SFU pipe band finishes in third place at world championship
GLASGOW – A third place finish at the World Pipe Band Championships has dashed hopes that the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band could win the title three times in a row.
But Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee says the band performed its best and is pleased to remain one of the world’s tops bands.
“It’s a disappointment to lose this year after winning two straight championships, but as we see it, we’ve officially finished in the top three and that’s still a good feeling,” said Lee. “We’ve been here before. We’ll be back.”
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), which organizes the event, has apologized to the SFU band for announcing its finish as fourth place during the presentation ceremony, with Scotland’s Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band taking third.
The bands had been tied for third, but marks for the ensemble – how well the bands play in each of two performances – were read incorrectly.
On its website, the RSPBA explains that a review of the marks has “Simon Fraser University from Canada taking third spot on an Ensemble Preference from fourth place Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia. Unfortunately this was announced the wrong way around and we apologise to both bands for this error.”
It was the Irish who won big, with St. Lawrence O’Toole of Dublin taking first place and long-time rivals Field Marshal Montgomery of Northern Ireland finishing second at the event, attended by a record 53,000 spectators.
Meanwhile the band had reason to celebrate as SFU Drum Major Jason Paguio took the top prize in the World Drum Major championship.
Paguio, from California, has been with the band for two years. He delighted the crowds in George Square on Wednesday during the band’s outdoor performance.
“He is very easily the best at his craft,” says Lee. “He can toss the mace and catch it flawlessly, I’ve never seen anyone quite like him.”
Of the 26 bands competing in the finals of the elite Grade 1 competition the SFU band placed fourth in the March, Strathspey and Reel and second in the medley.
Lee felt the band gave stellar performances at the Worlds and came into the competition playing at its best. The weather cooperated with a cloudy and pleasant afternoon followed by sun for the mass band march in the evening.
“I felt we gave the best performance of the year,” Lee said following the medley, as band members embraced and gave sighs of relief. “We have won many times and we’ve placed many times in the top three or even the top five.
“We’ll regroup after this, as we have before many times,” he adds. “We know that we can’t expect to win the championship every time. We also know we can bounce back.”
The SFU Pipe Band has won six championships in 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2008, and 2009. The band is gearing up to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.