April 01, 2021

SFU achieves 40 years of consistent success and contributions to piping and drumming

It was April 1, 1981, when the City of Port Moody Legion 119 Pipe Band came to be the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band.

Under Pipe-Major Terry Lee, the Vancouver-based group has become by far one of the most successful and prolific competition pipe bands in history. Six World Championships and runner-up nine times, a host of ground-breaking commercial recordings, countless large-scale concerts, and a world class teaching and training program that has benefitted hundreds of players and become a model for piping and drumming organizations worldwide – these are just some of the achievements of SFU.

The university is at the top of Burnaby Mountain, elevation 1,200 feet, and often referred to by locals as “The Hill” – perhaps a fitting metaphor for a band that has maintained a pinnacle of success for so long.

Terry Lee, pipe-major for the first 33 years of the band, contributed his memories of the band’s start and its first appearance.

40 years on and 40 years on The Hill

by Terry Lee

The first known photo of SFU Pipe Band, April 1, 1981, on ‘Convocation Steps’ at the university. Andrew Bonar is at far left, with Pipe-Major Terry Lee next to him, L-D Davie Bruce, bass drummer George McKillop, Steve Rickson and Terry Dalziel. The band was still wearing the old Port Moody Pipe Band kilts.

April 1 is the official formation date of the new Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in 1981, coinciding with the start of the university’s fiscal year.

It feels like yesterday and one can see from the picture it was humble beginnings at the university.

I recall being very excited that new kilts and chanters were coming – that would be such a step forward for us.

That and we finally had a good place to practice!

One of our most enjoyable – and important – roles is to perform at every convocation ceremony.

The picture is at our first convocation, on the convocation steps where all students walk down through the band, and onto the stage.

Our first convocation was all day on a Saturday in June 1981. Now, in the years prior to the pandemic, the university’s convocations are four full days in June and two full days in October!

Congratulations to the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band and its entire organization for their many contributions to piping and drumming and their 40 years of consistent success.



Terry Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 1
November 5, 2017

Terry Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 2
November 25, 2017

Terry Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 3
December 17, 2017

Terry Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 4
January 8, 2018

Terry Lee: the pipes|drums Interview – Part 5
January 27, 2018

The SFU leadership change: a video interview with P-M Alan Bevan and Terry Lee
October 5, 2013





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