December 03, 2020

P-Ms Video Forum: Armstrong, Bevan and Tully on pipe band life in the pandemic – Part 1

They are the pipe-majors of three of the world’s greatest bands:

  • Chris Armstrong, ScottishPower – Glasgow
  • Alan Bevan, Simon Fraser University – Vancouver
  • Alen Tully, St. Laurence O’Toole – Dublin

There are almost 5,000 miles between them, and each leader brings unique and common perspectives on their organizations and the state of pipe bands in general.

Nearly nine months have passed since COVID-19 upended the world. Pipe band operations, like almost everything else, have reinvented their operations, or shut down completely.

Even with vaccines on the horizon, it could take many months to administer them effectively, and likely months more after that before associations and events can regain enough confidence and finances even to hold competitions.

We hope for the best, of course, but there are many, many questions to be answered.

“You might see a lot of people just walk away from it.” – Chris Armstrong

While these three bands are among the elite groups in the world, by their nature as leaders they have special insight into the scene overall.

Coincidentally, after the 2019 season, SFU, SLOT and SP were each knocking on the door as viable and realistic contenders for a World Championship title. Each would have left Glasgow Green in on August 17, 2019, champing at the bit to get back at it for 2020.

And then this.

pipes|drums contacted them to see if they’d be interested in a 30-minute Zoom conversation. Each of them readily agreed to trade their thoughts openly and honestly. We learned a lot from their insights, and we hope you do, too..

We’ll run the conversation in two parts. We hope that you enjoy hearing from these remarkable leaders of these remarkable bands. Together, they provide valuable and often unexpected information, and we can’t help but noticing that, even though they are greats of the games, many of their problems are just like ours.

We hope their thoughts prompt further discussion on the immediate, past, present and future of the pipe band world.



World Champions 2019: Inveraray & District




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