The Grade 1 band of the Windsor Police organization or Windsor, Ontario, has folded after an unsuccessful search for a replacement for Pipe-Major James Stewart. The organization will continue to operate its Grade 5 and Grade 4 bands.
James Stewart took over as pipe-major of the band after incumbent Bill Baird decided to step down after the 2007 season. Stewart had also run the band after Pipe-Major Barry Ewen was forced to retire due to illness in 2003.
Stewart had made it clear to the band that he would not continue in the role after the 2008 season.
“The band has not been successful in finding another pipe-major to take charge since I announced I wouldn’t be leading the band in 2009,” Stewart said. “As a result, the Grade 1 section of the Windsor Police Pipe Band organization has decided to fold. We’ve had a great run and are proud of our accomplishments! The Grade 4 band is still going strong and looking forward to another successful season.”
Rumours had been prevalent about the band’s future throughout the summer, with suggestion that Jake Watson – former member of the Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders and Pipe-Major of the Metro Toronto Police and and Niagara & District bands in the 1980s and ’90s – would take over the band. Watson will reportedly continue to work with the successful Grade 4 Penatangore Pipe Band.
Windsor Police was promoted to Grade 1 after the 2005 season in which it won almost everything in Grade 2 in Ontario. The band finished second in Grade 1 at the 2006 North American Championships, and traveled to Scotland in 2007 to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships. It struggled to get to many events in the 2008 season, and finished sixth out of seven Grade 1 bands at the 2008 North American Championships.
The demise of the Windsor Police leaves Ontario with three Grade 1 bands.