The year after winning the North American Championships
This 2013/14 Piping and Drumming season has drawn to a close with the end of the Labour Day weekend, and it can be concluded a very different and successful year for the Ogden Legion Pipe Band (OLPB). It was a challenge to exceed the excitement of winning the Grade IV North American Championships in 2012/13, but 2013/14 presented new challenges and achievements for this group.
As we opened the season, registration numbers were strong, introducing new members with an interest in the pipes and drums to the continuing group. This interest at all levels of play remains critical to ensure the band continues to achieve strong results as players advance in their skills year over year. We also enjoyed the continued support of Pat Napper and Kathy MacPherson, Pipe and Drum Directors of the OLPB as well as the full compliment of our very talented music instructors.
Performance, Practice and Play
The regular season and winter months involved all of our usual activities including poppy sales and performances in support of Remembrance Day services; a full day workshop and fun at the Millarville Racetrack; Mother’s Day performances around the city; and, a very successful OLPB indoor competition early in May. The year also involved extra weekend and summer practices as the band decided early in the fall to proceed with a trip to Scotland in 2014 to once again compete at the World Pipe Band Championships; this time at the advanced grade level of Grade 4A. Fundraising and grant writing in support of this band trip also went into full gear engaging members, supporters and government agencies with great results.
In August, after all the planning, fundraising and preparation, the Grade IV band traveled with accompanying instructors and parents to Glasgow. The band competed the first weekend in both the North Berwick and Perth Highland Games, placing a 1st and 3rd, and then a 1st and 4th respectively in among bands from around the World. The following week involved a great deal more practicing and a bit of touring about in advance of the primary objective which was the “Worlds”.
Filmed by the BBC
While in Scotland, the band also received final confirmation that the BBC wished to include them in the filming of an episode of ‘Great British Railway Journeys’ a documentary hosted and narrated by Sir Michael Portillo. The band had planned on a visit to an Abbey and the Andrew Carnegie Birthplace & Museum both in Dunfermline. The tour afternoon extended to include into a full uniform practice, which by all appearance was much enjoyed by the citizens of Dunfermline, and then a performance filmed by the professional crew of the BBC. It was a quick and exciting event to be followed up with a recorded copy of the episode as it airs in January of 2015 showing the band’s play that day in Pittencrieff Park. In the meantime, all of the parents can enjoy their own photos of the BBC filming their children performing!
Playing at the “Worlds”
Finally, on the second weekend, the day of the Worlds arrived and when the driver parked the coach in our designated parking spot just off the Glasgow Green, everyone sat remarkably still and quiet, taking another moment to breath before they stepped out into this big day. The band played mid day for their qualifier and several of the senior players commented on the distraction of nerves and knocking knees as they marched into the performance circle. Nonetheless they played wonderfully and learned by early afternoon that they had indeed earned a spot, qualifying to play in the finals round later in the day. This was already a huge accomplishment given the grade advancement for these games where there were 31 band in their level and over 200 bands competing overall. Late in the afternoon, the band assembled again under the focused guidance of Pat, Kathy and the instructors. Once again they warmed up and tuned as the weather shifted between wet and dry, cooler and warmer. Finally, they marched into the ring for their final play. No talk of nerves this time; just focus as the sun broke through for the performance. And they delivered; playing their tunes better than achieved in any of their practice sessions. At the end of the day, they joined all those bands who’d been successful in qualifying for the finals for the televised field for the Worlds’ Massed Bands and prize announcements. In the end, they did not hear their name called in the top placed bands, finishing 10th overall. Reflecting on it however, they could be very proud of their strong debut Grade 4A Worlds performance; they’d made it to the finals!
Alberta Aggregate Champions
At the close of the Alberta Pipe Band season there was also a happy conclusion. Although the OLPB Grade IV band has been awarded the provincial aggregate for the past 10 years, this year was the first in memory where they were undefeated across the Alberta Games in which they appeared.
Grade V Debut
For the first time in years, the Grade IV band was not all there was. For the final three games of the season, a new group of players who’d been practicing together over the course of the year; the OLPB Grade V band, made their debut. This group, lead by Instructor/Pipe Major Kyle McPherson moved quickly from their first appearance at the Foothills Highland Games, improving their placement to a 2nd place finish at the Canmore Highland Games, just over a week later. A fantastic debut and an exciting new group to watch as their music skills develop.
It was a very full and fun year with much more to follow for 2014/15 and beyond, but first a wee break…
Annalise Van Ham, President, OLPB Parents’ Association 2014