Pipers, Drummers & Pipe Bands
Taken from the 40th annual commemorative program.
Piping and drumming are the heart and soul of the Colonial Highland Gathering. For the competitors, the Gathering at Fair Hill is known as a “piping” Games. Such an emphasis reflects, in part, the particular enthusiasm of the founding members of the Delaware Scottish Games Association. And, we’ve come a long way, baby....
In looking back over the old programs from the 40 years of Highland Gatherings, one is struck by a host of impressive accomplishments since the 1960 Gathering at Delaware Park. You can tell that the hard work by the stewards and officers have made this Gathering something special.
Look at the judges that have participated in dancing and piping, the dramatic improvement in athletic records for the Highland Heptathlon, the dignitaries present for the World Champion Sheep Dog Trials... even the casual observer can easily see that since 1960, things have indeed come a long way.
No accomplishment is more impressive, however, than the change in the number of competitors in the piping, drumming and pipe band competitions.
What started out as a small group — in 1965 there were 7 entrants in the drumming competition, 7 pipe bands, and 23 individual pipers — has grown to a most impressive list: in the year 2000, 40 pipe bands competed along with 36 drumming competitors and 183 individual pipers. That year, over 500 pipers were on the field when the massed bands marched at the mid-day ceremony!
Such interest stems from a couple of truths about the Colonial Highland Gathering. First, the emphasis placed on accommodating young musicians has, over the years, drawn literally hundreds into the ranks of pipers and drummers, and allowed the less mature players to compete against their peers. Second, the emphasis on raising the standard in this country so that the American musicians could compete in the international arena has generated top-grade players who represent the U.S.
These Games are respected for their quality competitions across the board, and none more so than those of piping, drumming and pipe bands.