As pipes|drums recently anticipated, the Pipers & Pipe Band Society of Ontario has promoted the Ottawa Police Services Pipe Band to Grade 1, after an unbeaten season in Grade 2, and several successful challenges against established Grade 1 bands, including narrowly missing winning the four-band Grade 1 competition at the Georgetown Highland Games, with a tie for first broken by ensemble.
Also moving up is Paris-Port Dover to Grade 2, the Rob Roy Pipe Band of Kingston, Ontario, to Grade 3, and both the Hamilton Police and Lindsay pipe bands from Grade 5 to Grade 4.
The PPBSO did not downgrade any bands.
The move of the Ottawa Police also comes approximately a year after the band reportedly requested to be upgraded to Grade 1, but was denied by the PPBSO. The Ontario society enacts grading first by recommendation of its Music Committee and then after ratification by the organization’s Board of Directors.
“We are very proud of our development as a band, and we are committed to continuing our progress in Grade 1,” Ottawa Police Pipe-Major Andrew Hayes said. “Without a doubt, the ability to challenge up against Grade 1 bands in Ontario has contributed enormously to our growth, both in terms of experience and confidence. We have a dedicated group, and we look forward to next summer.”
Hayes added that his band does not plan to compete at the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships, and instead will “focus on development.” He said that they aim to go in 2016.
The addition of the Ottawa Police to Grade 1 brings the total number of premier-grade bands to 28. Only two years ago the total number worldwide was 38. There are now four certified Grade 1 bands in Ontario, and a total of seven in Canada.
Paris-Port Dover brings Ontario’s Grade 2 bands to only two, with the only other being the 400 Squadron under new Pipe-Major Matt MacIsaac.