One of the United States’ most well-known and accomplished pipe bands, City of Washington reportedly will not compete in 2014 due to lack of numbers according to sources close to the group.
The band, which has struggled to maintain a competitive roster over the last five years, is so far only able to field eight pipers, with winter recruitment efforts not coming to fruition, and two pipers who had intended to compete with the band recently pulled out, leaving the group with little choice but to nix the year.
It is not known if members have been given a blessing to find other bands with which to play, and Pipe-Major Dan Lyden had not responded to a request for comment at publication time.
The group has tried to establish an unofficial feeder-band system with both the Guilford & Glencoe Pipe Band, which has also fallen on hard times, leaving only the Grade 3 MacMillan Pipe Band of Maryland as a strong source for recruitment.
Founded in 1961 as Denny & Dunipace (in tribute to the Scotland-based band of the same name, but completely unconnected), the group has competed in Grade 2 and Grade 1 ever since, with its most successful years being in Grade 1 in the late-1990s and early-2000s, when it finished as a high as second in the Grade 1 North American Championship.
A source close to the band said that there is a contingent within the remaining group “that would like to see if there’s any way to use the freedom of a no-competition schedule to breathe some wind into the sails.”
City of Washington was demoted to Grade 2 by the RSPBA after their Grade 1 MSR performance with 10 pipers at the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships, and never was able to return to Grade 1. The band finished last overall out of seven bands competing in Grade 2 at the 2013 North American Championships.
In November of 2013, the Grade 1 Oran Mor Pipe Band of New York folded and merged with the Grade 2 Stuart Highlanders of Massachusetts, leaving the United States with one Grade 1 pipe band, the Los Angeles Scots.
The Greater Midwest Pipe Band recently formed to create a new Grade 2 group in the Chicago area. The band’s website currently lists five members.