Dunvegan Girls’ Pipe Band
In 1950, a group of Highland dancers in the town formed a pipe and drum band later known as the Dunvegan Girls’ Pipe Band. The mothers of the band members asked Mr. Charles Brown and Mr. Harold Clark to be pipe instructor.
The first members of the Dunvegan Girls’ Pipe Band were Grace Marshall, pipe major, Esther Sinclair, drum major; Lois MacNeil; Heather Stewart; Shirley Porter; Helen Anne Lacey; Betty O’Hara; Faye Fraser; Jeanette MacNaughton; Edna Henderson; Marilyn White; Gloria Weatherbie; Maureen Connors; Dianne Johnson; Joan Lacey; Linda MacLeod; Joan MacLeod; Poldi Morris; and Erma Morris.
The first meeting of the mothers’ auxiliary was held at the home of Mrs. Dan MacLeod. The first president of the auxiliary was Mrs. George Henderson.
The mothers auxiliary contributed to the success of the band and through the years was responsible for the making uniforms and holding functions to raise funds to support the band, which has also received much support from the town and organizations in the community.
After the first year, the band traveled to the Gaelic Mod in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton. Dame Flora MacLeod of Scotland opened the Mod, and was so impressed with the band that it was decided to name the group after her castle in Scotland, the Dunvegan.
The MacLeod tartan was chosen in her honor, along with a corresponding red tartan, the Wallace. The pipers wear the Wallace, which is red and black with a yellow stripe, and the drummers the MacLeod, yellow and black with a red stripe.
The original members of the band attended the Gaelic College in Cape Breton, receiving instruction in highland dancing. Credit goes to Mrs. Robert MacLeod (Evelyn Dunbar) of Lorne who began teaching the girls highland dancing, and because of their success their mothers felt they should form a pipe band.
The band has performed very successfully and has played at a number of important functions. Included in their performances at the opening of the Canso Causeway in 1955; the opening of the new Memorial University of Newfoundland (Prime Minister Diefenbaker and Mrs. F.D. Roosevelt were on the viewing stand); the maiden voyage of the liner Prince Fundy out of Yarmouth; and the teaming up with the Heatherbell Band to pipe athletes onto the field at the opening of the Canada Games in Halifax.