April 30, 2007

Update 2: Triumph Street assigned to Grade 2; plans Maxville trip

Ending speculation as to what grade the band would compete in in 2007, the Triumph Street Pipe Band (TSPB) of Vancouver will compete in Grade 2 in 2007, after being assigned to the grade by the British Columbia Pipers’ Association (BCPA).

Triumph Street competed in Grade 3 in 2006. When Robert Malcolm Memorial II Pipe Band (RMM2) shut down its members joined Triumph Street.

“The Triumph Street Pipe Band requested to play in Grade 2 this season,” said BCPA Grading Committee representative Andrew Bonar. “Their reasoning was that they have had a 40 per cent change in membership since winning the World’s as RMM. The Grading Committee has granted their request to play Grade 2 this season.”

After winning the Grade 2 contest at the 2006 World Pipe Band Championships, RMM2 was promoted to Grade 1 by both the BCPA and the RSPBA.

RMM2 had been a part of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band organization. The organization expressed concern about RMM2 moving to Grade 1, citing the fact that at least three prominent RMM2 pipers were being promoted to the SFU Grade 1 band. RMM2 formally appealed the upgrade decision.

In a statement on the BCPA website, BCPA President, Edward McIlwaine, said, “The appeal of RMM2’s upgrading to Grade 1 came from its own leadership, i.e., P-M David Hilder, NOT from SFU. David Hilder, Lead-Drummer Andre Tessier and Pipe-Sergeant Shaunna Hilder resigned from the band the same day. Therefore, from the perspective of the BCPA Board, it was not immediately clear to whom we should respond. At any rate, RMM2 was dissolved before the BCPA Grading Committee had an opportunity to make a recommendation on the appeal. At a subsequent meeting the BCPA Board decided to disregard the appeal as the band in question had ceased to exist.”

RMM2’s appeal was made on November 18, and on December 9 the band was formally dissolved.

“As new president of the BCPA, I am very pleased to have seen the issue of RMM2’s dissolution resolve itself in a manner which has avoided any lasting acrimony within our association’s membership,” said BCPA President Ed MacIlwaine. “Regarding the grading of TSPB, I consider the matter settled for the present. I look forward to the continued success of BCPA pipe bands both at home and abroad.”

Before folding RMM2, the SFU organization had struck a deal with the Grade 2 Maple Ridge Pipe Band of Maple Ridge, British Columbia, that would see RMM2 merge with Maple Ridge.

“There was much more to the story than just the fact that [Triumph Street] would not be allowed to be Grade 1,” said David Hilder. “We have moved on and are looking forward to the future. We are looking forward to a fun and prosperous season this year. The TSPB is planning a trip to Maxville and Montreal this summer. We are finalizing our plans now and really looking forward to the trip.”


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  1. Maybe I’ve missed something here but wasn’t moving up to grade 1 the reason they fell out with SFU? Why is what looks like to me the very same RMM2 band plus talent gained from Triumph Street now considered not as good? I thought the whole reason for all the argy bargy was that RMM2 wanted to be grade 1. And now they’ve asked to be grade 2. My head is spinning!

  2. New Triumph St. are down several good players after the RMMII fiasco. G2 is the right spot for them. Not much talent added from the Old Triumph St. crew. There’s far too much talking and not enough playing going on. Let them play up into G1 at a couple of contests and see what happens.

  3. I think the new Triumph Street band will do very well . I think starting in grade two is a smart move on their part . That way they have a year or so to test their metal and gain strength in both sections of the band.

  4. I am interested as to how the decision to place Triumph Street in Grade 2 was made. Did the association have a musical grading group come out and listen to the band and determine their status? Or was it done by looking at personell changes etc. I have no complaints either way, but I think this needs to be a very transparent process.

  5. Greenock Scotland 06.04.07 Whatever the background to all of this, the great thing for me as a piper in Scotland is seeing the Triumph Street Pipe Band on the up-and-up again. I am old enough to remember those great days of the late 1970s when, along with Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band and the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Triumph Street came to the British Isles to compete, won prizes at the World Championships and broke the mould, paving the way for so many who have followed. Good luck to Triumph Street Pipe Band and long may bands from all over the world creatively contribute to the development of our art. I look forward to hearing Triumph Street in Scotland, hopefully before too long.



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