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  SASKATCHEWAN PIPE BAND ASSOCIATION

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The SPBA online archive.

Angus Spence

 

Angus was born on June 14, 1922 in Falkirk, Scotland. Het met his wife Gladwen while they were serving in the Royal Air Force. Following their marriage in 1945, Angus served in India, and they emigrated to Canada in 1948 and settled in Regina, where Angus worked in radio repair at SaskTel.

In 1947, he was a member of the Scottish pipe band that won the European Championship. [Angus with trophy.] Once in Regina, he joined the 2nd Independent Signal Corps Pipe Band, which later became the 10th Field Royal Canadian Artillery Pipe Band.

Angus served the 10th Field as a piper, pipe-sergeant and later as the pipe-major. He was a member of the local Wa Wa Shrine Pipe Band, and for many years he taught young pipers at the Fraser Pipe Band and the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts.

Angus was a very good player of light music, and taught piping technique well. He himself played a fine-sounding set of Thow Bagpipes, which had also been his brothers. Those pipes are now being played by a young piper in Regina.

Angus was a fantastic guy: kind, warm-hearted, fun-loving, and passionate about the pipes and piping. He retired from bands locally and for a number of years lived in Kelowna, British Columbia, where he was a member of the Kelowna Legion Pipe Band. He returned to Regina in 2005, and died in February, 2010.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[photos courtesy of Angus's family]

Andrew McAnsh

 

Andy.McAnsh2 Andy McAnsh came to Canada with his family after World War II. He was an experienced piper, and once here he spent many years instructing young pipers in the 10th Signals Pipe Band, the Regina Boys & Girls Pipe Band, and the Springs of Heather Pipe Band. For many years, Andy was the administrator of the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts at Fort San, and he played a leading role in many activites related to pipe bands, including the Prairie Pipe Band Association.

Andy was shop teacher at Sheldon-Williams Collegiate in Regina, and he passed away suddenly in 1978. His bagpipe is on permanent loan to the Conservatory of Performing Arts in Regina.

Click here for large photo on Andy piping.

[more to come]

[Photos courtesy Jean Chose, Andy's daughter]

 

Pipers & Drummers

Saskatchewan Pipers & Band Musicians

There are many Saskatchewan players who have contributed to maintaining Highland culture in a distinctly non-Highland environment. This is not meant to be comprehensive, but we have added people we know about. Can you supply photos or biographical information?

Beaton Family [St. Andrews] Scots who settled in the St. Andrews/Wapella region.
Jim Carnegie Jim Carnegie was a member of the early Edinburgh Police Pipe Band, and he farmed near Moose Jaw.
Jock Chalmers A Scot who played in the Sask. Horse Regiment Pipe Band and later was instrumental in forming bands and teaching in Weyburn and Estevan.
Howard Chamberlain Long-time drummer and drum teacher in Regina.
George Crawford A Regina piper who was pipe-major of the 10th Field Regiment RCA Pipes & Drums, and later helped form and teach the Regina Police Service Pipes & Drums.
Nellie [Forrest] Dunville Nellie was the daughter of P-M James Forrest of Prince Albert, and for a time she was a member of the famous war-time pipe band of the Canadian Women's Army Corps.
Donald Felstrom bio coming
Gordon Findlater bio coming
Duncan Fisher A Regina piper who was a member of the 10th Field Regiment, and the pipe-major of the Wa Was Shrine Pipe Band for many years, and also in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame for his scoring feats in pro hockey!
James Forrest James immigrated to Saskatchewan from Scotland via Australia and other places. He was a piper in the First World War, and taught and ran pipe bands in Prince Albert. He also published a book of poetry, and a memoir in the form of a novel.
Hugh Fraser Saskatoon piper who served as pipe-major in the Canadina Forces during WWII, was pipe-major of the North Saskatchewan Regiment, and was the founding pipe-major of the Saskatoon Police Pipe Band.
John Hosie A Scots immigrant who farmed in the Silton area and played for many years at local events.
Tom Ireland A Scot who served as a member of the RCMP, and later was instrumental in teaching many children to play their doublings and first tunes in Regina.
William MacDonald Willie MacDonald was born in Scotland in the late 1800s, and came to Saskatchewan with just £5 in his pocket in 1920. His wife and young daughter followed, and they farmed and raised a family in the Weyburn area.
Andrew McAnsh Former RAF pipe-major who immigrated to Regina after WWII and played and taught in many bands, most notably teaching the Fraser Pipe Band in Regina and thr Sprigs o' Heather in Moose Jaw. Andy was also the administrator of the SPBA summer school for many years.
Willie MacGregor History to come.
Andy Mackintosh Served in the Royal Navy WWII and later immigrated to Regina and then Saskatoon.
Russ McKnight Russ McKnight was a community volunteer who organized Highland Games and events in Moose Jaw, and was a member of several local bands.
Don McDonald coming soon
Jim McWilliams Grew up in Moose Jaw, and for many years ran the local pipe band, the summer school, and the "Prairie Pipe Band Association." A dedicated teacher and organizer, as well as a published author/historian.
Hugh Scott Hugh Scott settled in Moose Jaw from Scotland, and was a great organizer for the Sprigs o' Heather Pipe Band and for the Saskatchewan Summer School of the Arts.
Bill Shepherd Bill Shepherd immigrated from Scotland, and was an instructor for the St. Andrew's Pipe Band in Moose Jaw.
Bob Shepherd Bob Shepherd immigrated from Scotland, and was an instructor for the St. Andrew's Pipe Band in Moose Jaw.
Angus Spence Immigrated to regina with his good friend and band mate Andrew McAnsh. Angus played in and later was pipe-major of the 10th Field Regiment. He taught pipers at local bands and summer camps.
Neil Sutherland Neil was in the Calgary Highlanders during WWII, and for a number of years lived in Regina and area where he was a police officer. While in Regina he formed The regina Piobaireachd Society. He was later pipe-major of the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band for many years.
Jimmy Walker Jimmy Walker was recruited from the Dysart & Dundonald area to be a member of the famous Powell River Pipe Band of British Columbia, and he later came to Saskatoon, where he was a firefighter. He taught many excellent drummers in Saskatoon, most notably John Fisher, his son Jimmy Walker [who went back to Scotland and still lives there], and Hugh Fraser, Jr. of Saskatoon.

 


Pipe-Major Neil Sutherland

[This biography from The Calgary Highlanders web site.]

Neil Sutherland was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1904 and learned piping from his father and Archie MacNeill, the uncle of Seamus MacNeill (famous founder of the College of Piping).  Neil served with the 139th Boys Brigade Pipe Band before the family emigrated to Winnipeg in 1914.  Sutherland instructed the 12th Signals Pipe Band, and served in the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada for eight years before moving to Saskatchewan and joining the Regina Police.  He organized a Regina Boys Pipe Band and won awards at the Banff Games two years running. He was given permanent custody of the Beatty Trophy and asked to return to Banff as an adjudicator.

By the 1930s, Sutherland had accepted a position as the chief of police in Melfort, Saskatchewan.  That the Calgary Highlanders have always cultivated talent from unique sources is evidenced by the story of Alex Smart.  In his capacity as Chief of Police, Sutherland one day had to arrest a hobo - Smart - in a railyard.  Upon finding he was a piper, the hobo resided at the Chief's house instead of a jail cell.
When the Second World War started, Smart joined the Calgary Highlanders but Sutherland moved to Manitoba to serve with the Winnipeg Police.  When the Highlanders moved to Camp Shilo, in Manitoba, Smart persuaded Sutherland to come and visit, and in the end convinced Sutherland to join the band.

When the battalion left Shilo for overseas, Heather - a black Scots Terrier belonging to Sutherland - accompanied them, smuggled in the band's bass drum.  Heather didn't return from overseas - being left with a good family in the UK.  A set of Sutherland's bagpipes also did not return home; they were destroyed when a shell hit an ammunition truck in Normandy in which they were being carried.  By that time, Sutherland had been Pipe Major for two years, having taken over from Stoker in 1942.

Sutherland did very well on the courses he took while in the UK; Willie Ross, the Chief of Piping for the British Army in fact wanted Sutherland to stay in England after the war.  But Sutherland returned to the Winnipeg Police, where he was Pipe Major from 1945 to 1970.  He suffered a heart attack in 1972 and died of a stroke in 1973.


And the following letter from Neil Sutherland's nephew Ward Faulkner. We are also very grateful to Ward for the photos accompanying these articles.

My very good friend Ron MacLeod forwarded your request for information on Saskatchewan pipers and bands.  My Uncle, Pipe Major Neil Sutherland of Winnipeg, Manitoba, was a resident of Saskatchewan during the late 1920's and early 1930's.  During that time he served with the Regina City Police, the Saskatchewan Provincial Police and was also Chief of Police, Melfort, Saskatchewan.  While living in Regina, Neil was one of the persons instrumental in the formation of the Regina Boy's Kiltie Band and the Regina Piobaireachd Society.  During his time in Melfort, he was active with the Melfort Pipe Band.  Neil left Saskatchewan during WWII when he enlisted with the Calgary Highlanders and served as P/M until the end of the war.  Upon his return home, he joined the Winnipeg Police force and served as P/M  City of Winnipeg Police Pipe Band for over twenty years.

During the late 1920's and while residing in Regina, Neil was recognized as one of Canada's premier pipers having won the Beatty trophy three consecutive years at the Banff Highland Gathering.  The Gathering was sponsored by Canadian Pacific who also provided financial support for the annual participation of a leading piping competitor from Scotland. Followingwins on three consecutive years, Neil was asked to withdraw from competition and to serve with P/M Willie Fergusson, of Clan MacRae Pipe Band, as a member of the judging panel.

I am attaching a 1932 newspaper clipping describing a trip taken by ". . .the newly formed Regina Boy's Kiltie Band. . ." to North Dakota.  P/M Neil Sutherland and others are mentioned in the text.  I am also attaching a photograph of the first (Neil Sutherland, Regina), second (W. Campbell, Vancouver), and third (W. Pow, Calgary) place competitors for the Beatty Trophy - taken at the Banff Highland Gathering.  I am uncertain which year this was taken.  I also have in my possession Neil's original hand written notation (manuscript book) of pipe tunes that he used during the late 20's and early 30's with some of his original compositions - no photocopiers then!  I'm attaching a sample of this manuscript book (it's too large for my scanner) - the tune is titled Col. Alexander Fraser's Welcome to Banff by N. Sutherland, Regina.

P/M Neil Sutherland was my mentor and piping instructor for many years while I attended the University of Manitoba.  On  January 1,1972, Neil suffered a near fatal heart attack while piping during the Winnipeg St. Andrews Society New Years Day Levee.  The resulting oxygen deprivation caused neurological damage and, although he had a reasonably good recovery, he could no longer finger his beloved practise chanter.  When we sat down to continue my piobaireachd lessons during his early recovery, he lamented sadly ". . . Ward, I can't even play a burl. . ."  I told him not to worry, and " . . . just sing the tune. . ."  Sing the tunes he did, and for the next year almost every Saturday afternoon was reserved for my piobaireachd lesson - with Neil singing and me playing on the practise chanter.  He died on January 5, 1973 - almost a year to the day following his earlier heart attack.  With his passing the family gave me his old original manuscript book and his  hard-bound copy of the Piobaireachd Society books.  The inside cover of the latter is autographed by many of the leading pipers of the day, including, J. S. Ramsay, Willie Ross, John Wilson, Wm. Fergusson, R.G. Hardie, e.t. al.

I am also attaching a copy of a Christmas card sent by Lt. Col. John McEwing.  The front of the card had a photograph of Neil piping, and the inside provided associated text. I have many fond memories of my times with Neil and thought some ofthis information might be of value to you.  I guess my point is that P/M Neil Sutherland of Winnipeg was also a Saskatchewan piper.

Please let me know if I may be of any assistance re your project.

Sincerely,
Ward Falkner, Ph.D.

Pipe Bands

We have tried to locate as much information about Saskatchewan pipe bands as we can. Many people have kindly sent photos, clippings and other items for us to scan and use, and the SPBA is very grateful for this assistance. Do you have old piping/drumming photos, programs or other items in your house that should be part of the collective memory of piping in Saskatchewan? Be sure to contact the SPBA.

 

Early 1900s

Some of these bands were formed specifically for World War I, and some were community bands. Some bands had their start in the early years, and continued through subsequent eras.
The 96th Highlanders 
[Saskatoon, WWI]
The 46th Battalion, CEF
[Moose Jaw, WWI]
The Nellie Small Kilted Band 
Saskatoon [1930s]
The Saskatoon Caledonian Pipe Band
The Prince Albert Pipe Band
The Regina Boys' Pipe Band
The Prince Albert Girls' Pipe Band
[in progress]

World War II Era

The 16/22 Saskatchewan Horse Regiment
[World War II]
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church Boy's Pipe Band
[Saskatoon]
The 12th District Signals Pipe Band [Regina]
Early Regina pipe band history.
The Saskatoon Light Infantry
North Saskatchewan Regiment
2nd NSR [Kindersley]
Article on SK female pipers in the CWAC Pipe Band, 1940s

1950s and 1960s

Following WWII, many new immigrants came to Saskatchewan, including many Scots with significant army and pipe band experience. This era saw the beginning of many new pipe bands, and especially youth bands, in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina.

The Saskatoon Boys' Pipe Band
The Bonnie Bluebells Girls' Pipe Band
[Saskatoon]
The Weyburn St. Andrews Pipe Band
The Weyburn Legion
The Sprigs o' Heather Girls' Pipe Band
[Moose Jaw]
The St. Andrews Society
[Moose Jaw]
The White Hackle
The Regina Boys and Girls Pipe Band [1965-1974]
The Fraser Pipe Band [1974-2011]
The Saskatoon Police
The 10th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery
[
Regina]
The Wa Wa Shrine Pipes & Drums
[Regina]
1970s and beyond

By the mid to late 1970s, many former youth members were looking for adult pipe bands, and many not looking for the military or police style "parade bands," but competition focussed groups. Many of these people had been influenced by instructors and other students at the Fort San Summer schools, and an understanding of the new trends in larger pipe band communities.

Estevan (Elks) PPCLI Army Cadet Corps
1971 -

The Green Braes Pipe Band
[Swift Current]

The Clan Scotia [1976-84]

Victoria Park Pipe Band [1976-2002]

The Clansmen  [late 1970s]
Strathfleet Pipe Band 
Saskatoon [1980s]
The Regina Scottish Pipe Band
[1980s]
The Regina Police Service Pipes & Drums
The 703 RCACC Pipes & Drums
The Celtic Fire Pipe Band 
[Yorkton]
The City of Regina Pipe Band
[1992 -  ]
The Yorkton & District Pipe Band

Summer School Photos

Starting in 1967, piping and drumming summer camps started having an immediate and long-lasting impact on soloists and pipe bands in the region. Players such as P-M Donald MacLeod, M.B.E., Pipe-Major John A. MacLellan, M.B.E., P-M Jimmy MacGregor, Colin MacLellan, Drum-Major Geordie Pryde, D-M John Kerr brought their significant knowledge and experience to bear on players locally.

Summer Schools at Fort San
[1967-1981]
 
 

 

 

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