(The following is a reprint of a July 22 story from Pipes/Drum magazine)
All too often mainstream coverage of anything to do with Highland bagpipes is full of ridicule, jokes and derision, but a new one-hour documentary on Simon Fraser University and the Robert Malcolm Memorial pipe bands’ 2009 trips to Scotland will be aired on CBC television on Saturday, August 7th, at 10 pm EDT.
Battle of the Bagpipes: A Journey to the World Pipe Band Championship tracks both bands’ August 2009 trip to Scotland. The film was produced by Jordan Paterson, of Simon Fraser University’s Learning Instruction and Development Centre, and focus on both groups as they prepare to compete at Glasgow Green in 2009 – where SFU eventually successfully defended its 2008 title by winning Grade 1.
According to SFU Pipe-Major Terry Lee, the film focuses primarily on eight players from the two Vancouver-based bands, considering how pipers and drummers of different generations go about their craft to prepare for competition.
“The film tells the story well, it captures the mood and spirit of the band as we prepare for what has become a defining moment for us every year,” Lee said.
“We wanted to tell the story of the band’s rise to the top at the Worlds through the eyes of these incredibly talented pipers and drummers, and of the sacrifices they’ve made to get there,” Paterson added.
Publicity for the movie include comparisons with The Beatles, and SFU band member Alistair Lee saying, “Simon Fraser University Pipe Band is the Beatles of the bagpipe world. We do it all just like they did it all.”
The project is thought to the first time that a film on pipe bands has been broadcast in Canada.
On The Day, a documentary on the Grade 1 Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band’s 2008 World Championship campaign was met with critical acclaim and strong sale in the piping and drumming world, but the freelanced movie has not been picked up by a network.
Battle of the Bagpipes will apparently only air on the regional, British Columbia CBC network.
A Facebook page has been created to publicize Battle of the Bagpipes.