The Sutherland Pipes and Drums, formed in 1965, is the culmination of a group of like minded individuals that wanted to promote the sound of the highland pipes and drums in the south eastern counties of England. Based in Corringham Essex, the concept and its practice and principles were the brainchild of one man following a chance meeting with a former Queens Own Cameron Highlander, Pipe Major Dan Macrae.
Founder Member, former Pipe Major and now Honorary President of the Sutherland Pipes and Drums, Mr Eddie Duce met Pipe Major Dan MacRae in the early sixties whilst on holiday in Scotland and after a short conversation began a lifelong friendship that would involve Eddie travelling up to Scotland on a regular basis for chanter lessons with the Pipe Major.
Eddie, together with a few friends, formed the basis of the band you see today. Wives and partners became the hard working committee members, supporting those who played instruments in managing the engagements, uniform procurement, fundraising and publicity in much the same way the bands committee manage the bands administration today.
Right from the beginning, key decisions were made in order to make the Sutherland Pipes and Drums unique amongst other bands that exist in the south east of England... these decisions included;
•That we would not perform in competitions, but instead promote the sound of the pipes and drums to the public and to train our pipers and drummers with a view to strengthening this vision.
•That the band’s March Past (regimental band tune) would be ‘The Heights of Cassino’ written by Pipe Major Dan Macrae during his military career when he was the Pipe Major of the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders at the Battle of Monte Cassino during the Second World War.
•That we would base our principles on military bands, including the style of playing, drill and our uniform.
•And that we would wear the 42nd Argyll and Sutherland tartan (commonly known as the Black Watch) and the Sutherland Clan badge and in doing so, request permission from the countess of Sutherland and Lord Lyon of Arms (Scotland). Permission was sought and granted and formed the basis of our band name ‘The Sutherland Pipes and drums’.
These decisions and the permission gained from the Countess are the basis of the Sutherland Pipes and Drums style and deportment and the band continues to strengthen and evolve as time moves on. We now have a band with a diverse range of people from many different backgrounds, male and female, who are a credit to our sound and presentation.
Over the years, we have played in countries across Europe promoting the UK at trade fairs and ceremonial events. We have played
for members of our Royal family at celebrations such as the anniversary of the liberation of Brussels in 1994. As well as Armistice parades, fetes, carnivals, military tattoos the band also has the pleasure of playing at weddings , Burns nights and other formal and informal dinners and dances.
As well as our vision to continually improve our hard work to develop our repertoire of tunes and displays, the members of the band are a social network of like minded friends who enjoy each other’s company and regularly meet on a social as well as professional level.
The Sutherland Pipes and Drums continue to welcome new members into their ranks and are as proud today as they were in 1965
to wear the uniform and display the crest of the Sutherland Clan..Its motto ‘Sans Peur’ which translates to ‘Without Fear’ is known
and adopted by each band member. Although we do not go into battle, we strive to adopt the proud traditions of the Scots Guards by presenting ourselves with professionalism and excellence when we turn out to play in front of the Great British, and indeed the European public.
Copyright Sutherland Pipes and Drums 2014, Corringham, Essex