Kimberley Pipe Band plans grand tattoo

90th Anniversary of the Kimberley Pipe Band in 2017

The Kimberley Pipe Band in 1962.

Next summer is a significant one as we prepare to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Local movers and shakers are already dreaming up ways Kimberley can celebrate.

But there is also a significant local anniversary as the venerable Kimberley Pipe Band turns 90, and plans are  underway to celebrate that in a fitting fashion as well.

In the pipe band world, celebration means a tattoo.

From the Kimberley Pipe Band website: “A musical tattoo is a demonstration of military drumming, piping and skills. It’s called a ‘tattoo’ because when the British Army was fighting in Belgium 300 years ago, soldiers were called in from the pubs each night for curfew, or Doe den tap toe, Dutch for ‘Turn off the tap’.”

The Kimberley Pipe Band Tattoo 2017 will be held the weekend of July 15.

The 2017 Kimberley Pipe Band’s 90th Anniversary Tattoo will feature a two hour show of music, pipes, drums and dancing;

a street parade featuring over 200 drummers and pipers; a Saturday night Ceilah – an evening party of music and dancing.

Performers are still being confirmed but already the lineup looks good. It includes the Kimberley Pipe Band (of course), the Kamloops Pipe Band Society, the Hali Duncan and Liela Cooper School of Highland Dance, the Cranbrook Bugle Band, the Angus Scott Pipe Band from Spokane, WA.,

The Kootenay Kiltie Pipe Band from Nelson, the Montana Highlanders from Kalispell, the Lethbridge Legion Pipe Band, the Shuswap Pipes and Drums and the Kimberley Dance Academy.

Other Pipe Bands have indicated interest as well, including the 38-member Cowichin Valley Pipe Band. As bands confirm their details will be posted at

Tickets for the big event will go on sale in December 2016.

Pipe Band History:

The history of the Kimberley Pipe Band began in 1927 with the arrival of two brothers to a small mining town in the East Kootenay.  Angus Scott came to Kimberley in 1926 to work for the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, now known as Tech Cominco.  In the following year Angus and his brother Hamish, along with a small group of enthusiastic pipers and drummers, established the Kimberley Pipe Band.

With Angus Scott as the pipe major, the band made its first public appearance in the Kimberley Day parade on July 1, 1927.  Marching with the Pipe Major were Dick Burke, Jim Erwin, Hugh Fraser, Alex Fergus, Gordie Taylor and Hamish Scott.

In the early years, the band performed mostly in Kimberley and in the Kootenays, but in 1936 they were to take part in one of the most important events in the history of sport-conscious Kimberley.  In that year, the Pipe Band accompanied the Kimberley Dynamiters to Calgary where the hometown hockey team won the Western Finals, on route to the prestigious Allen Cup.  It was the first of many momentous occasions where the talents of the band would be displayed.

In 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, some band members enlisted to fight for their country but the band continued to flourish back home in Kimberley under Pipe Major Alan Graham.  In 1943 Mrs. Nessie Oliphant, an accomplished dancer and piper, became Pipe Major.  Nessie remained Pipe Major until V-J Day when she resigned, “because of a man’s hand”.

At war’s end, in 1945, the Scott brothers returned to Kimberley and Angus again became Pipe Major.  In the following year Hamish assumed command from his brother and he continued as Pipe Major until 1968 when poor health forced him to retire.

​An exciting honour came to the Pipe Band in 1971 when the Royal family made a visit to the East Kootenay.  Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne made a stop at Fort Steele Historic Park, and it was there that the thirteen member Kimberley Pipe Band under the capable direction of Gordon Stewart, performed for royalty.  (Kimberley Pipe Band History Book II)

The Kimberley Pipe Band hosted its first tattoo on their 50th anniversary in 1977. They have held one every ten years since.


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