September 30, 2001

Prince Charles Pipe Band

Prince Charles Pipe Band (San Francisco, California)

Teaching, discipline and dedication have been the tradition and trademarks of the Prince Charles Pipe Band since it was formed as a juvenile band by J. W. Merriman, Jack Sutherland and Jerry Golanty in the San Francisco area of California in 1968.

In its 33 years of existence the band has trained over 550 pipers and drummers. Now, almost every band in California (and many outside) have a member who once belonged to the Prince Charles Pipe Band family.

The band which began as a Juvenile Band has been many bands over the years, Grades 1, 2, 3, 4, juvenile and even a ladies’ band in the 1970s.

Three bands currently make up the Prince Charles Pipe Band. The senior band is a Grade 1 Band, sponsored by the MacTarnahan’s brand. Eighty percent of its members came up through the Juvenile Band. The Grade 1 band, one of three internationally recognized Grade 1 bands in the United States, completed a successful 2001 season winning the Western United States Pipe Band Association Grade 1 Championship. They are led by Pipe-Major Bruce Woodley, Gold Medal winner at Inverness in 1993, Pipe Sergeant Colin Berta, who grew up in the Junior Band, and Drum Sergeant Liza McAdam, a former winner of the Ladies World Solo Drumming Championship.

At the present time there are also two active junior bands, an “A” and “B” band that compete in Grade 4. In 2002, the junior “A” band will form the nucleus of a new Grade 3 band. Over 50 young people are now involved in training with the junior bands directed by Bill Merriman, one of the original founders. The junior bands are generously sponsored by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco.

With the emphasis on education and discipline, the band’s members pass along the great traditions of Scottish piping and drumming by assisting, teaching and supporting their fellow band members in band and individual competition. Musicianship of the highest order is the goal of all the bands who, besides local and state competitions, began international competition in 1973. Their highest achievement to date was winning the Grade 2 World Championship at Glasgow in 2000.

Dreams and hard work have paved the way to distinguished accomplishments over the years for the Prince Charles Pipe Band, and they continue to aspire to even greater achievements.


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