The following tributes were posted on the band web site shortly after Brian died.
I can't say enough about Brian as a band member. He was loyal, proud of the band, ready to work hard, always willing to lend a hand, and rarely missing from practices or performances. He developed as a player because he was willing to change and adapt, and he could be told when things weren't right.
His friends across the country will recognize the initials "OTBD" as part of his email address, and in fact sometimes on hats and other items. That came about because of a November 11 performance at the Agridome in Regina. Brian was being quite vocal about what we had to do, and I couldn't get a word in, he was so worked up. I said, "Shut up, Brian, you're only the bass drummer." Well, he never let me forget that, and as was his character, he was equally insulted and amused, and he adopted it as a handle, showing up to band with a hat that read "I'm only the bass drummer."
He wasn't "only the bass drummer"—he was also a great friend to many of us in the band. Our family has so many great memories of Brian because of all the times he stayed at our house after or before band gigs. He always pitched in: cutting grass, cooking meals, cleaning, and he even taught Ruaridh how to ride a bicycle! On band trips, he loved to play a role organizing—whatever the band needed, he would be there.
He had a legendary snoring problem, and he told way too many bad jokes, and he circulated the worst jokes on email, and he had this habit of stomping one foot and laughing while he told jokes, so that even when they weren't funny, you still laughed.
Brian loved his wife and children, and everyone who hung out with him in the band was aware of that. He was proud of what a good piper Sandy is, and he was proud of Colin, Patti & Kairsti and their many accomplishments. He talked about his family a lot, and about his hopes and plans for the kids, and the kind of people they would become.
This summer, Brian and I had a few conversations about the band trip to Scotland. He called me the week before we left to say that it was very hard for him to watch us go, and he really wanted to come to the send-off party at O'Hanlon's, but he was off to PEI with the family. When we got back, he called to get the stories on the trip, and asked for one of the old bass heads when he heard that we had changed heads. He planned to come to the Agridome on November 11 to play with us for fun, and pick up the head.
November 11 is always a poignant ceremony, and this year it will be even more so. We'll be thinking about you Brian, and we'll hear your laugh in every beat of the bass drum.
City of Regina Pipe Band
Top ten things I loved about Brian Fraser:
10. He was fun loving. I remember when he laughed and jiggled after having warm water dumped on him on a cold fall eveing at a Fort San PPBA meeting, 1984.
9. He was a problem solver. Came up with the idea to have Ruaridh, age 2, sleep in the bass drum case at the BC Pipers Annual Gathering Ceilidh. 1996
8. He was always up for a challenge, including attempting the caber toss at 4:00 am on the beach at English Bay, while waiting for a 6:30 am flight home from the Annual Gathering.
7. He was patient and kind. Taught Ruaridh how to ride a bicycle.
6. He was particular. He didn't like different foods touching on his plate, and he knew that you should NEVER put a spoon back into the baby food jar after it has been in the baby's mouth.
5. He was a joke teller....like no other. Often the jokes were bad, but he loved telling them.
4. He was passionate about bass drumming. It was very hard for him to have to leave the band.
3. He was a family man. I never saw Brian without him providing a full run-down of each of the kid's activities, and Sandy's too.
2. He did everything at 100%, including snoring. Ask any rookie band member designated to share a room with Brian! He was hard-working, and did a tonne of things for family, friends, and the groups he was a part of.
1. He was a great friend to so many, and loved life. He was an "all-round" terrific guy.
City of Regina Pipe Band
During my first band trip with the CRPB (to Brandon, if I recall correctly), I was...ummm, fortunate enough to be selected as Brian's roommate. "You get to room with me because you're the new kid in the band..." Brian said with a big smile on his face. Grinning, and wiggling around while laughing, doing that stomping thing he did. He seemed as excited about it as everybody else was (all of whom, had previously roomed with him).
Whatever. I didn't really think much of it at the time - that is until it was actually time to go to sleep. I've never heard another human make the noises he made while sleeping. If there was a Guinness category for "Loud and Obscene Snoring" - Brian would have handily won. And to top it off, nothing would make him up. And to make matters worse, he feel asleep first.
"Psssst. Brian." was how it started. Quietly, I tried to get his attention. "Psssst. Brian." Nothing.
Growing tired, anxious and a bit worried about not sleeping before my first contest with the band, I had to step things up a bit.
Laying on the floor beside the bed was my socks. I had taken them off before I went to bed. Ahhh-haaa. This'll do. I tossed a sock at Brian, but it just lofted down and came to rest on his belly like a feather in the wind. That wasn't going to work. I grabbed sock number two, and rolled it up into a wee ball. Certainly this would wake him up. I whipped the sock at Brian, with the double whammy this time: combining the "Psssst, Brian" to coordinate with the impact of the sock-ball. Nothing.
Amazed, I laid back and tried to ignore the hard-to-believe sounds coming from this man. Ten minutes. Sixty minutes. Over two hours passed, and I laid there unable to sleep with Brian blissfully sawing logs like no other.
That's it, I thought. I snagged the extra pillow beside me, and threw it as hard as I could at him - the pillow nailed him perfectly in the head. Nothing. Not even a change in his breathing. Unbelievable.
I was desperate. Tired. Something had to be done. I turned on the light, and opened the drawer between the beds. There staring at me was the Gideon-placed Bible. Even God had to think this wasn't right. I grabbed the Bible out of the drawer, and threw it at Brian - it hit him in square in the legs - and he rolled over a bit. The snoring stopped! But, only long enough for me to turn out the light, and get re-snuggled into the bed. And it started all over again...
Brian was a great friend. One of those "give you the shirt off his back" kinda guys. He was kind, generous (last time I saw him he bought me lunch), and always had a story to tell. As a young, teen aged guy in the band, I often went to Brian for advice. Brian was old enough to know better, but still young enough that he could relate. Brian told me some of the worst jokes I've ever heard - but that was all part of the Brian Fraser charm - he was a terrific guy. He will be missed. I'll never look at a bass drum again without thinking of you, Brian.
A few years back when I was playing football against Brian’s kid Colin, I took a rather bad hit that sent me to the hospital on a stretcher. When I returned to the game an hour later after getting cleared at the Hospital, Brian was the first person to come over and make sure I was alright. I remember him saying “Try not to get to hurt out there, the next pipe band season starts in 4 months.” He always had a good sense of humor to him. Even though his time here was cut way too short, I will always remember him as The big guy, with a big heart!!
It must of been my first Regina Highland Games weekend with the band in 98 and had agreed to let Brian stay at my place on the Saturday night after an evening of festivities with fellow band mates. I believe Ryan Sullivan and him shared the futon in the living room. I don't know how Ryan got any sleep? At the time I was living with a nice young French lady from Quebec who made the most incredible crepes (thin pancakes filled with fruit and stuff for all you non French speakers) and who was nice enough to hand wash the stains out of my band shirt.
Brian was so taken with these crepes Sunday morning, after having several, that he said with his trade mark wiggle and foot stomping thing. "Brett why would you ever need to visit the French Maid (an exotic dance club in Calgary, for all you non-strip-bar-going people) when you have your own French Maid right here to clean your shirt and make you crepes?" Well....
I would have to say that is the funniest thing I had ever heard and still laugh out loud when I think about it. She did not think it was all that funny and I got stuck doing the dishes for a week as she did not want to look like my French maid.
Not only would Brian give you the shirt off his back. He would also give you the stove out of his old house in Yorkton, that I still try to attempt making crepes on today and think about that Sunday morning. I will definitely miss seeing Brian at the local Highland Games and listening to his hilarious anecdotes.
Brian you were a great band mate and the Pipe Band World has lost another Great.
One of my favorite memories of Brian is from the band's one and only trip to Billings, Montana for a St. Patrick's Day parade. It was one of the first gigs that Brian played with us (to my recollection) and had shades of things to come on St. Patrick's Day visits to the states.
Anyways, the night before the parade, a certain drummer in the band, we'll call him "Doug," managed to acquire‚ an 18-inch high gnome type figurine from a local drinking establishment (Pug Mahone's I believe). Of course this acquisition‚ would have had nothing to do with Brian, had the gnome not looked suspiciously like a leprechaun.
So the morning of the parade, someone in the spirit of St. Patrick had the vision of a leprechaun sitting on top of Brian's drum, waving to the people along the parade route. And as luck would have it, we happened to have just the leprechaun for the job. Luckily Brian agreed to the whole thing, so he and I strapped the little guy onto the top of the bass drum with my shoe laces.
Brian was proud of his little passenger and the reaction it caused with the people watching the parade...well that was the case for the first 10 or so blocks . After that, gravity took hold of the Brian's clay bass drum hood ornament and you could see the drum getting lower and lower and Brian's back arching forward more and more as we got toward the end of the parade.
By the time we were done, Brian was in pain and let us know it the whole night and trip home. After that if we ever saw Brian around St. Patrick's Day, which was quite common, he would remind us of his little passenger in Billings and how he would never do something like that again, but we all knew he would just for a laugh, that's the kind of guy Brian was and why so many people are going to miss him.
For each friend that I have been blessed with there is a small part of them that I wish was part of me. Brian, from you I would covet large portions of what made you. The ease of friendship and conversation that you possessed; your sharing of stories and wit; that twinkle in your eye and the way of your laugh. I remember you for these things.
When a friend is lost your thoughts turn to all the others who have stood in that circle; backs to the world all facing inward together focused. I remember their gifts. And I remember yours. You were at the centre of that circle.
I can thank Brian and his friendship for all these things.
PS Brian you never snored loud enough to keep me awake. It was the other old guy!
Reading the stories above has brought back many laughs and a few tears.
Brian Fraser was the kind of person you could talk to about anything. He was supportive, kind, considerate and always had a bad joke to make you laugh.
Brian was a hugely committed and enthusiastic band member. He totally bought into the band and our ideals. Whether it was fund raising or pub crawling or deciding which contests to enter, Brian was the first man to jump in and volunteer to make it happen.
A story that illustrates this about Brian occurred in the winter of '99. We had heard that ALCal was putting on a concert in Edmonton. I was interested in going and asked at band if anyone would like to go with me. Brian didn't hesitate. He said he was definitely in, he could bring his van and he had a place for us to stay for free. So Sean Somers, myself, Ryan Sullivan and Brian headed to Edmonton.
It was an incredible road trip. Brian and I took turns driving, and we of course made a few unsheduled stops for re-fuelling (typical band road trip), as well as picture ops at things like the giant Ukranian Easter egg in Vegreville AB.
We ended up staying in an empty apartment of a complex that Brian's Dad managed. We had sleeping bags, beer and tonnes of floor space. Did I mention beer? (See photos) We stayed up half the night visiting and laughing. Sleeping of course wasn't really an option, for many reasons. The most obvious being that Brian's titanic-like snores are hard to ignore. By the time morning arrived, ok noon, Brian was isolated in the living room, while the rest of us were packed like sardines in a bedroom as far away from him as possible. The snoring didn't really matter, we loved him anyway!
Brian was a good friend and an incredible person. He will be truly missed by anyone who had the priviledge of knowing him. I for one am going to miss his big bear hugs, his contagious laugh and his enthusiasm for life.
I don't think I'd be the person I would be today if it wasn't for Brian.
The memories that stick out most were the kind and generous things that he did. He was truly a great band member too because I don't remember him missing out on practices, pub crawls and band trips and if you said the words "could you come?" he was always there he even helped us pack up our house to move.
I think that it was the trip to Red Deer when I met his daughters Kairsti and Patti they were just as caring as Brian was and we became good friends I also had a friendship with with his son Colin too. Although these people were nice to me too Sandy his wife is a great friend of mine too and is a positive and caring person.
Brian taught me how to get his goofy but funny jokes and I guess passed that talent of his on to me he also taught me how to ride a bike. I will truly miss Brian and his kindness devoton and his jokes (couldn't forget the jokes) I hope that his great family knows that I am always praying and thinking of them.
The most notable memory I have of Brian was from the Maxville 1998 trip. I wanted to compete in the gold medal contest on the Friday of the Maxville games, but had trouble working out transportation issues. Brian and his family had decided to make that weekend into a family camping trip, and when he found out that I was stuck for transportation and a place to stay in order to make things work, he not only picked me up at the Montreal airport at midnight on Thursday night, but also made room for me to stay in his tent trailer with him and his family, which was conveniently located right on the grounds of the Maxville competition. It was but one of many of Brian's kind gestures, and certainly the one that sticks out foremost in my memory.
Ann E. Gray
My first real job was in Yorkton, SK. While I was looking forward to starting my career, I was a little apprehensive in moving to a city were I didn't know anyone. Sure, I knew the band's bass drummer Brian lived in Yorkton, but I didn't know him that well. I soon learned that things like that never mattered to Brian.
One of my first nights in Yorkton, Brian had me out to a Celtic Fire Pipe Band BBQ. From that moment on, I felt that I had become a part of Brian and Sandy's extended family. I have great memories living in Yorkton, almost all of them involving the Fraser family: playing in the band, dinners and hanging out at the Frasers, long drives to and from Regina with Brian, tobogganing and camping with their family. Brian was always generous with his time and he and Sandy had an open-door policy to their house which I, along with others, really enjoyed.
Brian always had a smile on his face, was quick with a joke (no matter how bad), and was everyone's friend. But for me it was his love and dedication to his family that really defined Brian—his family always came first, no matter what. We'll all miss you Brian.
Having moved to the east coast almost 11 years ago, I'd lost contact with many of my friends in the prairie pipe band scene. It was with shock that I learned of Brian's death while surfing the CRBP web page.
I first met Brian (and Sandy) over 25 years ago and played contests with Sandy beside me and Brian's steady beat keeping tempo. Like many old friends, I hadn't thought of Brian in a long while, but learning of his death brought back many memories, both on the field and off. I am sad that I will never have the oppurtunity to rekindle my friendship with Brian again, but feel blessed to have known him as a friend, a collegue, and a competitor.
My heart felt condolences to Sandy and family.
Former P/Sgt, Stirling Pipe Band
Our sincere sympathy to you and your fellow band members, Iain.
I'm sure you have many fond memories of Brian and he will certainly be missed in the Scottish community. He was, indeed, a very colourful performer and it was obvious how much he enjoyed being a bass drummer.
Joanne and Lori Bandur
Regina Police Service Pipes & Drums
I never met Brian, but reading all these wonderful tributes, I obviously missed out, Sincere thoughts to his Family.
Dave Robb, B.E.M.
The Newport News Police Pipes & Drums sends it's heartfelt condolences in the loss of your Bass Drummer.
Tom Crouch, President
Newport News Police Pipes & Drums