Big Changes at Cobourg Legion Pipes and Drums

In April 2018, the Cobourg Legion Pipes and Drums partnered with Cobourg Police so they effectively have two roles, two names and two tartans – see link below for article explaining this.  They have been a “fixture” in Cobourg for 50 years – originally with founding Pipe Major George Lovett and more recently with Mary Ito as Pipe Major.  She was Pipe Major for 12 years but has now retired and there are a number of other changes with the band.  Their Communication Officer, Ian McFarlane, calls it a new era.  The Town supports the Cobourg Concert Band but not the Pipes and Drums – they have left that to the Police to support. This year the Highland Games were held but not the Waterfront Festival – you’d think that since they are an integral part of the community, they would deserve support to the same extent as the Concert Band.

Cobourg Pipes and Drums at 2021 Highland Games
Cobourg Pipes and Drums at 2021 Highland Games

Major Events involving the Pipes and Drums

  • Highland Games – report on 2021 event
  • Occasional joint concerts with Concert Band
  • November 11 parade and ceremonies in most years
  • Santa Parade and Canada Day Parade – most years
  • Occasional entertainment – e.g. flash mob – see link below

Changes in 2021
Edited from full announcement. See Links below

  • Mary Ito retired from her position as Pipe Major this summer. She set a high standard for the tunes that were played at the same time that she made the music and the effort fun and family-like, all while over-seeing the many and varied components of band activity.
  • Drum Major and Quarter-Master Steve Shortt and his wife Kimberly, retired from their respective leadership and drumming roles. Steve’s excellence at parade preparation and guidance, and high standard of uniform preparedness, and Kimberly’s years of participation and mentorship as a tenor drummer, means the pair will be more than doubly missed.
  • Long time piper and Past-President Brent Sanderson will have more time to devote to his wood working hobbies/business and to their two new grandsons.
  • Joanne Drury, educator and adjutant, idea-person and implementer, and tireless at all her efforts, will continue to play but as a student of the piobroch, the challenging classical music of solo piping.
  • Ron Taylor, one of the band originals, with a wealth of willingly shared piping experience and James Bruce, a source of band project excellence and guidance, and a fine schooled-in-Scotland piper, have also reduced their band workload as they re-assess and re-assign their energies after many years of playing, parading and helping neophyte pipers.
  • Michael Beech is the new Pipe Major. Michael is no stranger to the area or to the band, having grown up in Cobourg, learning under the guidance of founding Pipe Major George Lovett, and expanding his piping experiences with this, and other, pipe bands. Highlights of those years include the City of Vancouver Police Pipes and Drums,  playing for the Changing of the Guard at both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, at the Edinburgh Tattoo, and in Basel, Switzerland.
  • Michael will be aided in his leadership by newly appointed Pipe Sergeant David MacDiarmid, veteran Drum Sergeant Mark Diminie, and each and every member associated with the music that we offer.

Ian says that if you are interested in becoming a part of this community centrepiece:

“… we offer free instruction in drumming and piping, and would be pleased to make those arrangements if you were to contact the band or any of its members. In the meantime, our sincere best wishes to the band members who have chosen to pursue other interests but whose hearts, we know, are in the Highlands. Should you ever change your mind, our doors are always open.”

My personal favourite memories of the band are:

  • Each of the Highland Games
  • The Flash Mob (see link below)
  • Piping the Sun down at sunsets in summer.

But then I do have a little bit of Scottish blood (Gordon if you must know).


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Bill Thompson
2 years ago

That is totally disgraceful with the history of the pipe band for 50 years even travelling international representing Cobourg.and every council have never done the proper thing to support them.
I was finally trusting that the new council after the previous Delanty, Brocanier ones would change that and do the right thing but sadly not.
Some things never change.
What is the reasoning for that continuous decision ?

Last edited 2 years ago by Bill Thompson