Antigonish Highland Games, 2017

Antigonish Highland Games, 2017

History of the band

In the 1930s, the Halifax Police Department sponsored a Fife and Drum Band which took part in local festivals and parades. That band was dissolved after the Second World War started, with some of its previous members taking a teaching role with the Queen Elizabeth High School Army Cadet Corps Pipe Band which was prominent in Halifax in the late 1950s and early 1960s. When the school disbanded the Cadet Corps in the mid 1960s, the members of the pipe band went out on their own forming a civilian pipe band under the direction of Pipe Major Doug Dewis called the Lovett Scots. This band lasted two seasons and gradually morphed into the Wylde Thyme Pipe Band. This band lasted as a parade band from 1968 until 1983, when it had finally run its course.

In 1983 the band aligned itself with the Halifax Police Department, accepting sponsorship from the Halifax Police Association (HPA). The Police Chief at the time was labouring under an uncertain climate due to a recent police strike. He was anxious to have an organization aligned with the department which all members of the department could look at with a degree of pride. Under the direction of Pipe Major Wayne Moug, it started competing at the Grade 3 level and has been perennial Champion Supreme in Atlantic Canada from the Grade 3 through Grade 1 level ever since.

During the years the band steadily improved under Pipe Majors Doug Boyd, John Walsh, Jack Maclean and Roderick MacLean to the point where in 1991 they were promoted to Grade 1. They stayed as the Police Pipe Band until 2001 when the Police Department, which had assumed their sponsorship from the HPA in the mid 1990s released them due to budgetary constraints.

One week later in June 2001 the band rebadged as the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipes and Drums, continuing to climb in the international rankings, and maintaining a grade 1 standard of play. P-M Roderick MacLean led the band for a number of years, which included qualifying for the final of the World Pipe Band Championships, and also winning both the Canadian and North American Pipe Band Championships.

Alex Gandy became Pipe Major in 2012, and has since led the band to the North American Pipe Band Championships (2014) and to the final at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2015. The band continues to thrive and develop, attracting players from across North America, while at the same time developing a rich vein of local players.