SFU Pipe Band drum corps earns world championship

Simon Fraser University’s acclaimed pipe band placed in the top six at the last World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow – and their drum corps emerged victorious.

If the rumble of pipes and drums don’t shake your heart and get your blood pumping, then this is definitely not for you.

But if you have Scottish blood (or even wish you did) then you can join the celebration of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band – and their drum corps in particular.

The band have just returned home from attending the 2022 World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. The Burnaby Mountain-based ensemble finished sixth overall among the world’s elite, while the drum corps took the grand prize at the competition’s World Drum Corps Championship.

Led by Coquitlam’s lead drummer Reid Maxwell, the drummers put on four powerful performances during the two-day competition on August 12th and 13th.

“Winning the drum championship is a huge achievement for our corps,” Maxwell said in an SFU post. “There are no drummers in the existing group who were in the corps the last time we won the drummer title (2009). A large group of them would hardly have been teenagers.”

Maxwell himself is among the most decorated drummers in the world, having six drum corps world titles under his belt: five with the SFU band and one with the 78th Fraser Highlanders of Toronto. In total, he has accumulated 19 world championship titles for band and drums.

Joining him in the current drum corps are several rookie players who will be competing at the elite Grade 1 level at the World Championships for the first time.

Members include recent SFU graduate student and tenor drummer Madison Rattai and current SFU student Taylor Killoran, a snare drummer. Additionally, when the band’s bass drummer fell ill days before the championship, the band called Ali North, who plays with the farm team’s drum corps equivalent: the organization’s Robert Malcolm Memorial Grade 2 band, which is part of the four-band feeder -Systems is the SFU Pipe Band organization.

“I’ve never seen so many tears and smiles at once, including myself, after the announcement,” Maxwell said. “I am no less excited than I have been on any previous occasion. Eight of the drummers have passed through our system (Robert Malcolm Memorial) which is a particularly great achievement for our organization.”

The corps also includes seven young women – which, according to Maxwell, is “by far the most” of any band playing in the top tier.

It is by no means the band’s first international honor: the SFU Pipe Band has been world champion six times.

Watch the band in action ahead of the World Championships video here:

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, [email protected]

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