As a heavily defended colony of Britain, Scottish and Canadian highland regiments were posted to Bermuda as part of its garrison force. Of course, where the highlanders went, so did the bagpipes. Out of this influence, two local pipe bands emerged; in 1955, the Bermuda Cadets Pipe Band, an army cadet–based group, wearing the Gordon tartan; and in 1959, the Bermuda Pipe Band, a police and prison officer–based group, who wore the Prince Charles Edward Stuart (aka Bonnie Prince Charlie). In 1993, the two bands merged to form the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, choosing the Gordon tartan for its uniform. Today, the band includes about 15 pipers and drummers. The Dance Division has been around for almost as long as the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, and they perform the Highland dances, Scottish national dances, the Sailor’s Hornpipe and the Irish Jig. The band performs a heavy schedule of both public and private events, including the Beating the Retreat Ceremonies, Remembrance Day, police parades, and the Bermuda Tattoo. The band also travels overseas, often with the Band and Corps of Drums of the Bermuda Regiment. They have performed at such events as the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo, Musikschau der Nationen (Bremen, Germany), the Virginia International Tattoo, the 104th annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and most recently, Fortissimo, hosted by the Ceremonial Guard, Ottawa, Canada. The band is based at Saltus Grammar School and holds its practises there every Wednesday evening. Its most frequent performances are held every Monday at noon between November 1 and March 31 at Fort Hamilton in what is known as the “Skirling Ceremony.” Admission is free and is at the end of an organised walking tour run by the Department of Community & Cultural Affairs. Highland Dancing is amazing for anyone who loves to dance. The dancers follow a syllabus recommended by the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD), and teachers are certified through the Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA). Dancers are able to participate in annual practical and theory examinations. Dancers registered with the SOBHD are able to compete at the Bermuda Highland Games and other competitions around the world. The band is presently under the command of Pipe Major Aidan Stones. For information and news about the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, please visit bipb.bm.
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