Members of the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums now look as good as they sound, thanks to a financial contribution to the tune of $26,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Wednesday evening the band hosted Stratford police chief John Bates, MPP Randy Pettapiece and Rena Spevack, of the trillium foundation, at the Army, Navy and Air Force Hall to celebrate the recent investment.
The funding allowed the band to purchase a new kilt and vest for each of its members. Some of the kilts had been in service for more than 30 years.
“When we found we had received the grant, we immediately placed an order at MacLeods Scottish Shop in town,” said pipe major David Nicoll. “They arranged the weaving of the material and the making of the kilts.”
These aren’t just any new kilts, however. They were created from the band’s own tartan – designed and registered in Scotland by drum sergeant Scott Baughman.
The band debuted the new tartan at a performance at Anne Hathaway Residence on the first day of August.
“A lot of people have noticed the new look and complimented us on the tartan,” added Nicoll.
The new uniforms will help the band as it celebrates Scottish heritage and music by performing throughout Southwestern Ontario.
Pettapiece congratulated the band on its new uniforms and for its work helping to advance the public's understanding and appreciation of pipe band music.
“I am very pleased that the Ontario Trillium Foundation has acknowledged their work, and that they will be able to expand and offer additional performances,” he added.
Members of the Stratford Police Pipes and Drums come from Stratford, as well as neighbouring communities in Perth, Huron, and Waterloo counties.
The band is a familiar attraction each year at fairs, parades and charitable events throughout the region. One of the highlights is its annual concert at the gala opening of the Stratford Festival.
The Band often marches with Royal Canadian Legion Branch 8 in Stratford and Unit 261 of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Association, and participates in the annual Ontario Police Memorial at Queens Park in Toronto.