A brief history of the band, the band was originally conceived in the mind of Mick Hicks, Who had taught himself to play the bagpipes to a good degree of proficiency.
When he was looking through the local paper, and saw an article that caught his eye. He had seen a photo of an ex Black Watch Piper whose name was Edward McHale and Eddie lived in the area, so Mick decided to get in touch with the newspaper and find out more about this piper, and see if he would be interested in trying to form a band. So he tracked him down, and put his proposal to him.
As a result of their meeting they decided to put an advertisement in the local paper to see what sort of a response they would receive.
The initial inauguration in 1978 was 40+ people turn up, and some of those were experienced pipers and drummers with varying degrees of skills and expertise in their chosen instruments. From the 40+ it soon dwindled to the hard core of the band who were prepared to knuckle down and put in the time commitment and sheer hard work to get the band up and running.
The band set about fund raising by doing various small fetes, boot fairs, carnivals, sponsored marches, etc., with wives of the members pitching in with hard work manning the stalls baking cakes to raise funds and giving their valuable support with their tiny children watching on.
The name of that band was the Maidstone Pipe Band and it quickly built up a good reputation for their smartness and reliability to entertain the public no matter what the weather.
The band was there showing the sights and sounds of Scotland to all who saw and heard them marching proudly down the street. The band wears the modern McDougal tartan which happened to be the tartan of the elected Pipe Major Edward McHale. The tartan was chosen by the membership each, writing down their personal choice on a piece of paper, which was then folded up and put in a hat. The hat was then shaken and the contents scattered on the floor and when a person was walking by, they were asked if they would pick up one of the pieces of paper and read the name of the tartan written on that piece of paper the tartan was then adopted.
The band began to compete at various piping competitions with varying degrees of success and even went to the prestigious Cowel Games.
The band has travelled abroad and played in various carnivals etc., those young children have grown into adults themselves and become staunch members.
The band had a name change in 1997/8 and is now known as The City of Rochester Pipe Band. We have our own crest which is emblazoned on the drums, and was designed by the Pipe Major Tony Daniel and is loosely based on the armorial shield of Rochester, to date the band has had 3 Pipe Majors, 1st was Pipe Major Edward Mchale 2nd Pipe major Mick Hicks and the present Pipe Major Tony Daniel which is also the first Pipe Major of the City of Rochester pipe Band, The present pipe Sgnt., is R. J. Ingram Pipe Cpls, are Ivan Brooks and Cynthia Fuller. There has only been the one Drum Major Brian Brooks who is also the Chairman.
The drum section has had various leading sides including Peter Stoner, Andy Pierce, Charlie Thompson, and Anne Fraser-Reed who had been Drum Sgt. for the last 12 years which in her competing days achieved the title of the North of Scotland ladies Solo Drumming Champion the present Drum Sgnt. is William (Billy) Mackay. Ex Drum Major 2nd Battalion Scots Guards.
We also have had in our ranks George Moulding leading side drummer of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards drum tutor to Queen Victoria School Dunblane, Sultan of Oman drum tutor to his Army, Navy, and Air Force pipe bands. Ian Downey all Ireland solo drumming champion.
The band has a strong link with a German Pipe Band called the Targe of Gordon Drum and Pipe Band Fulda E.V. the City of Rochester Pipe Band have attended various gigs with Targe of Gordon, with great success. The Targe of Gordon is in practice the sister band of the City of Rochester Pipe Band although this is not legally recognised it is a partnership that both bands are justifiably proud of, and look up to us in a great spirit of brotherhood or should that be sisterhood.
The City of Rochester Pipe Band has been represented by various contingents of the band in France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, The United States of America and Singapore,
The City of Rochester Pipe Band is a mix of people from all walks of life, but with a common interest, that of the pipes and drums it is an exclusive club with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere where we like to think there is a place for everyone and they are not discriminated against because of their sex, all are equal and are treated so, whether they are male, female pipers or drummer’s young or old.
There are photos of the various uniforms we wear, plus a description of how to wear correctly.
So remember we teach, we learn, and we strive to get better and by doing so we band together and become like a family.
Remember, the future, very soon becomes our past and in turn becomes our history so keep making it a good and proud history so like the previous years lets build on the foundations & make The Band even stronger than ever.
Yours pipe Major Tony Daniel.