The strains of "Scotland the Brave" evoke images of brightly uniformed Scots, in colourful kilts and tall ostrich feather bonnets, marching off behind the pipes and drums to expand and defend the British empire. The John F. Nicoll Pipe Band re-creates those images today with its traditional Scottish and Irish music, the tunes that generations of Celts have marched, fought, and danced to, and with its dress, a local adaptation of the uniforms of the Scottish Regiments of the British Army.
Although the band is based in Towson, Maryland, it performs in parades and at official ceremonies throughout the Baltimore and Washington DC metropolitan areas. Its pipers play at many private affairs including banquets, weddings and memorial services.
Founded in 1977 by former Scots Guardsman, Walter T. Wilkie, the band was named for the famous Glasgow Pipe Major, John F. Nicoll. Mr. Nicoll was a piper in the British Army during World War I and taught piping to many children in Glasgow including Mr. Wilkie.
The band has grown steadily and turns in prize-winning performances at parades troughout Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. In 1988, the John F. Nicoll Pipe Band was the only pipe band invited to march in the parade through Baltimore to commemorate the bicentenary of the United States Constitution. The band has also visited Annapolis many times to play for the spring reception at the Governor's Mansion, at Thanksgiving services in the Naval Academy Chapel and at Academy football games.
In 1992, American Legion Post 22 in Towson, MD adopted the John F. Nicoll Pipe Band as its own. The band plays at various Legion functions at Towson and other posts, and in 1993, led the installation parade of the state legion commander in Ocean City, MD.
The band twice joined the 229th Army Band for the 218th and 219th Pass-In-Review of the 175th Light Infantry at the 5th Regiment Armoury in Baltimore. Also in Baltimore, the band performed at the Baltimore Arena as the opening act for the national tours of the Queen's Own Highlanders and the Coldstream Guards (1991), the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the bands of the Queen's Division (1993), the Black Watch and bands of the Household Cavalry (1995), and the Black Watch and the Scots Guards (1998).
In 2002 Governor-elect Robert Ehrlich invited the Nicoll Band to play at his inauguration at the State House in Annapolis. The following year the band was tapped to appear in the movie "Ladder 49" starring Joaquin Phoenix and John Travolta which is set for release in October. P/M Kevin Brown and former P/S Gary Spinrad made solo appearances for the film.
The Clan MacRae Pipe Band under Pipe Major John F. Nicoll (circled)
Pipe Majors of the John F. Nicoll Pipe Band
|Walter T. Wilkie||1977 - 1983|
|John McCruden||1983 - 1997|
|Kevin M. Brown||2010 - present|
Website updated 1 April 2011
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