The Robert Malcolm Memorial II story keeps unfolding, hopefully not to the point of the band folding.
Without doubt, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band system is a teaching and competitive success probably unrivalled by any other organization in the world, except for maybe the Scottish Schools piping program. But going back longer than a decade it has had detractors, accusing SFU of cornering the market on piping and drumming in the Pacific Northwest. Even SFU-organization members jokingly refer to the system as The Borg, maniacally consuming all around it.
With recent RMM2 developments, the situation may have come to a head. It would appear that members of RMM2 did not fully understand the band’s role: to feed SFU, but never to compete with it. It’s an unfortunate situation, but perhaps necessary to the evolution of piping and drumming in that area.
My prediction is that this will result in more diversity and a livelier competition scene in that part of the world. SFU is still one of the world’s three mega-bands. That won’t change any time soon. But what will change will be the be-all-and-end-all attitude with which the band tends to be considered by many in BC.
I’m a big believer in blessings in disguise, and I believe that this may well be one.