On the 28th of July, the Grade 4 and 5 College of Piping Pipe Bands set out on a fifteen hour bus ride to Maxville, Ontario to compete in the North American Championships. The excitement on the bus never waned even as the hours and kilometers passed. The kids were prepared and ready to show Maxville that a little island like Prince Edward could compete on the North American stage and be a definite threat. The hours of practice, dedication and fundraising paid off when it was announced that the Grade Four band had won! Not to be outdone, the Grade Five band came fifth out of eighteen bands and the Grade Five piping had won the overall for their grade.
Sherra Rogers and newly appointed board member, Andrew Hayes led the band off of the field. In their hands was the Maxville Grade Four trophy. Both the Grade Four and Five bands played off together to the cheers of fellow bandsmen that were assembled in the massed bands and the massive crowd that filled the grandstands. Tears and whoops of joy were the order of the day once the band stopped playing.
Not only did the bands do well but the solo players had some fantastic plays. Jordan Chowen took home a first in his section of the grade four piobaireachd. Sarrah Wood came second in her section of the grade four piobaireachd. Sarah Simpson won her section of the grade two jig and Frank Bowness came fourth in the grade four march for drumming. For further Maxville results, please follow this link: http://www.collegeofpiping.com/competitionresults.php.
It was a very quiet bus ride back to Montreal after two very long days at Maxville. After a stop at Boston Pizza for a band supper to refuel, bed was the next order of business. Day three of competing saw both bands at the Montreal Highland Games. This contest was set up a little differently with the bands performing in concert formation on a stage. The Grade Four band won their grade and the Grade Five band came third in grade five. Much celebrating was once again done at the hotel after the games but this time in the form of a pizza party!
Early Monday morning both bands once again boarded the bus. This time it was to make the long trek home. The bus ride was not nearly as noisy as the first one as it was filled with some exhausted kids. Little did they know that the excitement would not end on the competition field! The bus was met by our very own Executive Director, Karen Hatcher and Piping and Drumming benefactors, Doug and Debbie Hall just across the bridge in Borden. After they climbed on board it share in the exuberance, it was back to the College. Just outside of Summerside, the bus was met by a police car and fire truck to escort the bus back to the College! As the College came into sight, a huge group of proud parents, supporters (including Mayor Stewart) and board members welcomed the very tired but excited bands home. It was a trip that many will not soon forget!
Please follow these links for more coverage on the Grade Four College of Piping Maxville win:
CBC news (skip ahead to minute 17:50):
The Journal Pioneer: http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2011-08-01/article-2686579/Summerside-has-best-band-on-continent/1
Some photos from the momentous trip to Maxville (for more photos, please follow this link: http://www.collegeofpiping.com/photogalleries.php):