History of the Hamilton Police Pipe Band
Forty-two years ago, the band started out small yet determined and very proud to be out on parades representing the Hamilton Police Service.
Many years later, the band is stronger than ever, and still proudly representing the Hamilton Police Services all over North America and more importantly within the community. The band is the third oldest police pipe band in Canada and has played all over the region, as well as parts of the United States. It has won many times in competition.
Most recently in 2001 the band won the title of Grade Three Ontario Champion Supreme. That band moved up to Grade 2 in 2002 and finished the year winning the famed Fergus Scottish Festival and the Sarnia Highland Games. Faced with an extremely talented set of competing bands, the Grade 2 band folded in Sept. 2003.
But the band’s winning traditions continue under the Grade 4 band, which won the Canadian championship in June 2003.
In 1961 the Hamilton Police Pipe Band was organized by a small, yet powerful force of young men in the police force interested in coming together to create awareness, music and some long-lasting friendships.
The band’s very first parade was an historic occasion. Unable to purchase costly kilts at the time, the band was sent out to play wearing their police uniforms. They nonetheless awed the crowds.
“Cops as pipers and drummers???”
You better believe it!
The band roster was never more than 20 musicians in those days. Today, the band boasts more than 70 musicians, made up of both civilians and police officers.
Over the years the band has been under the direction of such notable Pipe Majors as George Henderson, Sandy Keith and Gord MacFarlane.
The band today is a fearsome musical force. Under the direction of Pipe Major Don Forgan, also a Detective with the Hamilton Police Service, the band works to better themselves as musicians and proves this by their competitive nature.
Photos from the band’s archives: