Established in 1902, the Canterbury Caledonian Society Grade 1 Pipe Band has been active in social and competition arenas continually since that time. A total of seven overseas tours have been undertaken in the past few years, including five to Australia, and two to North America and Canada. The band has performed with distinction in Grade 1 NZ and Centre Championships for many years, and commands a high level of respect wherever it appears.
The band was crowned Champion of Champions of the New Zealand 2010/2011 Season, and then in February 2011 the 88 year old hall belonging to the Canterbury Caledonian Pipe Band organisation was destroyed in the earthquake that hit its home town of Christchurch. Thankfully no band members were in the hall when the structure collapsed, but the drums belonging to the Grade 1 and Grade 3 bands sadly lay among the rubble.
The band is be equipped for the 2012 season with a set of HTS 800 side drums and Professional Series bass and tenor in Ruby Sparkle Fade to Black lacquer with Diamond Chrome hardware.
The Canterbury Caledonian Society Grade 1 Pipe Band traveled to the UK during 2011 to compete in the RSPBA North Berwick, Bridge of Allan and 2011 World Pipe Band Championships, where the BBC followed the band on the ‘Road to the Worlds’.
Leading drummer James Laughlin is a world champion Scottish snare drummer and highly sought-after instructor who has been drumming since the age of 10. Within four years of starting his pipe band drumming career he won the World Solo Juvenile drumming championships in 2000 and 2001; as a member of Simon Fraser University Pipe Band he counts three World Drum Corps titles and two World Pipe Band Championships among his accolades.
James is the chief drumming instructor at the prestigious St Andrews College in Christchurch, and was recently appointed as the director of drumming for the New Zealand National Youth Pipe Band. He is also the principal instructor for the University of Otago piping and drumming program.