Ryan Russell Memorial teaching band raises $20,000
A bit of thunder and heavy rain couldn’t stop the Grade 5 Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band of Toronto from raising more than $20,000 at the second annual Kilted Classic golf tournament that had the support of more than a hundred participants at the Royal Ashburn Golf Club near Whitby, Ontario.
Now its third year, the band started from scratch, with almost all pipers and drummers having their first lesson with the group, which is led by Pipe-Major Brian Urkosky. The band competed for the first time in 2014, and will again return to Grade 5 competition with six games on the schedule.
The band is affiliated with the Toronto Police organization, which has Grade 1 and Grade 3 bands, and is named after the late Sergeant Ryan Russell, who was killed in the line of duty several years ago. Russell was a fan of pipe bands and a keen golfer in his spare time, often playing at the course where the fundraiser is held.
“The band will be able to have a good year due to this one fundraiser,” said organizer Tracy Porter. “Vest, Jackets, ties, a few more kilts are on order – and band supplies like reeds and drum parts.”
The golfing part of the day was cut short by bad weather, but the festivities came indoors and enjoyed the prize-giving and a performance by the band over a prime rib dinner and drinks.
Dozens of organizations donated prizes, including all five of Toronto’s major league sports teams, and numerous piping and drumming businesses such as McCallum Bagpipes and Walsh Bagpipes. The nonprofit pipes|drums was once again a sponsor of the event.