Residents of Langley all their lives, 17-year-old Brian Haddon and brother 15-year-old Graham Haddon, recently returned home from a “top of the world” type of experience in Scotland.
The pair travelled to Glasgow to participate in the Aug. 11 World Pipe Band Championships as part of their Simon Fraser University grade three A junior pipe band.
Together with their Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band mates, the Haddons placed first in front of more than 35,000 spectators.
“It had been a long time coming and the band has earned the honour with all of [the] effort they have put in, especially over the past three years leading up to the championship,” said Graham Haddon in an email to the Langley Advance from Scotland. “It was an awesome group of people to share the win with!”
The boys’ mom, Lori, noted that both Brian and Graham have been asked to join the elite grade one pipe band – the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band – effective immediately.
“Needless to say, they are both thrilled at being given this opportunity and are looking forward to the new challenges that performing and competing with the SFUPB will bring,” she said.
What began with a family visit to the 1999 B.C. Highland Games to learn more about their heritage, grew to their dad Gord participating in Scottish athletics. From there, the boys became interested in the “pipe band with the blue shirts.”
“As they grew older, they were still interested in Highland music,” continued Lori. “Terry Lee, the pipe major of the AFUPB ... told us about the Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band and the programs it offered.”
The boys were hooked and began their education in 2002 at the tender ages of six and five. Brian chose the pipes and Graham chose the drums.
“And they have been learning and playing with the various levels of the RMMPB for the past 10 years,” she said.
This wasn’t the duo’s first trip to Scotland. They also went in 2009, when their grade three band placed fourth in the juvenile class, given that all band members were under age 18 at the time.
As their mom explains it, the boys have earned their right to play in the band, and at the competition, by developing the skill level required. It was this skill that assisted the band in reaching first place.
“It was the best way possible to finish 10 years of hard work in the RMMPB,” commented Brian. “It also meant representing the band, the university and the country on the world stage by laying down the most impressive performance we could on the day.”
The Simon Fraser University Pipe Band placed third in the competition against other grade one bands, while the other junior band – a young grade four band – also placed third in its competition.
“This is the best, it’s just the best,” shouted Brian after the announcement came that his band had won.
“They’ve both worked long and hard for this. I’m proud of them.” Lori said.