The northern Scotland pipe band scene will see a few more significant changes, with sources confirming that the Grade 2 Grampian Police will not compete in 2019, the band’s former-pipe-major, Pamela Whyte, joining cross-town Grade 2 rivals Buchan Peterson as “assistant pipe-major,” working as pipe-sergeant alongside Pipe-Major Peter Morrice.
“I have made the decision to join Buchan and look forward to the season ahead in my new role,” Whyte said, after leaving the Grampian Police. An accomplished solo piper, Whyte committed several years to keeping the Grampian Police competitive in Grade 2.
The band has encountered numbers problems, with several members moving to other bands in the Aberdeen area, including the newly-formed Grade 2 Highland Granite.
The decision to shut down the Grampian Police comes after the band’s most successful season in several years, finishing second in Grade 2 at both the Scottish and European championships.
Highland Granite is led by Pipe-Major Scott Oliphant and Lead-Drummer Scott Niven, both of whom had held those roles with Buchan Peterson until after the 2018 season. Highland Granite was put straight into Grade 2 by the RSPBA based on the strength of its leadership and strong numbers of players with top-grade experience.
After winning Grade 2 at the World Championships in 2013, Buchan Peterson remained in Grade 2 in 2014, 2015 and 2016, and continued strong with third prizes at the World’s in two of those years before being promoted to Grade 1 for the 2017 season. The band was relegated to Grade 2 by the RSPBA after the 2018 season.
Whyte had been a member of Buchan in the 1990s. The band also revealed that it had secured sponsorship from the energy company Peterson for another two years, as well as support from the Palace Hotel in Peterhead, Scotland, and the Buchan Braes Hotel in Boddam, Scotland. Whyte’s experience will inevitably help Buchan Peterson as it works to re-establish itself in Grade 2 with a significantly changed membership.
Founded in 1907 as the Aberdeen City Police Pipe Band, the Grampian Police are one of the world’s oldest civilian bands. With the band going on an undetermined hiatus period, it lessens the stress on a somewhat crowded Aberdeenshire scene. The highly successful and well-established Bucksburn & District organization also fields a Grade 2 band, and nearby Portlethen & District were promoted to Grade 2 after the 2018 season.
Buchan’s Morrice and Lead-Drummer Muir Gregor each joined after holding the same roles with the Grade 3A 2622 (Highland) Squadron R.A.F.