Grade 2 Peel Regional Police to implement drumming leadership succession plan after 2024 season
The Grade 2 Peel Regional Police have revealed that the band will implement two thirds of its succession plan following the 2024 competition season, with Leading-Drummer Harvey Dawson and bass drummer Reagan Jones voluntarily stepping aside to allow their designated successors to take over.
Cameron McKail will become the band’s leading-drummer, and Colin McKail will take on big drum responsibilities. It’s all part of an established succession planning policy that the band, under Pipe-Major John Cairns implemented several years ago with an aim of ensuring continuity as changes occur.
Both McKails are highly accomplished, prize-winning drummers on the Ontario competition circuit.
Dawson and Jones have each decided that the time will be right after the 2024 season to step down and give new opportunities to their proteges.
“Harvey selected Cameron to be the next leading-drummer of the band and will work with him over the next year to learn the job,” Cairns said. “Harvey will continue to play lead for 2024 and, once Cam takes over, he will continue to play with the corps as a coach to help Cam if and when needed. Reagan selected Colin to be the next bass drummer of the band and will work with him over the next year to learn the job. Reagan will continue to play bass for 2024 and hand over the reigns in 2025.”
Rather than risking encountering the type of leadership crisis that many bands encounter when a central figure decides to depart, the band avoids a search and application process that can result in lengthy gaps and avoidable additional personnel changes.
“As our leadership is getting on in age, we have discussed the fact that we need to always have a plan in place so that when its time, we have someone ready to step in,” Cairns continued. “We feel that it is critical that when a transition like this is going to happen, it is done in a manner that not only maintains the strength of the existing organization but will give the new leader the best chance to succeed. I have insisted though, that this decision must be the applicable leader’s and theirs alone. And, once they have made the decision that it is time, I have insisted that they must be the one who selects their successor and to create their own succession plan.”
“We all recognize that it is our job to do one last thing to ensure that the band can continue successfully moving forward.” – Pipe-Major John Cairns
Cairns himself said he has no plan to retire, and “will continue to do the job as pipe-major the best I can. I will, however, be keeping an eye out for a potential successor so that when it is time, I can implement my own succession plan.”
He went on to say, “A decision like this is not an easy decision for anyone in a leadership position to make, because these people have given everything they have to help make the band the best it can be. But we all recognize that it is our job to do one last thing to ensure that the band can continue successfully moving forward. That act is a huge testament to how much the leadership values the band and its members, and it shows the incredible level of integrity and professionalism that they have. The band is thrilled that these two young men will bring their tremendous level of talent to the band and excited to see what they will be able to do once they are in the job.”
The Peel Regional Police Pipe Band has been a stalwart part of the Ontario piping and drumming scene for more than 50 years. Through a teaching system implemented by Cairns, the organization has added two competing bands in the last five years.
After an undefeated 2023 season in Ontario, the Grade 2 band travelled again to the World Championships where it placed ninth overall.
Even though the band is a member of the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario, the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association dropped the Peel Regional Police to Grade 2 after the 2017 World Championships. Rather than appeal, the group asked the PPBSO to be moved to Grade 2 and chose to embrace it as an opportunity.
The organization is one of the most charitable in the pipe band world, implementing various causes to help the local Brampton, Ontario, community.