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About the Band

The band photo for 2017

Formed in 1968 as "The Piping Society of Grand Rapids", the band consisted of roughly 10 members including its founding members: Alan Wilson, Ed Gavin, Jim Pringle, Harry Ohanesian, Bill Campbell, and Larry MacPherson.  Shortly thereafter, the group changed the name to the Grand Rapids Pipe Band and elected its first Pipe Major.  

By 1974, the band was consisting of twenty-four members and started out the season with two 2nd place positions at the Midlothian Highland Games in the Slow March-6/8 and March/Strathspey/Reel competitions.  That same year, Buck Matthews, as co-chair for the Grand Rapids Arts Festival, invited the band to the opening ceremonies of Festival '74 - an event which, along with several other acts, was recorded on a souvenir album.
{Note: this recording of the band is now part of a special record in the Library of Congress}

As with most other bands, GRPB went through constant changes in membership during the 1976-1979 period with the biggest highlight during that time being the group's first "Tartan Ball" (Apr 1977).  The Tartan Ball was a fund-raiser featuring a dance band with guest pipe bands from the surrounding areas performing at different intervals during the night.

In July of 1982, the uniform was finally complete with the purchase of new Prince Charlie jackets and uniformed bag covers... just in time for competition in the Chicago PipeFest.  In spite of the heat and ill luck of the draw - opening position - the group looked good and sounded good and placed 4th in Grade IV.

In 1993, the band reached its 25th Anniversary and, in celebration of that milestone, held a Reunion Party that was well attended by its former members.  During the evening, after some encouragement, many of the former members picked up their instruments and played a few tunes with the group.  It was about this time when the membership felt that the name of the band should reflect its beginnings and so the Grand Rapid & District Pipe Band came to be with the "& District" being added to acknowledge those members that traveled in from beyond the boundary of Greater Grand Rapids.

2018 has the band celebrating its 50th anniversary and represents a new resurgence for the band. Many of the members are just starting out their journey on the pipes, but have been very eager to keep learning. 

Click Here to learn more about the bands history!

As the oldest pipe band in West Michigan, we continue to seek out new members and new learners.  We thank you for your support and your continuing interest.