Pipes and drums and kilts, oh my!
Six-time world champions, the Simon Fraser University pipe band, is once again off to Glasgow to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships, perhaps better known as the Worlds, or "the Olympics of piping."
The band will play at the Piping Live! festival on Aug. 8 as part of the festival's "Canada Day," and compete in the main competition on Aug. 11.
Along with the seasoned champions, this year the juvenile section, the SFU Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, will also compete against bands from around the world.
Members of the juvenile Malcolm pipe band are in grades 3 and 4 - with Grade 5 being the lowest, and Grade 1 being the highest level.
The Malcolm pipe band is a mix of ages, from nine to adult, with a total of 68 players.
"This is the largest contingent we've ever sent," said SFU pipe band secretary Rob Watt. "We have three bands competing, total, so we have high expectations that the bands will be successful in at least one, and hopefully all three categories."
There will be between 30,000 and 40,000 people at the event, said Watt, who noted anyone interested in watching the performances live can stream the music on the BBC website.
The Malcolm pipe bands have been practicing three times weekly and have recently completed a week-long camp at Silver Star resort near Vernon.
"They're good kids and obviously we're very proud of them," said Watt of their rigorous practice schedule and quality of their performance.
The SFU malcolm pipe band is only one of four pipe bands from outside the United Kingdom that has won a Grade 1 (highest level) World Pipe Band Championship and placed in the top three for the last 13 years.
Since its inception, the RMM pipe band has seen over 1,000 students go through the program to learn traditional Scottish piping and drumming.
The SFU band recently released their twelfth CD, which they recorded live at the Lincoln Centre for Performing Arts in New York City. The album is fittingly called Live in New York.
The SFU pipe bands do not have many public appearances, but anyone is welcome to observe their practices in the fall at the Burnaby Mountain SFU campus.
For more information, contact Rob Watt, robwatt@rmmpipe band.com.