The tumultuous three-year saga of the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band’s organizational challenges took another turn after Duncan Nicholson was appointed pipe-major after a meeting of members on November 23rd. Nicholson had been Pipe-Sergeant under Don Bradford for several years.
The appointment came after a “steering committee” of 14 band members gathered on November 8th and held conducted a snap vote on the band’s leadership, and Bradford was subsequently asked to step down, which he reportedly did not accept. The steering committee had been assembled originally to coordinate logistics such as bus transportation for the band.
Members of the band allegedly met on Thursday, November 18th, to discuss the matter again. Bradford did not attend the meeting, but made it clear through other members that it was his desire to remain as pipe-major. The group at the meeting reportedly decided against rescinding the move to change leadership.
Sources within and close to the band have said that there appears to be disagreement within the band about leadership, with a strong sense of support for Bradford, who in 2010 helped to resurrect the band from near-collapse, leading the group to several prizes in RSPBA major championships.
Nicholson becomes the third pipe-major of Strathclyde Police in three years. Donald Mackay resigned from the post in 2008, giving way to Bradford. Mackay now is Pipe-Sergeant of the Grade 1 ScottishPower Pipe Band.
The appointment is the latest in an unusually high number of leadership changes in the world’s Grade 1 bands this year, with no fewer than eight bands changing pipe-major or leading-drummer, including Vale of Atholl, the 78th Fraser Highlanders, Lothian & Borders Police, Toronto Police, the Pipeband Club, House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead, Manawatu Scottish and Alberta Caledonia making moves.