HISTORY OF THE BAND
The Stuart Highland Pipe Band was founded in 1964 under the auspices of the First Parish Church in Bedford, Massachusetts. The original members knew they wanted to form a performing musical group and initially explored forming a banjo band. They gave up the idea when they realized it would be hard to procure the necessary instruction. A parishioner of Scottish descent suggested they mine the rich Celtic pockets of the Boston area and form a bagpipe band instead. The group turned to a local piper, Archie MacLeod to lead as first pipe major and principal instructor. MacLeod, raised in Johnstone, Scotland, brought to the band the lessons he had acquired under the legendary piper Robert Reid.
With Royal Stuart tartan kilts obtained at surplus from the British Army, the band was properly outfitted and originally took the name The Stuart Highlanders Regimental Pipes and Drums. The band moved and changed over the years along with the changes in the greater Boston area, but always the band stuck to its mission of teaching and performing pipes and drums to the best of their ability. Etched on the band’s cap badge, and taken in tribute to Bedford’s historic roots, is the Latin motto, Vince Aut Morire, (“Victory or Death”). The motto appears on the Bedford flag, the oldest in the United States, and a flag that was carried by the Minutemen at the Battle of Old North Bridge during the Revolutionary War.
Today, The Stuart Highlanders boasts more than 80 members and three successful performing groups. The band continues to perform and compete in festivals and events worldwide, including performance at the Basel Military Tattoo in Basel, Switzerland and successful competitive forays in Ontario, Canada and Scotland.
Over the fifty-one years since the its founding, the band has actively pursued its mission to spread a greater appreciation for the art of Scottish bagpipes and drums and Scottish culture in general.