March to the Majors: a 2016 watchlist
The Triumph Street experiment
Dowco Triumph Street announced a radical plan to have a “team” of UK players practicing in Glasgow over the year. And then they decided not to compete at the World’s, opting instead for the smaller UK Championships at Belfast in June, where it’s an MSR. These strategic moves will either catapult the venerable and keen street group from Vancouver to a checkered flag, or leave it crashing in the chicane. If successful, watch for other non-UK bands to ape the strategy.
Police Scotland Fife turned in solid performances at the April Virginia Championship invitational in Norfolk, creating some buzz around an improved group that has consistently been knocking on the door of the top-six. Double Gold Medallist Douglas Murray ensures a high standard of musicality and, provided the band can keep numbers strong, Fife has a solid future, with the British Championships being a big statement for the band.
Making the leap to Grade 1 is probably the toughest category transition in the pipe band world. History is littered with the corpses of Grade 2 bands so used to winning that enduring potentially years of also-ran results in the ultimate grade can be soul-destroying. Something about Bleary & District seems indomitable, though, and the RSPBA needs this Northern Irish group to stay the course after the losses of the likes of Denny & Dunipace, Balinderry Bridge, Drambuie-Kirkliston, Seven Towers, Oran Mor, Ballycoan, Clan Gregor, Grampian Police and others over the years that did not maintain, for one or other reason, the move to the top.