May 14, 2016

March to the Majors: a 2016 watchlist


Example by lead

In addition to new direction at Boghall, several top bands are also sporting new leaders. Greater Glasgow Police Scotland will have new P-M in Iain MacPherson at the helm and Vale of Atholl looks to Lee Lawson to raise up its drum section. The Los Angeles Scots have Molly Steuber in charge of drumming and also have brought back bass drummer Steve Foley. A change can be good, and we’ll watch to see if these will be a shot in the arm for these bands. The other USA Grade 1 band, the Stuart Highlanders, have lost pipe-sergeant Andrew Douglas to Inveraray, but appear to be on their way again to representing the eastern U.S. seaboard.

Hanging in there

A few bands apparently are just able to field competition bands in the top grade. Cullybackey has admitted to just barely having enough numbers to reasonably compete, and Vale of Atholl has worked hard to get out. Ravara is noticeably absent from the first championship, but thankfully is entered for the UK, while Denny & Dunipace has closed shop for the year. The numbers game (some would call it a crisis) continues, and most Grade 1 bands now feel that having a pool of anything less than 25 pipers won’t cut it.

A place to stay, a place to grow

The Ottawa Police will make their debut in Grade 1 at the World’s with their strong pipe section, and we’ll see the 78th Fraser Highlanders make their thirty-fourth consecutive trip to Glasgow. The Peel Police return and the Toronto Police are staying home. Whether any of these bands will be able to raise Canada’s largest province from the World’s doldrums is to be seen, and most hope for some signs of progress, such as has been seen from the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) from Canada’s east coast, which broke into the Grade 1 World’s Final last year and appears to be on the ascent.





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