September 4, 1976 – Triumph Street Pipe Band captures 4th prize at the Grade 1 European Championships

Reminiscences by Pipe Major Hal Senyk

TSPB 1976 Scotland

Triumph Street Pipe Band – Scotland 1976

Triumph Street in 1976 was a very young band – we were short on experience but developing confidence with our sound and musical presentation. We looked forward to our first trip to Scotland to compete in Grade 1 and get ourselves established as a legitimate Grade 1 band. In those days, in the minds of most of the Scottish pipe band community, the British Columbia west coast was a distant musical colony. We anticipated a bit of an uphill climb.

TSPB 1976 Worlds performance

Triumph Street at the 1976 World Championships in Hawick

The World’s Championship that year was in Hawick – a good bus ride from Glasgow, but a delightful venue. The weather was pleasant, there were lots of trees, and we had a great tuneup prior to the contest. I think we turned a number of heads with the sound we were able to produce (we looked slightly scruffy, I suppose, and we didn’t even have matched kilts by then.). Anyway, we put on a what I thought was a solid medley performance on the field (a recording is the performance is located here).

I suppose to no-one’s surprise (but to my great disappointment) we didn’t get on the prize list, and in fact got buried towards the bottom. There was some memorable grumbling on the bus going home, but we didn’t get discouraged. We also took pleasure in watching the CP Air Pipe Band putting on a good show in their grade. They were a cracking good Grade 2 band.

European Championships Programme Cover 1976European Championships Grade 1 Bands Pages 1976By the time the European Championships rolled around, I guess the word had gotten out that we were a legitimate contending band. We played our MSR in grimy weather at Shotts later in the trip.


Triumph Street competing in the Grade 1 MSR at the 1976 European Championships in Shotts

Triumph Street competing in the Grade 1 MSR at the 1976 European Championships in Shotts

The band felt good about our performance that day (a recording of the performance is located here). Our band got a good listen from the judges, and we picked up a fourth.



Rob Wallace Bob Hardie Jim Hardie Hal Senyk 1976 Europeans

The Master and the Pupil: P/M Bob Hardie of Muirhead & Sons (centre) and P/M Hal Senyk of Triumph Street (right), Scotland 1976. Hal played in the Muirheads in 1972 under Bob and used his tutelage to lead Triumph Street to place ahead of Muirheads at the 1976 European Championships. The prize also marked the first time a BC Grade 1 band had cracked the prize list at a RSPBA Championship.

Fourth place at the European Championships was a huge, gratifying victory for the band. If I recall correctly we put back a bit more beer than was good for us on the bus ride home. Wonderful memories of the trip.

The precedent had been set by both Triumph Street and CP Air that year. Certainly, the west coast bands haven’t needed to look backwards since.

The Triumph Street Pipe Band on the 1976 Scotland trip:
Pipers: P/M Hal Senyk, Graham Davidson, Duncan Fraser, Jack MacGillvary, Mike MacInnes, Allan MacLeod, Angus Macpherson, Rob Menzies, Drew Noot, Tim Noot, Robyn Palmer, Allan Skalazub, Ian Whitelaw, Jim Wright. Sides: D/S Willie McErlean, Jack Gallaher, Scott Robertson, Jon Moore. Tenors: Jeff Crowter, Jan Laurie. Bass: Bob Gorman. Manager: Bill Russell.

Pictures and audio provided by Allan Skalazub, Rob Menzies, and Hal Senyk.