [but] it was not a condition [of partnering].”

The “new” Maple Ridge will reportedly hold many of its practices on the Burnaby campus of Simon Fraser University.
“This should result in two strong Grade 2 bands in our area: Maple Ridge and Chilliwack & District,” Lee added.

Maple Ridge had been struggling after the loss of personnel following the 2006 season.


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  1. This really does sound odd but it just may work out. Being a long time friend of Angus MacPherson, and the Lee brothers, I sent a note to Angus asking about the stiuation and how it came to be. What I find odd about this editorial is that it is all said Lee” “said Lee” and nothing up yet from anyone in Maple Ridge. I hope that the editor can also get more than the standard “we are delighted with this new union and believe that this new partnership will only benefit the piping fraternity in BC” You’ve opened it up

  2. I hear you and agree, Bruce. Lots of things have been sent and said to me about the situation, but no one wants their name put to their comments. So, rather than more requested anonymity” stuff

  3. I have been a casual observer of the ongoing saga that has befallen the RMM 2 corps. What I find amazing is the fact that from what I can tell, this is a group of young adults who have been punished for winning the World Championships. They have been let down by their leadership, both from within the band and in the SFU organization itself. There is a lot of he said

  4. It is unfortunate that the SFU leadership has reportedly announced a wholesale movement of at least 20 RMM2 World Champion pipers and drummers before those members have had a chance to respectfully discuss this option with the members of the Maple Ridge Pipe Band. There are many details to be clarified. It is only today that these kids have been told from the leadership that there is no option for them to remain together as a World Championship Band within the SFU organization. How did a World Championship win result in such a mess? So, please, people, allow these amazing players to make their own decisions – with open communication, clarity, and respect.

  5. communication between anyone. Why is it that there was an announcement regarding an ‘amalgamation’ having taken place before any of the members of the former RMM 2 band even had a chance to digest and respond to the suggestion? It appears that this new ‘amalgamation’ has some major strings attached, and may still hold the same future for them as pipers and drummers. I am sure the piping and drumming community is very interested in seeing what this amazing group of individuals decides to do.

  6. If you have an intake of many grade one players you should be upgraded as with the RMM 2 band who where upgraded those players have every right to play in grade one and the amalgamation of these two awsome bands means those who where with RMM2 have been given the oppertunity to play without the lack of leadership with in the SFU organisation who clearly fear that the old RMM@ band would have done better than them

  7. What this situation has served to make clear is that at the very top level of our art there is a single focus placed highly above all others – winning the grade 1 prize at Glasgow Green. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing I’ll leave for others to decide but it appears that the fate of RMM1 was determined by that focus.



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