Reminiscences by Pipe Major Hal Senyk
Triumph Street in 1976 was a very young band – we were short on experience but developing confidence with our sound and musical presentation. We looked forward to our first trip to Scotland to compete in Grade 1 and get ourselves established as a legitimate Grade 1 band. In those days, in the minds of most of the Scottish pipe band community, the British Columbia west coast was a distant musical colony. We anticipated a bit of an uphill climb.
The World’s Championship that year was in Hawick – a good bus ride from Glasgow, but a delightful venue. The weather was pleasant, there were lots of trees, and we had a great tuneup prior to the contest. I think we turned a number of heads with the sound we were able to produce (we looked slightly scruffy, I suppose, and we didn’t even have matched kilts by then.). Anyway, we put on a what I thought was a solid medley performance on the field (a recording is the performance is located here).
I suppose to no-one’s surprise (but to my great disappointment) we didn’t get on the prize list, and in fact got buried towards the bottom. There was some memorable grumbling on the bus going home, but we didn’t get discouraged. We also took pleasure in watching the CP Air Pipe Band putting on a good show in their grade. They were a cracking good Grade 2 band.
The band felt good about our performance that day (a recording of the performance is located here). Our band got a good listen from the judges, and we picked up a fourth.
Fourth place at the European Championships was a huge, gratifying victory for the band. If I recall correctly we put back a bit more beer than was good for us on the bus ride home. Wonderful memories of the trip.
The precedent had been set by both Triumph Street and CP Air that year. Certainly, the west coast bands haven’t needed to look backwards since.
The Triumph Street Pipe Band on the 1976 Scotland trip:
Pipers: P/M Hal Senyk, Graham Davidson, Duncan Fraser, Jack MacGillvary, Mike MacInnes, Allan MacLeod, Angus Macpherson, Rob Menzies, Drew Noot, Tim Noot, Robyn Palmer, Allan Skalazub, Ian Whitelaw, Jim Wright. Sides: D/S Willie McErlean, Jack Gallaher, Scott Robertson, Jon Moore. Tenors: Jeff Crowter, Jan Laurie. Bass: Bob Gorman. Manager: Bill Russell.
Pictures and audio provided by Allan Skalazub, Rob Menzies, and Hal Senyk.