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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > History, Tradition, Heritage
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History, Tradition, Heritage As related to the subjects of piping, drumming and pipe bands.

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Old 06-09-2019, 12:31 PM   #1
EquusRacer
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Join Date: Feb 2003
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Default Oldest Pipe Bands-Clan Macleay

There have been some works on oldest pipe bands. Many on N. American bands have focused on those in the East, and some in Canada, often ignoring many in the West. Clan Macleay Pipe Band (Portland, Oregon) has maintained that it's one of the oldest continuing existing bands in N. America. That's as opposed to oldest bands that are no longer (e.g., Portland Pipe Band, later renamed as Portland Scottish, was formed between 1903-1906, but folded in the 1970s) or those with intermittent existence (i.e., started, folded, started up again, etc.).
When I joined Clan Macleay, its start date was listed as 1927. However, the late and great Joe Hewitt, posited that it started earlier, based upon photos of spectators' clothing and cars. We changed the bio to "formed shortly after WWI". However, recent research found a photograph labeled 1912. A hand-written date, though, needs confirmation. We recentlly found an obituary of the Pipe Major of that band who died of typhoid fever in 1913. Good P/Ms have a lot of skills; but returning from the dead I don't believe is one of them! So we've now established that Clan Macleay Pipe Band has continuousaly existed since 1912, and possibly earlier (the Clan Macleay Lodge No. 122 OSC, for which the band was named, was formed in 1893).
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Old 06-09-2019, 12:54 PM   #2
Rooklidge
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Default Re: Oldest Pipe Bands-Clan Macleay

Right on, Mike. Proud to be a part of it in my youth. rook
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Old 06-09-2019, 05:31 PM   #3
EquusRacer
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Default Re: Oldest Pipe Bands-Clan Macleay

Thanks, Steve. I decided to start putting together a narrative (and photo) history of our band. I've waited too long in that we've lost too many with memories of earlier times; and the rest of us 'geezers' with any historical memory will be gone.
The other thing I encountered were conflicting stories. One, an article in a 1957 Pipe Band indicated that band started in 1954 and that it was not active during WWII. But multiple newspaper articles demonstrated that it was playing during the '40s, as well as during WWII. And 1954 was the band's first Tartan Ball. Lots of articles from the '20s, '30s, and '40s talked about the band by name. Prior to the '20s, any mention of the band was along the lines of "Clan Macleay lodge's pipe band" (which could have been our band, although it also referenced Portland Pipe Band...and we know that, at that time, there wree three bands, including a Canadian Legion band, that shared players). Those conflicting stories made it difficult to establish an earlier date. I'm still in the hunt for anything earlier, but pleased with what we've finally established.
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