September 30, 2008

Windsor Police Grade 1 band folds

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.


  1. Some of the best fun I’ve ever had playing pipes. We believed we accomplished everything we could in the eight years we played together. From a 5th place in grade 2 in Maxville the 1st year out to just missing a North American Championship in Grade 1 six years later. A nice World’s run in grade 2 placing top 5 all 4 years. This was a mutual decision thru out the band when we could’nt land solid leadership for the future. People stepped up over the years when asked but we never really replaced Barry Ewen after he went down. The focus we had thru the Gr 2 World’s run just got to water down with all the travel, expenses and *** kickings you recieve in the grade 1 world. Last year we practically mortaged the farm” trying to get everyone to Scotland to try and qualifiy. Only to have 1 of the judges give us 8 seconds of his time before heading off to hide in his little tent… Anyway we talked this thru for the passed 2 years knowing this day would come if we didn’t bring in help at the top but truthfully seeing the headline today broke my heart. Its been a blast! And has Ronnie Rollo said once

  2. Disappointing. Certainly changes the landscape and choices for those of us in the Windsor/Detroy-it area, eh? 🙂 Best of luck to everyone in the band in your next pursuits.

  3. What a shame! My best to wee Jamesy and Stevie, I thought you guys were pulling it together, new drum corps gave you guys a nice presence. What is it with that Detroit/Windsor area, perhaps we will see another group come out of it.

  4. Sad to hear this. The Windsor guys are some of the friendliest in the pipe band world and made me extremely welcome when I visited them. The very best of luck to everyone in their future endeavours, especially Stephen, Jimmy, Malcolm, Drew and Mista C.

  5. I wish everyone the best of luck. I’d say most of the people I had met at OSAS, or people through those, played with this band. I hope the big red machine finds a good home. Anyone know, if this might bring back the North Coast band, or help some of the other grade 2’s? Shame to see North America lose a grade 1.



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