August 29, 1970 – Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band wins the Juvenile grade Cowal Championship

Forward by BCPA President Rob MacNeil

The 1970 Scotland trip by the Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band was a remarkable competitive achievement and a catalytic event that sparked the rapid rise of BC pipe bands on the international competitive stage. The pioneering vision and drive of piping instructor and BCPA Life Member Malcolm Nicholson to take juvenile pipe bands to compete nationally and internationally, and his dedication to the development of young pipers was significantly recognized in 1978 when he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. The continued development and success of juvenile pipe bands across the BCPA region for many decades is a testament to his spirit and vision. 

Reminiscences by band member Allan Skalazub

In 1970 Malcolm Nicholson took the Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band to Scotland. The band stayed in the bucolic surroundings of the Lawmuir Agricultural School near East Kilbride not far from Glasgow.  The boys enjoyed practices, impromptu football games and the famous roast tatties in the school dining room.

1970CowalGatheringProgramPage-JuvenileBandEventThe band competed at Dunoon in the Cowal Pipe Band Championships, placing first in Juvenile grade and winning the Glasgow News Trophy. This was the first time in 63 years that a band from outside Scotland had won this prize and the officials were a little reluctant to let us take it with us!

At Shotts, the European Pipe Band championships, the band again won the Juvenile grade contest and was awarded the Clarkston Sharp trophy.  Finally, at the Commonwealth Games site in Edinburgh, the boys won the Juvenile grade and placed 3rd in Grade 3.

Of note: just over a year later, bass drummer Terry Leonard and ten of the pipers from this band joined with leading drummer Willie McErlean to found the Triumph Street Pipe Band.

Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band 1970

Band photo L – R

Top row: Malcolm Willis, Dave Dryhurst, Norm Spears, Terry Leonard, Mike Palmer, Stu Rutledge, Gordon McCartney. Middle row: John Wright, Sandy Marshall, Angus MacPherson, Tim Noot.  Seated: P/M Donald MacMillan, Drew MacKay, Allan Skalazub, Malcolm Nicholson, Dave Anderson, Jimmy Leonard, Ken Ringham.  Missing: Colin Abel, Sandy Shatford



Vancouver Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band Competing in Scotland 1970

Band in competition – photo taken by Alec Marshall







Vancouver Sun Article - Kiwanis Boy's PB

Vancouver Sun Article:

“Piping pipers off to Scotland
As a fitting farewell, Cindy Chambers, 13, of Burnaby Ladies’ Pipe Band, showed up at Vancouver International Airport on Tuesday to see members of Kiwanis Pipe Band off to Scotland. They will play at Glasgow and Edinburgh from Saturday through Sept. 6 and return to Vancouver Sept. 10″





Vancouver Kiwanis Boys PIpe Band Arriving Home Victorious

Vancouver Sun Article:

“Victorious Musicians of Kiwanis Boys Pipe Band arrive at Vancouver airport Thursday after winning Glasgow News Challenge Trophy in competition at Dunoon, Scotland. Bandsmen out-piped 103 other groups to take prize out of Scotland for first time in competition’s 63-year history. Band director Malcolm Nicholson carries trophy. Pipers also completed elsewhere in Europe.”