The Grandfather Mountain Highlanders Pipe Band was founded in 1974 by Agnes MacRae Morton and Harvey E. Ritch. (Harvey had previously founded the Charlotte Scottish Pipe Band, a prize winning grade ll band with a World Champion drum corps – see below) This new Grandfather group consisted of young, but very dedicated, players. Within two years, they earned the title of Southern Champions by winning at the Stone Mountain Highland Games. Since then, the band has won this title many times and they are the current Southern Pipe Band Champions. Recently, the band placed 2nd at the 2003 North American Pipe Band Championships in Maxville, Ontario. Harvey Ritch was the band's first Pipe Major and served in this capacity until 1981. Ken Swinton served as Pipe Major from 1981 until 1983, and led the band to a victory at Stone Mountain. Ed Krintz then became Pipe Major and took the band to a new level. In 1985, the band won nearly every contest they played and was upgraded to Grade II in 1986. Bill Caudill then assumed Pipe Major duties as Ed was relocated for his job. After two successful seasons, Ed resumed the leadership role until the Grade IV and Grade III bands merged in 1994. Scott McLeod then became Pipe Major and led the band successfully from Grade IV back to Grade III. Gordon Warburton became Pipe Major in 1996 and currently holds the position. The band's Drum Sergeants have included David Wonsey (1974-1982), Cecilia Zappa (1983-1992), David Fish (1992-2000), and Carl Baggett (2001-2004). Other drummers that have played a vital role with Grandfather include David Johnston, Raymond Swinton, Jeff Chester (Gael Warning), Tim Kelly, Charlie Ferrell, Brain Murray, Brian Meador, Eddie Asten, and Joe Ritch. Sally Warburton is the only founding member currently performing with the band since its' inception. Tom Kee is the current drum sergeant beginning his tenure in October, 2004. Tom Kee ran three successful drum corps in the 1970’s; the Charlotte Scottish, Ogilvy Highlanders, and Denny and Dunnipace. Under Tom’s leadership, the Ogilvy Highlanders were awarded best drum corps in Grade III at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland in 1974. Players in the band still display the dedication seen in the early years. Despite being spread out geographically, the band members still manage to practice weekly, some traveling great distances. Although the band is quite serious about being a competition band, it has always been a family of sorts also. It is this through this camaraderie and fellowship that the band overcomes the many challenges a pipe band faces and which is exemplified in their music. The band has produced two recordings available on cassette tape or CD, which are available at local Scottish shops and from members of the band. You may call Everything Scottish at (888) 606-KILT for your copy.