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Band History

On Monday 2nd November 1896, the Caledonian Pipe Band of Southland (pictured) was formed. Now called the City of Invercargill Caledonian Pipe Band, it is believed to be the oldest civilian pipe band in the southern hemisphere.

As the only pipe band in the country, it lead the 50th Anniversary of the Otago (and Southland) settlement parade in Dunedin, NZ, on March 23, 1898.


In December 1900 New Zealand Premier Sir Richard Seddan, took the band to Sydney, Australia, to parade alongside 10,000 Boer War troops, as part of the Commonwealth celebrations.

The band lead on 14 August 1901, the funeral march of the popular Sir John McKenzie, Minister of Lands. The procession slow marched all the way to Palmerston cemetery and took 3 1/4 hours to travel the 6-8 miles!

In 1912 the band performed at the commissioning of Queenstown, NZ's, famous Earnslaw steamer.

Under Pipe Major John Alan MacGee, Invercargill Caledonian won it's first A grade New Zealand championship at Timaru in 1952. This was, under top Pipe Major Lewis Turrell OBE, repeated again in 1979 and 1980.

On 7 March 1973, the band rooms (including the drums and many band heirlooms) was destroyed by fire. The band was due to attend the NZ championships the very next day! Only quick thinking by President Warwick Anderson saw the band compete (with borrowed drums from the Pipes and Drums of Winton). In 1981 the band opened a new hall. Two storied and debt free the facility is still one of the best in the country.

In 1980 the band toured California, USA, as guests of the United Scottish Society. Representing New Zealand, the band competed and won the Pacific Coast Pipe Band Championships. It also performed at many other venues including Disneyland (pictured) and Knotts Berry Farm.
April 1990 saw the band compete under Pipe Major Trevor Morton at the 86th McLean Highland Gathering in Grafton and the South Pacific and Australian Pipe Band Championships in Brisbane, Australia. It's marching display inspired a standing ovation

1996 heralded the band's centennial year. In the same season, due to a general re-grade, the band moved to grade two but under Pipe Major David Pickett and Drum Major Neale Smith went on to win the New Zealand championship in it's home city in March 1997. This was achieved again at Rotorua in 1998 and Dunedin in 1999.

Developed in June 1997 Pipin' Hot, the celtic rock show, introduced an exciting new era (and generation) to pipes and drums. Full of upbeat settings, rock backing and the latest in special effects, Pipin' Hot has an annual 5 day sellout season in Invercargill. It has performed in other NZ centres and in 2001 in Victoria, Canada. Pipin' Hot was an opening act for Little River Band in Southland. It also has enjoyed top billing at conferences, concerts and tattoos NZ and world wide.

In January 1998 the band visited Invercargill's sister city, Kumagaya, Japan, as part of a civic delegation. Warmly hosted by the local Friendship Association, the band performed at the opening of the new Kumagaya Cultural Centre.
In August 1998 the band travelled to Scotland to performed at the prestigious Edinburgh Military Tattoo. It combined with the Dunedin Pipe Band (NZ's second oldest) to perform a special display to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European settlement in Otago and Southland. As official New Zealand representatives the band also attended the North Berwick and World Pipe Band Championships. "Over the Border", a 6/8 march written by Honorary Pipe Major Lang Morton, commemorates the band's march into Scotland at Gretna Green. The band also played with the Edinburgh Military Tattoo when it performed in New Zealand in 2000.

In June/July 2001 the band including its backing band from Pipin' Hot attended the famous Nova Scotia International Tattoo in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. It performed an unique display featuring music from Pipin' Hot. The band also played two Pipin' Hot numbers during "black-out" as well as providing the music for the Edinburgh Tattoo Ceilidh Dancers.

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Copyright © 2002 City of Invercargill Caledonian Pipe Band Inc

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