July 27, 2021

Pipe-Majors’ Forum II – Part 2

We continue pipes|drums’ Pipe-Majors’ Forum II with the second and final part featuring Alan Bevan, pipe-major of Simon Fraser University; Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia’s Pipe-Major Emmett Conway; and Doug MacRae, pipe-major of the 78th Fraser Highlanders.

These Grade 1 band leaders offer their candid thoughts about emerging from the pandemic, what they have learned over the last challenging 18 months, and their outlook for the future as the pipe band world gradually regains its footing.

If you are thinking of retiring, maybe just give it another year or two until we steady the ship up, because I think we’re all excited for next year, and we’re going to need everybody there and taking part. Just enjoy it. I’m looking forward to getting back into it. It’s been a great break, but let’s move on, COVID. Let’s get on with it. – P-M Emmett Conway, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia

It’s clear from this discussion that creativity is and will be key for a brighter future. Bands have had time to reflect on where they are and the possibilities for where they’re going musically. While these bands and others in their class are extraordinary in many ways, in most aspects they face the same issues as bands at all levels: keeping members motivated, taking time to restore the standard they last displayed in 2019, and counting friendship and camaraderie as the greatest attributes of who they are.


Our thanks to these pipe band leaders for sharing their thoughts so candidly and constructively.

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