P-M Richard Parkes on FMM’s World’s win, breaking the record and his plans for the future
For Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe-Major Richard Parkes, 13 seems to be a lucky number: his band won their thirteenth World Championship on August 13th and 13 wins for him put him in the pipe band record book as having led a Grade 1 band to the most World Championships in history.
The success put him ahead of Pipe-Major Ian MacLellan’s 12 World’s wins with the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band, a group that for two decades kept setting a benchmark for powerful sound, precision playing, and spot-on tuning.
Field Marshal Montgomery gained the title with a first, two seconds and a third place across the four events, accruing the fewest aggregate points from the placings of the 16 judges.
The win was poignant and extra meaningful for Parkes. It was the first World Championship where the band was without their faithful and renowned drone-tuner, Frank Andrews, who died suddenly in 2020 at the age of 74.
With a baker’s dozen of World’s wins and the ever increasing demands of running a Grade 1 pipe band, at age 62 one inevitably wonders how much longer Richard Parkes will continue. Without exception, the piping and drumming world hopes we can continue for a good long time to be the beneficiaries of witnessing history in the making.
We were fortunate to be able to connect with the legendary Richard Parkes for a brief chat about the 2022 World’s win, the challenges of the day and, of course, his plans for the future.