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Scotia Pipers

Dysart and Dundonald Pipe Band

Formed from humble origins of Dundonald, Fife in 1929, the band elected its first Pipe Major in Bob MacKay and at that time the band were known as Dundonald Juvenile Pipe Band.

In 1935 Bob MacKay retired as Pipe Major and Alex Smart took over the leadership. A year later he was joined by David Bauld who became leading drummer.

The band was disbanded through the war only to reform in 1945. The reformation of the band was down to committee members Charles Kennedy and James (Diamond) Davidson and they appointed Hunter Wylie as Pipe Major.

In 1950 Robert MacKay, nephew of Bob, took over the reigns as Pipe Major. In the same year the band became known as Dundonald Colliery Pipe Band. This helped the finances of the band with each miner at the colliery having a penny a week deducted from their wages to help increase the band funds.

In 1952 the band became Juvenile Champions at Cowal, making his debut for the band was a young lad by the name of Robert Shepherd.

Dundonald Colliery became grade 3 World Champions in 1953 at Stenhouse, near Edinburgh, therefore they were upgraded to grade 2.

The first uniform since 1929 was purchased 25 years later in 1954 and once again the McDonald tartan was chosen.

The band continued with fair competition success and in 1958 a peak was reached when the band won its last honour, the Grade 2 World Championship at Links Park, Aberdeen.

From this pinnacle the band went into steady decline as the Dundonald Colliery was closed in 1965. The village and the band had lost their creator and the future was bleak.

However, the Francis Colliery in Dysart decided to adopt the band. Thus, this is how the band is now known as Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band. The adoption and change of name unfortunately didn't provide an immediate cure.

Pipe Major Robert MacKay retired the following summer after devoting sixteen years service to the band.

Only three members were left namely James (Premo) McFarlane, George Shepherd and Robert Shepherd.

The committee appointed Robert Shepherd as Pipe Major in 1966. Bob may not have been the most tactful of Fife piper but he certainly was the most effective. Within a few weeks of his promotion he had rallied more musicians around him and the band actually managed a few public appearances.

The following winter Bob decided he would have to rear his own players to make satisfactory progress. Another huge step was taken and Dysart & Dundonald youth policy was born.

By 1968 the bands youth policy had begun to manifest. The band started to really grow in stature and for the first time since 1958 it won a significant prize.

Having previously been relegated to grade 3 the band overcame the odds to beat all the other grade 3 bands to lift the honours at Dunblane in September 1968.

In 1969 the youth policy was progressing so rapidly that a novice juvenile band was formed and it went on to lift the British Championships at Renfrew. This was subsequently followed by the World Championships in Perth where the novice band finished third and the senior band being pipped for the title by a mere 1/2 of a point.

The band became Champions of Champions in 1970 and was subsequently upgraded to grade 2. This coincided with the Juvenile band changing its name to Ballingry High School.

The Pipe Band World was reeling from the impact of Bob Shepherd's bands as they both won their respective Champions of Champions Titles in 1971. Due to a major piping event in Canada the grades were frozen and as a result the band were not promoted. That year the band won the five major championships.

In two years in Grade Two the band took part in ten major championships being placed second in the first two and winning the remaining eight giving them a magnificent 58 points out of a possible 60.

In 1973 Dysart & Dundonald were finally promoted to Grade 1 and Bob Shepherd's dream had come true.

Grade 1 titles won by Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band:

World Champions Twice

Cowal Champions Four times

British Champions Three times

Scottish Champions Seven times

European Champions Twice

Supreme Champions Three times

Intercontinental Champions Once

Not bad going for someone who started off with only three pipers, including him, and an old wooden hut, at the end of the miner's row, as a practice area.

In 1983 Bob Shepherd retired from the playing side and set up his own reed making business. Brother, George Shepherd, took over as Pipe Major and had moderate success.

George lasted six years at the lead of the band before stepping down in 1989 to help his brother, Bob, with his Reed and Chanter Business.

The replacement Pipe Major this time was Tom Brown. This was a difficult time for the band as a few players moved on and new players were hard to find. Tom built up a very good novice juvenile and juvenile band at Lochgelly High School and was offered a full time position as piping tutor at the school. The school bands have won many major championships under Tom's guidance.

1994 saw Tom giving up his role as Pipe Major of Dysart & Dundonald with David Barnes taking over. Tom had decided that he wanted to concentrate on his full time tutor position at the school and bring through the young talent.

David Barnes was previously with Polkemmet Pipe Band and had a very successful season with them in 1991. During David's time in charge of the band, they were invited to the Inter Celtique Festival in L'Orient, France.

David had adopted Ravell's Bolero for the pipes and the massed bands, at the sports stadium, played this to a capacity crowd. David Barnes left the band to take up a full time position with Queensland Police in Australia.

In 1998 James Murray took over the mantle of Pipe Major with his brother, Dougie, taking up the position of Pipe Sergeant.

The band were now gaining in experience and were always placed in the top ten but unfortunately not on the prize list.

Due to work commitments James left the band and was replaced by Brian Lamond in the winter of 1999. Brian had played with Polkemmet, Vale of Atholl and was a member of Victoria Police when they won the World Championships in 1998. On returning home to Fife, from Australia, Brian was looking to join a Scottish based band.

This coincided with Jimmy Murray's decision to step down, due to work commitments. Brian introduced several of his own compositions to the band's selections.

In August 2000 at the World Championships, at Glasgow Green, the band finally qualified for the finals, the first time they had done so since qualifying was introduced. The band eventually finished a very creditable 9th, and also gained high acclaim from the experts on Radio Scotland's Piping Programme, Pipeline.

The band finished their first season under Brian on a high note, gaining sixth place at the Scottish Championships, at Victoria Park in Arbroath. Their first top six position since 1989 at Glenrothes.

Brian has also been busy recording his second Compact Disc "Out to Play", which is a follow up to his highly recommended "Another Day at the Office" album that was recorded in Australia.

Brian went on to lead the band through various successes. The band enjoyed numerous trips to Brittany, namely for the Festival Interceltique in Lorient, the Festival de Cournaille in Quimper and also the Festival de la Danse Bretagne in Guingamp. The band had very prosperous years from 2002-2006, picking up a raft of prizes at major competitions.

The 2002 season had been the band's most successful in many years, with the band claiming 6th at the Scottish Championships, 7th at the European Championships (with a 3rd place in piping along the way!), 6th at the British Championships as well as a season high 5th place at the Cowal Championships.

The band had an indifferent start to th 2004 season with 9th and 10th places at the major contests. In 2004 the band won the contest at Bridge of Allan, which is affectionately known as "The 6th Major" on account of the large and high quality grade 1 presense in attendance at this fine contest. The Bridge of Allan win was a marvellous achievement for the band and kept morale high going into the World Championships the following week where the band would go on to win the qualifiying event.

The band went through the qualifying event and performed in the "final" event at the World Championships in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2006 - a fantastic achievement in a very healthy period of stability for the band under the leadership of Brian Lamond.

Unfortunately, after the 2007 season the band were forced to disband for a various personnel reasons. The uniforms were locked away and a set of brand new drums lay dormant in the Dundonald Institute.

Midway through the 2010 Pipe Band season, and after a lot of talk surrounding a comeback for the band, it was evident that a lot of the old "Dysart Boys" were in attendance in a spectating capacity at a lot of the major championships - truly a huge waste of talent and potential. Sensing that there may be an opportunity a few of the old members set about sounding out some key personnel. As a result the band held a meeting in September 2010 where the band was was reformed. Greig Canning, a former Dysart player from 2002 - 2006 who had since plied his trade with Manawatu Scottish and the House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead, was appointed Pipe Major. Lee Innes, another old Dysart player, returned for his 2nd stint in charge of the drum corps and was instated as Lead Drummer. Stacey Miller, a third ex Dysart player, was appointed to lead the tenor section after spending a period of time with the Vale of Atholl.

The new leadership team took charge of the band for the first time in November where the band performed at the annual Armistice parade in Cardenden. The band have also taken up the invitation of performing at the Lomond and Clyde Invitational Contest in Glasgow in March. This will be the band's competitive debut under the new look regime.

The band have been hard at work not only practicing but recruiting and fundraising to ensure this project can start in the brightest possible manner. The band would like to thank P/M R. T. Shepherd MBE for providing us with a brand new set of chanters - the band would never have made it this far without this support and encouragement. The band would also like to thank all of the members of the local community who continue to support our fundraising. We hope that we can repay everyone that has helped us with some great music , hopefully a few concerts in the near future and ultimately some silverware to be proud of!

The band are currently rebuilding for the 2011 season under this new leadership in what we hope will you agree is a very exciting time for the band. We would like to thank everyone for their support so far and wish everyone in the piping and drumming worlds a very happy 2011 and many successes on and off the field! The band practices twice a week - Monday and Thursday nights form 7PM at the Dundonald Institute Cardenden, Fife. We operate an open door policy and anyone is welcome to come and listen to the band practice.


  • Dysart and Dundonal Pipe Band playing at the Armistace Parade in Cardenden 2010


    Dysart and Dundonal Pipe Band playing at the Armistace Parade in Cardenden 2010

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