Simon Fraser University’s going to the British Championships in June in addition to the World’s in August is quite a thing. It’s not so much the money – which can always be found, if you really want to do it – but the time commitment. It speaks a great deal about that band’s passion for what they do.
I am very interested to see how SFU does with their new Naill chanters. SFU’s played Sinclairs since the mid-1980s, and, to me, this is their sound. Well-set Sinclair chanters produce an unmistakable ring. But, who knows? Perhaps Naill, working with Terry and Jack Lee, have been able to capture that ring, or even improve on it.
I don’t know how SFU subsidizes its travel, but I would hope that the good people at Naill are pitching in. It makes marketing sense. The British will be a telling day for Naill’s business. If SFU were to win the contest it would most certainly open Naill to the massive band chanter market, a sector that it has not yet been able to capture with the same success it has had in the relatively small solo market. Any chanter-maker with a winning Grade 1 band at a major reaps huge rewards.
I think more equipment manufacturers – bagpipe makers, drum companies, chanter makers, kilt makers – should look at one-time product launch sponsorships. Rather than committing to sponsoring a band in a long-range deal, these companies should use bands to launch their new products by publicizing it and funding the travel to the event or for the season. Assuming that the products perform well, it’s really the least they could do in return for such great publicity.