City of Whitehorse gallops to Grade 1
According to Pipe-Major George Shepherd, the upgrade came as a surprise, especially considering his band has not yet competed in the Australian Championships, which occur every two years.
“We are still very much in infancy,” Shepherd said. “Our desired pathway was to test ourselves against the world’s very strong Grade 2 bands such as Bleary, Johnstone, Police Service of Northern Ireland, St Thomas, New York Metro, and others at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2016 – as originally announced by the band, not to mention pit ourselves against home-based outfits like St. Andrews, Pipe Band Club and Adelaide & District at the 2016 National Championship.”
He said that the band still plans to travel to the 2016 World Pipe Band Championships.
“This ruling won’t change our plans for the year and we’ll continue to work hard. Hopefully the future brings us success,” he said.
The move of City of Whitehorse to the top grade means that Australia has four Grade 1 bands, and two in the Melbourne area. The others are Moorabbin from Melbourne, the Queensland Highlanders from Brisbane and the Western Australia Police from Perth. The latter under police stipulations has no plans to travel to Scotland in the future.
City of Whitehorse was resurrected in the spring of 2014, mainly from the assets of and players from the defunct Grade 1 Australia Highlanders / Nadawading Pipe Band.
The addition of City of Whitehorse brings the number of Grade 1 bands worldwide to 31. The number is likely to change after the conclusion of the 2015 competition season in the northern hemisphere.