August 31, 2008

pipes|drums’ pundits’ panel predicts: FMM to win World’s

After aggregating all of the predictions from an assembled panel of more than 20 pipers and drummers from around the world, pipes|drums predicts that Field Marshal Montgomery of Belfast will win the 2008 World Pipe Band Championship on Saturday, August 16th, at Glasgow Green.
Close behind Field Marshal was Simon Fraser University, which finished with only two fewer points – a virtual dead heat.
We asked panelists, the majority of whom will not be competing with a Grade 1 band at this year’s World’s, to predict the final prize list. The editor of pipes|drums was not part of the panel.
We awarded six points for a band listed first, five points for second, four for third, and so on.
If our pundits’ aggregated scores prove correct, then the prize list will be:
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
2nd Simon Fraser University (Canada)
3rd St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)
4th House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead (Scotland)
5th Scottish Lion-78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
6th Strathclyde Police (Scotland)
If accurate, 2008 will be the first time in many years that the top-three finishers will include a band other than FMM, SFU or Shotts, with St. Laurence O’Toole breaking the deadlock.
It should be mentioned at FMM and SFU were in a virtual tie after points were tallied, with only a few points separating them, but with a very slight edge going to FMM.
Also receiving votes to make the top-six were Boghall & Bathgate, ScottishPower and the Spirit of Scotland.
The qualifier had similar consistency in voting from the panel. We tabulated our panel’s collective prediction simply by giving one point for each time a band was named to a panelist’s list. Panelists only named the five bands that they thought would go through, in no specific order.
So, if our experts’ opinions prove accurate, these are the five bands (in alphabetical order) that will qualify on the day: 
  • Australia Highlanders
  • Los Angeles Scots
  • New Zealand Police
  • Spirit of Scotland
  • Vale of Atholl 
Others that were mentioned by panelists as bands that might qualify were Alberta Caledonia, Clan Gregor, Cullybackey, Peel Regional Police and Toronto Police.
Following are a few comments from some of our experts:
“SFU: Have a sneaking suspicion it’s their year and with SLOT showing that FMM can be beaten, I reckon they have the polish and sparkle to carry it off.”
“Shotts have great ensemble and drumming, but pipe sound not strong enough to come out in front of SFU and FMM.”
“FMM: still the best band around; their tone and playing are hard to beat."

“Shotts: Got a new squad, and I might have expected them to be further down the prizes, but Mathieson seems to be able to get them to gel quickly. Might take another season or two before they’re back in the top-three.”
“SLOT will play well but the stronger piping of the big three bands will be evident.
“78ths will be strong again but the big three still ahead of them. They may feature higher in the Medley than the MSR.”
“SLOT- from what I’ve heard on YouTube this band is knocking at the door – loudly.”
“SFU will finally break the FMM dominance, but the first two will be way out in front.”
“FMM: Ahead of SLOT despite falling to them on more than one occasion this year.  You can’t beat class when it comes to the big stage. Unless you’re SFU. In which case, you can beat class. And FMM will have to settle for second.”
“Spirit of Scotland coming very close but just not quite making it in the Qualifier (although maybe deserving to).”
“These bands all play incredible music. My only rule, in this day in age, for Grade 1 bands, is drones. There you go; the band with the best drones wins."
“SFU – new Sinclair chanters sound good, be very close to FMM.”
We stress that all of this is just pure fun, and, at the end of the day, the best band always wins. Good luck to all!




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