macmillan pipe band
For forty years, students who learned to play the bagpipes and drums at two Montgomery County, Maryland high schools had the opportunity to play with pipe bands all over the country after graduation. While many had regrettably chosen not to continue developing their unique talents, a significant number went on to successful solo and band careers.
Some became teachers and adjudicators, and others volunteered their expertise to piping associations and Scottish games contest committees. It is undeniable that few high school programs in the United States have had the kind of impact on the world of piping and drumming as did The Pipe Band at Robert E. Peary and Rockville High Schools. Now, after forty-plus years, a band has been formed to celebrate the tradition of piping that started in 1961 at Peary High School and continued at Rockville High School after Peary"s doors were closed in 1984.
The MacMillan Pipe Band was organized as the “Alumni Pipe Band” to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Rockville High School Pipe Band during the 33rd Annual National Capital Area Scottish Festival in May of 2001. Anyone who had performed with or helped teach the band at either Peary or Rockville was invited to perform. Distance, uncertain contact numbers, schedule conflicts, and some communications breakdowns all presented obstacles to be overcome. With only a few serious rehearsals, the Alumni Pipe Band made its first public appearance at the Festival, marched into the gymnasium of the old Peary High School, now the Berman Hebrew Academy, and helped fill the old school with the first sounds of pipes and drums in seventeen years. Following the show, members of the Alumni Pipe Band agreed not to let this opportunity fade away and they believed that there was now a foundation for a new band in the area. The band is a “home” for the alumni of the two schools and an organization for recent pipe band graduates to join. It is also another option for other area pipers and drummers who may wish to join. In keeping with the spirit of its founding, the band is known as the MacMillan Pipe Band, honoring the naval officer who was second-in-command during Robert Peary"s arctic explorations, Donald Baxter MacMillan.
In 1961, the chieftain of Clan MacMillan granted his official approval for the school band to wear the MacMillan tartan, and the MacMillan Pipe Band will continue to honor the memory of D.B. MacMillan while celebrating “Two Schools, One Tradition.” – David Ricklis, D/M (PHS ‘67)