The Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band was formed in 1975, and performs throughout the Oceanside communities of Vancouver Island.
Our band members are of all ages and backgrounds. What we share is a love of the pipes, and a commitment to bring traditional pipe music to our community. Our longest-standing member is Margo Walters who has been playing the pipes with the band since 1987.
Usually referred to as a “street band”, our focus is on performing in local parades, Remembrance Day and Canada Day celebrations, Burns Suppers as well as local community events. Our pipers and drummers strive for excellence in quality of playing, dress, discipline and drill.
Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band - 2020
A Sketch of History
The Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band was formed with a commitment to the preservation, promotion and education of Gaelic culture through musical performance. The band adopted its name in recognition of the special support provided by the Parksville Royal Canadian Legion, Mount Arrowsmith Branch 49. Mark Clark served as the band’s first Pipe Major.
For the next few years, the band continued to develop and perform at various local events under the direction of Pipe Major Bob Landon. From an enthusiastic beginning in 1975, interest in band participation unfortunately waned. The band became inactive from late 1977 until 1984, when the band was re-organized by Garth Pritchard and Tom MacPherson, again with the support of the Parksville Legion Branch 49.
In 1986, under the leadership of Pipe Major Donald Mathewson, the band began to grow and flourish and again became involved in a number of community events. From the early to mid-90s until 2001 the band had four different Pipe Majors: Bill Poppy, John Avery, Arliss MacNeil and Jim Rowley.
The Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band of today, with its strong components of piping and drumming, education and community involvement, is largely the result of the hard work and dedication of Mel Wilson. Mel became the Pipe Major in 2001, and provided the band with leadership, direction and stability until 2014.
Josh Dieleman assumed the role of Pipe Major in 2014, and continues to lead the band in performing in the community, and supporting new pipers and drummers.
Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band performing at the
2014 Canada Day Parade in Parksville, BC
Band in Remembrance Day March - 1975
Band members at the Coombs Fall Fair - 1977
Pipe Major Mel Wilson with Lt Governor and Aid
The Mount Arrowsmith Pipe Band wears the tartan of Cameron of Erracht.
The Scottish kilt has a unique design with a distinctive tartan pattern. The patterns are associated with individual clans and families that can be traced back over two hundred years.
Sporran is a Gaelic word meaning pouch or purse. The sporran is generally made from leather with fur or silver trim. The band wears a traditional “day” sporran of black leather.
The head gear used by the band is the glengarry. This is a wedge shaped cap with a trailing ribbon. The glengarry was named after Glengarry Valley in Scotland.
The Sgian Dubh
Weapons are a traditional component of Scottish military dress. The Sgian Dubh (Gaelic for “black dagger”) is a short knife worn inside the upper hose. Many of the band members wear the traditional Sgian Dubh.
Sponsorship / Donations
We gratefully acknowledge the support of our two major sponsors:
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 49 (Mt. Arrowsmith) has been sponsoring the band since the beginning – in fact, the band was named Mount Arrowsmith in honour of Branch 49.
The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 211 (Bowser) has also been a long-standing and valued sponsor of the band. Who cannot enjoy being part of an event like the Bowser Legion Lawnmower Races!!!
As a non-profit organization, we rely on and welcome financial support from the community. If you are interested in helping us out with a sponsorship or donation, fill out the form below and submit with a cheque, or contact us. Income tax receipts are issued for donations of $25 and over.