Update 2: RMM2 appealing to return to Grade 2
The Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band (RMM2) of Vancouver, winners of the Grade 2 event at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships and officially promoted to Grade 1 by both the RSPBA and British Columbia Pipers Association, has asked to remain in Grade 2. Sources with the band have identified a loss of personnel as the reason.
“We feel that being upgraded to Grade 1 is the ultimate compliment from both the BCPA and the RSPBA,” said Pipe-Major David Hilder. “However, we find ourselves with many less players than we had in August.”
Hilder said that several players have been called up to the Grade 1 Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, which is ultimately the final stop for pipers and drummers in the five-band SFU organization.
According to a source close to RMM2 speaking on condition of anonymity, several band members departed RMM2 since appeal was made. The same source confirmed that the pipers to move to SFU are Will Nichols, Micah Babinski and John Suthlerland. A fourth piper was also offered a position with SFU but declined. Two SFU pipers have reportedly left the band: Keith Paton of Seattle and Bernard Bouhadana of Copenhagen, who has joined Field Marshal Montgomery.
SFU’s roster of pipers, including the three new members from RMM2, stands at 23. SFU competed with 21 pipers at the 2006 World’s.
The thought of two Grade 1 bands within the SFU family made for active chatter throughout the pipe band world. Both the Toronto Police and Boghall & Bathgate organizations decided to fold their too-successful Grade 2 operations rather than face having to compete against them in the same grade.
Hilder added, “We are very proud of our players, and getting called up to SFUPB is the ultimate compliment for the players and a great testament to the success of RMM2. We wish them all the best.”
“We are extremely proud of RMM2 and wish it continued success on a long-term basis,” said Jack Lee, SFU pipe-sergeant and general manager of the SFU organization. “We believe that RMM2 is a strong Grade 2 band but not a viable, sustainable Grade 1 band. Since the World championships they have lost quite a number of players to SFU, retirement, etc.”
Lee added, “We don’t want British Columbia to become a graveyard for newly-promoted Grade 1 bands, as has happened in several other jurisdictions. The BC Pipers Association was ill-advised to promote them to Grade 1 without any meaningful consultation with the people involved. Their decision to promote did not adequately consider the current and future roster of the band or its ability to survive and flourish in Grade 1. We think the BCPA should down-grade them to Grade 2 right away and the RSPBA should follow suit.”
It is not yet known whether the BCPA or the RSPBA will honour RMM2’s request to be down-graded. The BCPA’s Music Board Grading Committee is chaired by Andrew Bonar, a prominent member of SFU.
What do you think? We always want to hear from our readers, so please use our comment system to provide your thoughts!
Do you have news? Be sure to send your information to pipes|drums. We can’t report what we don’t know about! Please remember to support the businesses that advertise and make the not-for-profit p|d possible.