We hear much about piping in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, these days: the Carnegie Mellon Pipe Band under the expert leadership of Professor of Piping Andrew Carlisle, and the piping degree course established at CM University by Jimmy McIntosh, a trailblazer for similar courses around the world.
But how many denizens of the steel town know of this band of yesteryear? They are the ‘Westinghouse Bagpipe Band’ from Wilkinsburg and the ‘Piping, Drumming and Highland Dancing Journal’ describes them thus: ‘Westinghouse Bagpipe Band’ from Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, USA; Tartan: MacGregor; Pipe Major: James Dryburgh. The Westinghouse Pipe Band was organised in 1916 by men employed in the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co., of East Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and is in direct descent from the Pittsburgh Bagpipe Band, organised in 1895, of which some of the organisers of the Westinghouse Band had been members.
‘The first Pipe Major was Mr George Seath, a fine piper and a foreman in the Westinghouse. The band, at present [1930s], averages about 12 pipers and drummers. There are also three young ladies in the band as Highland dancers. The band plays for parades and concerts and at various charitable affairs. During the late war the band played at many war-time activities and their services were in constant demand to help raise funds for British war relief.
‘The band meets for practice in the Westinghouse Educational Centre in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. The President is Mr James Harris, 1350 Penn Avenue, and the Secretary Mr Samuel Brown, 322 Albert Street, Turtle Creek.’
We presume the band is no more but the Westinghouse Educational Centre may still be there. Any information gratefully received.
Another excerpt in our ‘Archibald Campbell, Famous Pipers’ column is a must read for all ceol mor fans. We reproduce his obituary as it appeared in the Oban Times: superbly written and with pointed information on the ethos of the Piobaireachd Society collection (books 2 – 10 of which Kilberry edited) and his own Kilberry Book of Ceol Mor. There is also further correspondence with his friend and Skye-based piping enthusiast Horace Kemble.
Reminder: two excellent sets of pipes for sale in our Classified Ads pages.