Member Feature #8 – City of Regina Pipe Band

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Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism

A Closer Look:

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism

The City of Regina Pipe Band kicked off the 2010 Glasgow International Festival of Piping with a performance in Glasgow’s historic George Square. (Photo: Bruce Maxwell, Piping Live!)

What are your mission and vision?

We still stand by the original objectives of our 1992 bylaws:

(a) To promote the playing of Scottish bagpipe music through educational programs and public performances;
(b) To further the development of Scottish cultural programs in the Province of Saskatchewan through participation in these programs;
(c) To organize and participate in community events and charitable concerns of benefit to the general public; and
d) To provide leadership, example, and learning opportunities to young people who want to learn about Scottish culture

What are the programs and services offered by your organization?

We organize, run and maintain a top-level competitive pipe band as well as a Saskatchewan Champion youth pipe band called the Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band. We also organize the annual Mid-Winter Celtic Festival in Regina, play a major role in organizing the annual Highland Games weekend in Regina (May Long Weekend) and we play a key role in organizing a summer school for pipers and drummers.

Whom do you serve/target with your programs and services?

We provide a great learning environment for musicians wanting to challenge themselves and improve their playing in the senior level band, and we also seek to engage and recruit more youth in learning pipes and drums through the Conservatory Pipe Band. We also try to serve the community at large, playing at many ceremonies, functions, providing solo pipers for many occasions, and by representing the City and Province at national and international competitions and festivals.

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism

The City of Regina Pipe Band onstage with Sir Paul McCartney. (Photo: Dan Reynish, CBC)

What are you working on right now (project, fundraiser, special event, etc.)?

This summer we are preparing for the North American Pipe Band Championships in Maxville, Ontario (August) and also the Montreal Highland Games. We will be competing against some of the best bands in North America. Then, we are planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland next summer, to represent the City in major championships.

>>> Currently, we are looking to recruit a whole new batch of kids for lessons in the fall through our Conservatory Pipe Band. If you or someone you know is interested in joining, apply here.

Do you have a call for volunteers, fundraising, employees, resources, submissions, etc.?

The band would love to secure a major sponsor/funder to help take the pressure off individual members for fundraising and travel expenses. The band has performed at the Glasgow International Festival of Piping (Piping Live!) on four occasions, as well as the World Pipe Band Championships, numerous Scottish Highland Games, and also at Highland Games in Washington State, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.

>>> If you are interested in becoming a major sponsor/funder for the City of Regina Pipe Band, contact them here.

What is one thing people may not know about your organization?

People may not know that the City of Regina Pipe Band is North America’s longest running Grade 2 band. There are older bands, but none have maintained themselves at the Grade 2 (2nd highest) level for as long.

Multicultural Council of Saskatchewan, cultural diversity, intercultural, education, anti-racism

The CRPB’s junior band, The Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band, won it’s eighth Saskatchewan Championship in the Grade 4 category in May 2014.

Please share a story that illustrates your organization’s impact in the community. 

The City of Regina Pipe Band was a focus of civic pride for a week or so last summer when it took the stage with Sir Paul McCartney in front of 44,000 fans at Mosaic Stadium. We continue to receive emails, as well as personal anecdotes when we play in the community about how the band’s performance that night was a particular highlight for many people. We are also very proud of the many band members who have gone on to take lead roles in other Regina and area pipe bands, and who have gone on to play lead roles in bands at the highest world levels. Long-time member Ruaridh MacDonald recently won the European Pipe Band Championships with Scottish band Inveraray and District, and former members play in the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band (six-time World Champions), the 78th Highlanders, Halifax Cidadel Pipe Band, and the Dowco Triumph Street Pipe Band – all among the elite of the World’s top bands.

What types of challenges does your organization face?

It is very difficult to maintain a Grade 2 band in an area where there are not a lot of pipe band events to develop player skills in performing. We often attract players from lower grade bands, and work hard to develop their skills to the Grade 2 level. For many years, we were the only grade 2 band between Toronto and Vancouver, and in recent years we have had to travel either to Manitoba or Alberta to actually compete with another band at our level.

The challenge is to raise enough funds to both maintain the instruments and uniforms to the highest standard, and also provide opportunities for the band to develop by competing against other top bands.

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