The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band
The Bermuda Islands Pipe Band (BIPB) was formed from the unification of two previously existing quasi-service pipe bands. The older of the two parent bands began in 1955 as the Pipes and Drums ‘A’ Company (Bermuda Rifles), Bermuda Cadet Corps, who chose to wear the Regimental Gordon tartan in honour of one of its original cadet instructors. The Band’s first public performance was at the Remembrance Day Parade, 11th November 1956 (which the band treats as its anniversary date), leading the war veterans on parade. Upon the disbanding of the Cadet Corps in the early 1960’s, the Band continued as a body of civilian volunteers under the name of the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band.
The younger parent, the Bermuda Pipe Band, composed largely of members of the Bermuda Police Force and the Bermuda Prisons, was formed in 1959. This band wore the Prince Charles Edward Stuart (‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’) tartan, which is also known as the ‘Police Tartan’. The band was soon performing at recruit graduations, ceremonial parades and other Police social functions, a tradition maintained by the BIPB to the present day.
In the 1970’s the Cadets band formed a highland dance group which today numbers around 40 dancers, both performance level and learners.
In 1993 the two bands amalgamated, and elected to wear the Gordon tartan, with elements of the Prince Charlie tartan to honour the traditions of both bands.
Over the years, both bands performed locally at hotels and cruise ships for visitors’ cocktail parties, dinners and dances. Another still active tradition began in 1963 with the weekly performance by the Cadets’ Band of the “Skirling Ceremony” from November to March at Fort Hamilton. A long-established relationship began in 1965 with both predecessor Bands, and now the BIPB, performing with the Band and Corps of Drums of The Bermuda Regiment in Beating the Retreat Ceremonies and Regimental Musical Displays.
The BIPB has an equally strong tradition of representing Bermuda internationally having performed overseas on over 20 occasions, including the United States, Canada, Scotland and Germany. In 2003 the Band proudly represented Bermuda at the Nova Scotia International Tattoo. The Band has twice appeared in the New York City Tartan Day Parade in 2002 and 2004, and the Boston St Patrick’s Day parade in 2008. Some of the Band’s notable and recent international performances alongside the Bermuda Regiment include the Musikschau der Nationen in Bremen, Germany (2005), the Virginia International Tattoo (2007), and Fortissimo in Ottawa, Canada (2011).
The band is presently under the leadership of Pipe Major Aidan T. Stones, Drum Major Jeremey Durrell and Dance Director Marisa Stones.
As a descendant of the Bermuda Rifles, the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band is proud to participate in the Bermuda Tattoo 2015 as they celebrate the Band’s 60th Anniversary, and the 50th Anniversary of their long-time ‘cousins’ in the Bermuda Regiment.