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Simon Fraser University Pipe Band


History (Courtesy the Artist's site, 2005).

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band of Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada was formed in 1966 during the university's inaugural year. Over the years, it has become a respected institution in the community and has brought fame to B.C. with its capture of national and international prizes.

Led by Pipe Major Terry Lee and Lead Drummer J. Reid Maxwell and wearing the Ancient Clan Fraser tartan, the band consists of a talented core of over thirty players. In 1982, the band won the Grade 1 North American Championship, the top prize on the continent. In August 1995 at Glasgow, Scotland, the band captured the ultimate prize on the globe, the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship. A year later, the band returned to Scotland and captured the title again becoming the first pipe band from outside the United Kingdom to win the World Championship more than once. In 1999, the band regained the World Championship title, winning the World Drum Corps Championship in the process, and most recently, the SFU Pipe Band was the World Champion in 2001! In 2001 SFU also won the Australian Pipe Band Championship.

The band has produced seven recordings, two concert/documentary videos, and appeared on four BBC Radio Scotland broadcasts. Last winter, the band gave three sold-out concerts in Vancouver, Belfast, and Glasgow, making it one of the busiest winters ever. In April 2001 the SFU Pipe Band recorded a CD Live at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. On February 20, 1998, the band performed in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York city. This concert marked the first time a pipe band has performed a concert at this prestigious venue. This debut performance was recorded and released in June 1998 as Simon Fraser University Pipe Band - Live at Carnegie Hall. In June 1996, the band released its first live album Alive in America, the first live, in concert recording in the United States of a pipe band. Both these concerts are captured in the band's videos "The Legacy: The Road to Carnegie Hall and Beyond" and "Alive in America - The Concert".

The band has also been a fruitful environment for creating champion pipers and drummers. Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee has won the Clasp, Silver Star, and Gold Medal at Inverness, the three highest awards for solo piping in the world. In 2001, Jack won the Gold Medal AND the Senior Piobaireachd at Oban! Former member Bruce Woodley has won the Gold Medal and Alan Bevan and former member Darleen Milloy (nee Miharija) have both won the Silver Medal for solo piping. Other band members who have won top prizes in North America and Scotland include Stuart Liddell (2000 Inverness Gold Medallist), Alan Bevan, Jori Chisholm, and Andrew Bonar. Also, Lead Drummer J. Reid Maxwell has captured second in the World Solo Drumming Championship, the highest ever placing by a North American drummer. The band has developed a significant youth development program, through the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Bands, its junior band system. SFU Pipe Band pipers and drummers contribute to the teaching of over 110 children and teens in a four band graduated system. In 1999 and 2001, the top level Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band won the World Juvenile Pipe Band in Glasgow, Scotland.

The band performed twice for Queen Elizabeth during her 1983 Vancouver visit and opened for rock star Rod Stewart at his 1989 and 1991 Vancouver concerts. In addition, the band has been profiled internationally on CNN and BBC, nationally on CBC Newsworld, CBC Radio, and CTV, and has been featured several times on Vancouver television and radio stations. The band also regularly participates in University convocation ceremonies, corporate events, Remembrance Day ceremonies and other civic events in the Vancouver area. In September 1999, Terry Lee and Jack Lee each received the Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for their contributions to piping, culture and youth development.

The band has played a significant role in the instruction of piping, drumming, and highland dancing through its popular, bi-annual Highland Arts Festival at Simon Fraser University. Each Festival has attracted more than 800 participants from across western North America, making the Festival the largest event of its kind in the world. In February 1998 and April 1996, the band took its Highland Arts Festival "on the road" to New York and Chicago. The band's Live at Carnegie Hall and Alive in America albums were recorded as part of these Festivals. In March 2000, the band takes its Festival to Brigham Young University in Utah and will be performing with the famed Mormon Tabernacle Choir on the television program "Music and the Spoken Word". Also, as part of its 1988 Festival, the band piped for the world's largest Scottish Country dance (256 dancers), which was recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band has always pioneered many events to bring the University, British Columbia and Canada to the world stage in pipe band performances. The university motto truly indicates this determination: Nous Sommes Pr�ts (We are Ready).

Updated June 2002

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