January 28, 2024

Rocky Mountain low: Calgary Grade 2 band calls off ’24 season

Grade 2 Rocky Mountain of Calgary has decided to sit out the 2024 competition season due to an inability to put enough players on the field. The band has struggled to maintain its numbers since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown years.

“We’ve had some tough and considered conversations, and sadly, a competitive 2024 season isn’t in the cards for us this year,” said Sean Somers, Rocky Mountain pipe-major. “As we all know, bands experience peaks and valleys, and we’re hopefully on the climb back up starting next year.”

The band hopes the break will allow the group to rebuild and re-emerge in autumn 2024, even if it means competing in Grade 3.

“This is a really tough decision to have to make, but at this point we don’t have the numbers to make a go of it,” Somers added. “Obviously, nobody wants an outcome like this, even if it’s temporary, but I wanted to give folks the opportunity to pursue other options if they want, so the sooner, the better that we wind down in that regard.”

Rocky Mountain had enjoyed excellent success as one of North America’s preeminent Grade 2 bands, winning the grade at the North American Pipe Band Championship, the Mid-America Championship in Chicago, and other prizes at local Highland games throughout Western Canada.

Rocky Mountain competing in the Grade 2 MSR at the 2022 North American Championships.

The band competed at the 2022 North American Championships at Maxville, Ontario, where it placed sixth out of six bands in Grade 2 with fifth-place finishes in both the Medley and MSR events.

Like almost every band on earth, Rocky Mountain is welcoming expressions of interest from potential new members, especially snare drummers. They are invited to contact Somers directly by email.

As for his own plans, Somers said, “For me, I might take the chance to write more music, maybe take on some more judging, or fly in with another band as a player. We’ll see what opportunities present themselves in the coming weeks.”

Somers is one of the world’s more-played composers, and added that he might try to pull together a second volume of his well-reviewed Out West Collection of music.

With the loss of Rocky Mountain, there are currently 22 active Grade 2 bands in North America; nine from Canada and 13 based in the United States. There are 24 registered Grade 2 bands in the UK.






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