About the SFU Pipe Band

The SFU Pipe Band has been the World Champions on six occasions, as well as North American and Australian Champions, and are continually successful in local, national, and international competitions.

The band has performed concerts at some of world's most prestigious performing arts venues including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, and Lincoln Center. creating live recordings at these venues among its 13 albums and 3 videos.

Its members have won all the world's premier solo piping and drumming competitions, including 8 Gold Medals, have created the world's largest summer school for piping and drumming "Piping Hot Summer Drummer", and are in high demand world-wide for teaching.

History

The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band was formed in 1966 during the university’s inaugural year. Over the years it has become a respected institution in the community and has brought fame to BC with its capture of national and international prizes.

Led by Pipe Major Alan Bevan and Lead Drummer J. Reid Maxwell and wearing the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band tartan, the band consists of a talented core of over forty-five players. In 1982, under Pipe Major Terry Lee, the the band won the Grade 1 North American Championship, the top prize on the continent. In August 1995 at Glasgow, Scotland, the band captured the ultimate prize on the globe, the Grade 1 World Pipe Band Championship. A year later, the band returned to Scotland and captured the title again, becoming the first pipe band from outside the United Kingdom to win the World Championship more than once.

In 1999, the band regained the World Championship title, winning the World Drum Corps Championship in the process, and followed that up with another Worlds win two years later in 2001. In 2001, SFU also won the Australian Pipe Band Championship during a tour to New Zealand and Australia.

In 2004, the band won the World Drum Corps Championship while placing second in the World Pipe Band Championship.

In both 2008 and 2009 the band won not only the World Pipe Band Championships but also the World Drum Corps Championship. During the band’s trip to Scotland in August, 2009 the band recorded the album “Affirmation”, at a sold-out, standing room only, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Following the pandemic, the band won the World Drum Corps Championship in two consecutive years, 2022 and 2023.

In all, the band has produced thirteen recordings and three concert/documentary videos. In June 1996, the band released its first live album, “Alive in America”. On February 20, 1998, the band performed in concert at Carnegie Hall, New York City. This concert marked the first time a pipe band has performed a concert at this prestigious venue. This debut performance was recorded and released in June 1998 as “Simon Fraser University Pipe Band – Live at Carnegie Hall”. Both these concerts are captured in the band’s videos “The Legacy: The Road to Carnegie Hall and Beyond” and “Alive in America – The Concert”.

In April 2001 the SFU Pipe Band recorded a CD live at the Sydney Opera House in Australia, “Down Under”. In 2002 and 2003, the band embarked on two ambitious short tours, the first a long weekend of concerts at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland and then the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, Scotland, followed the next year by a week long concert series at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Massey Hall in Toronto, Ontario, and the Mechanics Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

After the string of 3 live recordings in different parts of the world, the band decided to do things closer to home and produced two recordings both in studio and in front of a live audience at SFU in 2005. These were released as “On Home Ground, Volumes I and II” in 2005 and 2006.

In 2012, the band returned to New York and recorded its concert "Live from New York City" at the Lincoln Center and released it as an album that year. The band returned to the stage of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall for the 2015 "Pre-Worlds" concert, performing to sold-out audience days before the World Championships.

In February 2020, the band performed a concert in Chilliwack, BC and recorded it with the intention of releasing some of the tracks on social media. When the COVID-19 pandemic locked down the world, the band decided to release all the tracks in album "Live in Chilliwack" and the associated videos on social media. With much post-pandemic attention, in 2023 the band again performed the Pre-Worlds Concert at the larger SEC Armadillo Theatre in Glasgow, which has been acclaimed as the best and largest concert in the over 30 year history of Pre-Worlds concerts.

In 2013 Terry Lee led the band to the World Championships for his final time. Alan Bevan took charge the following year with Jack Lee remaining Pipe Sergeant and Reid Maxwell as Lead Drummer.

Throughout its history, the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band has done its best to bring the University, British Columbia and Canada the best of pipe band performances to the world stage. The university motto truly indicates this determination: Nous Sommes Prêts (We are Ready).