As the final week of the CP Air Pipe Band’s Scotland trip dawned, the exhilaration of winning Cowal had just started to subside. The hectic pace of the previous two weeks, with preparations for the Worlds and Cowal and a quick trip to Oban in between to watch Jack compete in the Gold Medal and the light music events (1976 was the last year of open entries and huge classes for the Gold Medal, with formation of the Competing Pipers Association in the fall and the introduction of the Silver Medal in 1977), gave way to a more relaxed practice schedule for the European Championships and the opportunity to attend a Strathclyde Police Pipe Band practice at the invitation of P/S Angus MacLellan.
Angus was fond of the band’s playing, having judged the band at the Annual Gathering and Canadian Championships the year before, and his words of encouragement and advice were truly appreciated and taken to heart by the band members. Watching the Strathclyde Police was something to behold; their sound and playing was spellbinding and very motivating.
On the drumming side, Bert Barr of the Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band had assisted the corps when he was in BC for a summer school that year and his guidance continued during the Scotland trip.
The European Championships at the Shotts Highland Games was MSR for Grade 2 and the band was playing what would be the biggest set of all the bands in the grade that day: P/M Thomas MacAllister, Blair Drummond, and The Rookery (6, 6, & 6). The band played very well and hoped for a good result (a recording of that performance is located here).
Fortunately, soon after the band played, there was an opportunity to watch the Triumph Street Pipe Band compete in the Grade 1 MSR event. Many of the band members stood on the grassy slope to hear Triumph Street play a great set.
At the prize giving, it was announced that CP Air had won the Grade 2 event and Triumph Street captured 4th prize in Grade 1. There was great celebration in both bands on the announcements.
Overall, it was a truly memorable day for British Columbia pipe bands, with CP Air winning their second RSPBA championship and Triumph Street becoming the first BC Grade 1 band to break into the prize list of a RSPBA Championship.
(Pictures and audio provided by Jack Lee, Terry Dalziel, and Rob MacNeil).