From its beginnings nearly four decades ago and as a 12-strong band practicing in the Fintry Community Centre
in Dundee, the Fintry Pipe Band has always been known to stand out from the crowd. Founded by local Pipe
Major William Smith in 1972, the original dozen members, drawn from Artillery and Black Watch Territorial Army
Bands, stepped out resplendent in Macbeth tartan kilts, favouring military pleat over the more common dress
pleat. Glengarry's sporting black cock feathers and archer green doublets, bought second hand from Bullionfield
Pipe Band, along with fine horse hair sporrans, completed the band livery.
When the older members left, the band went into decline. Another friend and Pipe Major, Harry Ellis had been
given tuition to anyone who showed an interest in piping within the band, this included the Pipe Major's eldest
son, Richard. The band struggled on for a few years only having 5 pipers. Stan Frew was the lead drummer and
had the task of trying to encourage drummers to the band. One of the young drummers was Richard Stewart who
was the leading drummer until 2011. Many of the original members were residents of the Fintry housing estate.
The band has always taken pride in family involvement. Along with Pipe Major William Smith and his son
Richard, pipers Tony Heron and his son Russell, who joined in 1976, the family bond remains strong. In the band
we have had Grandfathers' and Grandsons', Husbands' and Wives', Sons' and Daughters', Boyfriends' and
Girlfriends' all continuing this tradition.
After the retirement of William Smith as Pipe Major in 1987, his son Richard took over and the band has remained
under his leadership to this day.
Now in its 41st year, the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band have become part of the fabric of the piping community. Since
its very first performance playing with the massed bands in Dundee City Centre in 1972, and its first competition
at Dundee Highland Games in the Caird Park, the band has grown in numbers and stature. Other notable
performances include appearances before Her Majesty the Queen on a Royal Visit to Dundee in 2002 and at the
Royal Braemar Gathering in 2005.
The band has also attended the European Folklore Festival in Bitburg, Germany in 2002 and 2003. Over the past
few years the band has taken part in many other events, in 2007 they were invited to perform at the Festival de
Confolens in France for the 50th Anniversary Festival. This festival plays host annually to traditional groups from
all over the world and is a member festival of the CIOFF, the international committee responsible for folk festivals
throughout the world.
Having played since the early 80's, each year, in the City of Dundee Massed Pipes and Drums, for many an event
including, Spring Fairs, Armistice Parades, Youth Parades and latterly Veterans Day Parades, most recently
known as Armed Forces Day Parades, the band has gained a wealth of experience playing along with other local
Grade One and Two Pipe Bands, such as Tayside Police and MacKenzie Caledonia.
In 2008 the band secured the chance to put on a performance of a lifetime. After many months of negotiations they
were selected to represent Europe to perform at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This
was the biggest performance that the band, or any other Pipe Band for that matter, had performed at, with a
global live audience estimated at 4 Billion people!... There were 80 World Leaders there to perform in front of, as
well as over 90,000 spectators in the stadium. The band arrived in Beijing 2 weeks before the opening ceremony
and had to take part in many rehearsals in incredible heat to ensure a perfect performance.
Since returning from Beijing and on the back of this great success, the band has become very popular and takes
part in many events. Corporate clients hire the band at venues such as Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and
Glamis Castle, they perform in top hotels and even played at exclusive weddings including a top star's wedding
from the Beijing Olympic Games. Despite all of this, the band still has its feet firmly on the ground and continues
to play at local events, charity Gala Days and small private performances.
A month on from the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, the band were invited to and played at the Pipefest in Japan.
In November, 2009, the band played in the Caird Hall, Dundee for the Festival of Remembrance alongside The
Band of HM Royal Marines.
In April, 2010, the band was invited to play at Dreghorn Barracks, Edinburgh, the home of 1st Battalion, The Royal
Regiment of Scotland, on their return from their tour of duty in Afghanistan, where they very sadly lost several
members of their Regiment.
In July, 2010, 2011 & 2012 the band played in the Help for Heroes Concert in the Caird Hall, Dundee alongside the
Pipes and Drums of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland (3 SCOTS).
In September, 2010, the band was given the privilege to play in Princes Street, Edinburgh for Pope Benedict XVI.
Having left Dundee at 5am and travelled to Edinburgh where breakfast was supplied in the Balmoral Hotel,
Princes Street, the band then played live on the BBC Breakfast Programme. Soon after, the band played along
with another pipe band for the First Minister at a Ceremony to welcome the top Guests for the event at St
Andrews House. Prior to Pope Benedict XVI travelling along Princes Street, the band took part in the St Ninian's
Day Parade along Princes Street, where all the participants and bands lined the street for the Pope's cavalcade
passing to the sounds of 'Highland Cathedral'.
The ethos set out in the band's foundations of 'everyone is welcome', will always remain and the aim of 'family and
friends first', is still the reason why the band is so popular.
Mains of Fintry Pipe Band
Fintry Community Centre
Circa : 1980
Black Watch Club, Dundee
Caird Hall, Dundee
Circa : 2002
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