Maple Ridge bag piper Kevin McLean and the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band placed second behind the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band at the World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland over the weekend.
The SFU band has won the competition a total of six times and has placed second nine times in the past. Last year, they placed third. This year’s competition included 230 bands, four from Canada, and involved over 8,000 musicians.
The SFU Pipe Band’s chances looked promising this year as they have consistently placed in the top three in world competitions since the early 90s.
“We gave our absolute best effort on both performances and feel very satisfied with the job we did,” Pipe Sgt. Jack Lee said, in a press release. “Field Marshall also played two excellent sets, and the judges thought they were better. We’ve moved up from our third place finish last year. And without a doubt we’ll be back to settle this next year.”
The SFU band placed second in the March, Strathspey and Reel portion and fourth in the medley.
McLean, a current SFU undergraduate student studying communications and history, began bagpiping in 2003 at the SFU summer camps. He worked his way up through the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band and is now a member of the SFU Pipe Band.
The event, which drew some 50,000 spectators, took place for the most part under partly cloudy skies, despite a forecast of rain. The SFU band was fortunate to play both the MSR and the medley before a short spell of rain.
Spectator Bill Brand from Cardenden, the same village lead drummer Reid Maxwell hails from, was among a large crowd gathered to watch the SFU band warm up before the medley. He quipped: “You just can’t beat them, SFU. They are the best.”