Category Archives: Ron MacLeod report

Simon Fraser University Pipe Band wins 2008 Gold at World's Championships in Scotland

Ron MacLeod is former Chair of the SFU Scottish Studies program.  He sends out regular reports about Scottish-Canadian culture and news in the Vancouver area.  Simon Fraser University Pipe Band first won the world Grade 1 title on
Glasgow Green back in 1995. The band repeated in 1996, 1999, 2001, and now for 2008.

– photo from

Greetings, GREAT NEWS! Simon Fraser University Pipe Band won
the 2008 Gold at the World’s Championships at Glasgow Green, Scotland, Saturday August 16.

The order of finish was as follows:

1st Simon Fraser University

2nd Field Marshal Montgomery

3rd Shotts and Dykehead

4th Boghall and Bathgate

5th St. Laurence O’Toole

Strathclyde Police

It was
also good news for the White Spot Pipe band at the Juvenile level. They came in
6th, competing against a score or more other juvenile bands.

Piping Champions for the Fifth Time

For the fifth time in 11 years the Simon Fraser Pipe
Band has won the World’s Piping Championship. On Saturday, August 16th,
2008 the Band competed against the world’s best Pipe Bands at Glasgow,
Scotland, and came away the winner.

Pipe Major Terry Lee and his brother Pipe Sergeant
Jack Lee  founded the Band with
Simon Fraser University as their primary sponsor. They proudly wear the ancient
Clan Fraser Tartan. Lead Drummer Reid Maxwell later joined the Band to provide
top professional direction for the drum section. In 1982, the Band began to
shine on the international stage when it won the North American Piping
Championship. In 1995, the Band won its first World Piping Championship in
Scotland. Competing and winning in Scotland against the world’s best bands
fired up the Lee brothers and the lads and lassies in the Band. They won again
in 1996, 1999, 2001 and now in 2008. In the intervening years, the Band was
always a formidable contender, for the most part earning 2nd or 3rd
place rankings. The Band is probably better known in Scotland, the
ancient home of Clan Fraser, than in Canada.

In 1998 the Band played in concert at Carnegie Hall,
New York City, to a packed house. 
They have played with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in Ogden, Utah, and
put on piping and drumming seminars at Brigham Young University. They have  thrilled audiences in concert at the
Sydney Opera House, Australia. They have performed before enthusiastic
audiences in Melbourne, Australia, and Christchurch, New Zealand. They have
given recitals in 13 Canadian cities from Halifax to Victoria and in 17
American States. The Band has been one of Canada’s top goodwill ambassadors
over the past two decades.

The Simon Fraser Pipe Band is not just a single Band.
A core of 30 pipers and drummers form the nucleus of the senior Band. In all,
there are six levels of bands, ranging from raw beginners to the senior Band.
The Band’s pipers and drummers teach 150 or more children year in and year out. Their ethic is work, work,
work, learn, learn, learn. Their purpose is to refine skills and to develop the
discipline it takes to produce a harmonious band. One of the SFU Juvenile Pipe
Bands, the Robert Malcolm, has won their division in Scotland four times. 

Every two years, the Band presents a Highland Arts
Festival at Simon Fraser University. Instruction is given in piping drumming
and Highland dancing. As part of the 1988 Festival the Band piped for the
world’s largest Scottish Country dance where 256  danced their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

In 1999, Pipe Major Terry and brother Jack Lee were each
awarded Canada’s Meritorious Service Award. Jack Lee, one of the piping world’s
great soloists,  was further
honoured in 2004 when he was among the first British Columbians to be presented
with the B.C. Community Achievement Award by Premier Campbell. This award
recognizes “those exceptional individuals whose personal contributions to the
good of their communities has the effect of enriching all of us as citizens of
this fortunate province”.

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band is more than just
another band. It is both a community and an international role model.

The SFU Pipe Band’s website is

 An interesting video clip

Check out these links as well.

News results for sfu pipe band

BBC News
The famed Simon Fraser University Pipe Band defeated a longtime rival to win its fifth world championship in Scotland Saturday. “A great, great day,” said

Tartan Day proclamation for City of Vancouver

Tartan Day will be proclaimed in the City of Vancouver sometime this week

I solicited SFU Scottish Cultural Studies to created a proclaimation, which I passed to city councilor Raymond Louie.

Kilts Night “Tartan Day” celebration happening at Doolin's Irish Pub – after the hockey game… or between periods?!?!
details TBA

Sunday – official Tartan Day.
Vancouver Tartan Army is planning something details TBA
Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team will wear the tartan to dragon boat practice 1:30pm at Science World dragon boat docks.

Ron MacLeod Chair V of the SFU Scottish Studies program writes:

Greetings, Tartan Day will soon be upon us – April 6th –  so
don’t forget to wear a bit of tartan in memory of an historic occasion
– the Declaration of Arbroath, 1320 A.D. This declaration was
Scotland’s Declaration of Independence. It has been hailed as a
significant step on a winding, tortuous and long road towards the
blossoming of democracy. If you want a copy of the Declaration, just
email me and it shall be delivered. Regards, the other Ron
Two messages from the Gaelic Society:
1. What: a reminder about the next Ceilidh:
Where: at the Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson Street (at 73rd Avenue)
When: Saturday, April 5th, 2008
Time: entertainment begins at 8 P.M.
Tickets: at the door
Entertainment: accordianist
Sandy Black; musician Seumas Gagne; singer Doug Barr; Highland Dancers
from Angus MacKenzie’s School of Highland Dancing.
Other: coffee, tea, scones, oatcakes and other delights. Wet bar.
All welcome.
2.  What: the Vancouver Gaelic Society’s 100th Anniversary Celebration
Where: Scottish Centre, 8886 Hudson Street (at 73rd Avenue)
When: Saturday, May 3rd, 2008
Time: doors open 5:00 P.M.; Dinner 6:00 P.M.
Tickets: $50.00 for adults & $25.00 for students. Order tickets from Murdo & Linda MacIver (604) 929-4781.
Entertainment: an array of talent including the
Royal National Mòd gold medal soloist Paul McCallum; Scottish
accordionist and entertainer John Carmichael; and, the Vancouver Gaelic
Other: dancing to follow the entertainment program.
All welcome as long as there is space available.
The following courtesy James Russell:
A Scots Toast:
May the best you’ve ever seen
Be the worst you’ll ever see;
May the mouse ne’er leave your girnal                 (pantry)
Wi’ a tear drap in his e’e;
May your lum be blithely reekin…………………..(chimney, smoking)
Till ye’re auld enough to dee;…………………….(die)
May you aye be just as happy
As we wish you now to be!

Ron MacLeod Report Feb 29: a ceilidh, a TV program, Isle of Eigg and Talisker whisky.

Ron MacLeod is Scots Chair V at the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University.  Here is his latest report featuring one of my favorite single malt scotch whiskey

Greetings, a message about a ceilidh, a TV program, Isle of Eigg and whisky.  Regards, the other Ron

1.  Ceilidh
What: Gaelic Society’s next ceilidh
Where: Scottish Cultural Centre, 8886 Hudson (at 73rd Ave), Vancouver,B.C.
When: Saturday, March 1st, 2008
Time:  8:00 PM
 Other: small door fee; entertainment, munchies, some dancing.
All welcome

2. The following courtesy Angus MacIssaac. A short movie entitled “The Wake of Calum MacLeod” will be shown on Bravo television at 4:30 P.M., Friday, February 29th. The movie was made in Cape Breton so should have a great dollop of Highland realism.

 3. Life will never be the same on the island of Eigg again, and in this respect it can only be a good thing.  Islanders have at last joined the 21st Century and will now be able to enjoy the little things we take for completely for granted.  No
doubt there will be a rush of electrical equipment being delivered to
the island; appliances which the residents have not been able to use
previously because their power was provided by expensive diesel
generators and gas bottles.

Isle of Eigg Electrification Project switched on for the first time on
1st February 2008, allowing power generated from renewable energy
sources around the island to be supplied to all residents, through the
new island-wide high voltage distribution network. 
system will generate over 95% of the island’s annual energy demand
through a combination of Hydro Electric, Wind Power and Solar Energy,
which is believed to be the first time that anyone has successfully
integrated these three renewable energy sources. To ensure that
constant power can be provided, a battery storage system has been
designed which will compensate for short periods where energy from
renewable sources is not available. Two diesel generators have also
been installed to provide emergency back-up power, and to supplement
the supply should the output from the renewable sources be lower than
the demand.


4. Talisker Distillery in Skye is
looking forward to increased interest from connoisseurs around the
globe after one of its products was named “the world’s best single malt
whisky” in the industry’s most prestigious awards event.

was Talisker 18 Years Old that took the fancy of the judging panel —
and the supreme title for the first time — in Whisky Magazine’s 2007
Awards. A spokesman for Diageo, the distillery’s owners, said that
demand for Talisker was expected to rise sharply as a result.
award coincides with the retirement of Charlie Smith, manager at
Talisker for the past three years, following a distinguished career in
the whisky industry. Mr Smith was also manager at Dufftown, Cardhu and
Glenkinchie distilleries.

is succeeded by Willie MacDougal, a native of Aberfeldy who was site
operations manager at Oban Distillery for six years prior to a brief
spell at Blair Athol. His family has a long association with the
industry and Mr MacDougal says he is “totally thrilled” to be taking
over at one of the world’s most famous distilleries.
is one of the most successful malts in the world,” said Mr MacDougal,
“though — or maybe because — the distillery’s output is deliberately a
good deal lower than some other top-selling malts. It’s a distillery
with massive heritage and an amazing future, with fans all over the
world.” He added that he also intended to improve his piping skills
while on Skye.
Whisky Magazine judging panel’s comments on Talisker 18 Years Old fully
endorsed Mr MacDougal’s enthusiasm for the brand. Dave Broom, one of
the world’s leading whisky commentators, described it as “elegant with
fascinating balance between smoke and subtle sweet fruit. Ever changing
in the glass and on the palate.”

Edinburgh whisky dealer Keir Sword waxed even more eloquent:

rich and attractive. Leather, pipe-tobacco, sweet sherry and polished
oak on the nose, followed by a good creamy texture and a warming
finish. A very attractive