After 37 years in the post, Terry Cleland will step down as pipe-Major of the Grade 2 400 Squadron Pipe Band of Ontario, handing over the reins to newly appointed Pipe-Sergeant Matt MacIsaac in November when Cleland retires. Terry Cleland has been with the band since 1968.
Though not confirmed, Cleland might hold separate records in North America for most consecutive years as a member and as a pipe-major of a competing pipe band.
Under Cleland, 400 Squadron has been a staple on the Ontario scene competing in Grade 3, Grade 2, and Grade 1, consistently producing a competitive band even when faced with minimum numbers.
“The last 37 years as Pipe-Major for 400 Squadron Pipe Band have been an extremely rewarding experience,” Cleland said. “I will always appreciate the hard work and the dedication of the all members that have supported 400 Squadron and my efforts over the years. The friendships made during my time at 400 Squadron are the true treasure.”
MacIsaac, well known in solo circles and a former winner of the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering, has served with the Canadian Military Forces. A native of Nova Scotia, he has produced several solo piping recordings,
MacIsaac has not officially joined the band, but will officially come on board as pipe-sergeant and, according to Cleland, will be appointed to the pipe-major’s position by the chain of command in November of this year.
“I’m very much looking forward to the band’s new chapter,” said MacIsaac. “Terry Cleland is one of Canada’s longest serving – if not the longest-serving – pipe-majors and he does not choose his successor lightly, which I humbly acknowledge and appreciate. 400 Squadron is a well-known and long-standing fixture in the Canadian pipe band scene. Terry will be staying on and I will be relying on his considerable experience and knowledge to help me guide the band in the months to come. I also look forward to working with Leading-Drummer Mike Tuzyk in creating some new material and building on the existing repertoire. My plans for the band are simple: to grow, to continue to be a successful competitive pipe band, and to support 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.”
Cleland is also a pipe band innovator, and has designed and manufactured high-end drums from carbon fibre shells.
The 400 Squadron Pipe Band started in the 1930s and comprises mainly civilian members. The band has won the North American Championship and the PPBSO Champion Supreme aggregate title in several grades in the past. The group travels extensively throughout North America.