June 30, 2010

Three Nevada bands combine to form Grade 4B superband

As a way to celebrate 50 years of pipe bands in the state of Nevada, three pipe bands will suspend individual activities in 2011 to form a group with sights set firmly on competing at the 2011 World Pipe Band Championships in Grade 4B. The new collective is called the Battle Born Pipes & Drums, and comprises the Sierra Highlanders, the Ruby Mountain Highlanders and the Desert Skye pipe bands.

Battle Born is planning to hit Scotland for a full 10 days, taking in other events along the way. According to Reay Palmer, Pipe-Major of the Sierra Highlanders, the three bands will remain intact during the 2011 hiatus, and simply put aside their respective competition seasons while they pursue the state-wide all-star band.

The first Nevada-based pipe band was the Sierra Highlanders, formed in 1961.

“We got this idea because we wanted to do something to celebrate 50 years of the existence of a pipe band in Nevada,” Palmer said. He described the endeavour as similar to that of the 2008 Spirit of Scotland project in Grade 1, except that Battle Born will play and compete throughout the year, rather than only for the week of the World Pipe Band Championships.

The Pipe-Major of Battle Born Pipes & Drums is James Sawyer, formerly a member of the now-defunct Grade 2 Hamilton Police Pipe Band of Ontario.

In December 2008 a similar project was announced with some fanfare, but the North American Pipe Band has not yet come to fruition, its sights originally set on competing in Grade 1. The Hamilton Police organization continues with a bands in Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5.


  1. And sorry but does any one much care about grade 4b THAT much??” I’m sure the people in grade 4B care! Why can’t people in non-Grade 1 bands have their day and do something ‘out there’ to further their bands

  2. Good for the Nevada bands. They live in a state nearlly the size of all of Scotland with about 20% of the population. This seems to be a good solution for aspiring bandsmen and women who live in areas with few others that share their devotion and fire. BTW…Battle Born” is the state motto of Nevada and refers their aquiring statehood during the American Civil War for which they promptly supplied troops for the union cause. Cheers

  3. Interesting idea but can this really be good for pipe bands and the local scene. ?? I dont know many bands that shut down for a year and return to form in tact. And sorry but does any one much care about grade 4b THAT much?? Some one needs to stop all this obsessing with the worlds and start acting more locally. Its killing scenes specially in NAmerica IMHO. Comparing to what SOS did is not at all accurate either. Those were almost all big noises not playing in a band so no harm no foul there.

  4. I’m not sure I will carry much interest in this past the article, but I can see a side of this that DOES make it better for the local scene. While bands not liking certain bands has gone out of style for the most part, in many parts of the country it is still an on going issue. And too often it keeps people from getting together ad making some good music (regardless of grade level). So heres to them and their project, to not only unite players and bands, but for finding a unique way to celebrate the states pipe band history.

  5. Definitely right about bands coming together to form a better band. This is how the Oran Mor band did it 17 years ago. And look at them now, a really good grade 2 band…

  6. these are 3 bands who have struggled to get out in local comps the past few years, obviously this is a way for them to get back out so it’s all good. I can see them continuing together if it’s enjoyable and i’m sure they will be present at the WUSPBA comps next year as preparation for the worlds….good luck to them…and yeah, most folks in this little hobby we all do are not grade 1…in fact most are indeed grade 4 so i’d say a lot of people do care about the grade.



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