40th Anniversary of the Delta Police Pipe Band
DRUMMER Rich Ryan struts his stuff in the Highland Fling.
DRUM MAJOR Moe Coll makes a presentation to Cpl. Brett Tyre of the Seaforth Highlanders, a Ladner resident, to celebrate his safe return from deployment in Afghanistan.
By DAVID ROBERTS
DELTA – Forty years ago, in 1971, the Delta Police Pipe Band was formed by the then-Chief Constable, Merv Smith. In his honour the band chose the ancient Smith tartan as its livery. Today, the band boasts 52 members and provides an impressive sight and sound in its many public performances.
Representing Delta and Canada overseas, the band has gained the respect and admiration of the pipe band community at the various military tattoos in which it appears.
As a memorable highlight in this anniversary year, an invitation to appear at the Windsor Castle Royal Tattoo has band members honing their skills.
These skills were no less apparent than at the two Robbie Burns suppers held last month at the Sacred Heart School Hall in Ladner.
Over the years the excellence of these events has led to such demand that the band has been obliged to create two suppers on successive nights, the Friday and Saturday of the week of Burns’ anniversary. Both events are traditionally sold out, with a waiting list for last minute cancellations.
The suppers open with Canada’s national anthem and Scotland’s unofficial anthem, the Flower of Scotland, led by a guitar and vocal group from within the band who perform under the name of The Deltones.
Festivities include the traditional ceremonial parade of the haggis into the hall, escorted by sword wielding, kilted warriors and announced by pipers. The haggis is then ritually slaughtered while its qualities are exhorted in the distinctive dialect that Burns used in his works.
Guests dined on the haggis, together with chappit tatties (mashed potatoes), bashed neeps (turnips), and wee green things (Caesar salad). For the heathen amongst us, there was also prime rib as an alternative, disdained by the faithful.
Prior to the after-dinner toasts and monologue to Burns’ Immortal Memory, Pipe Major Colin Abel announced awards for outstanding service to the band, the awards being presented by Drum Major Moe Coll. Recipients included drummer Jeff Cruickshank, piper Bill Bennett, and David Roberts, band photographer and master of ceremonies.
The audience reaction on both nights served to underline the popularity of the band’s Burns suppers and their performance is a promise of things to come in England in May.