A military-style bagpipe and drum band from Annville, Lebanon County, in south-central Pennsylvania
The information that follows is our own, and we do not allege to be the final word on these topics
See our schedule page.
We contact our clients and determine which are open to the public and note the schedule.
Plans have been made several times to produce a CD, but those plans are now deferred until after the current performance season.
Contact our band manager for dates available. At that time the details of the location, type of performance, and time and length of performance will be discussed. Only then is it possible to advise the fee. Confirmation of dates usually requires polling the membership to determine the size of band available.
In almost all cases the answer is "yes". There are two types of performances for which a fee is waived. The first is for certain charity efforts, in which our fee is considered our contribution. The other is where there is reason to believe that the event is of sufficiently high profile that our presence has marketing value for the band.
Our fee structure is based on a combination of the band size (full band vs. miniband), the program length and type and the distance the band must travel to the event. Depending on certain other factors, we are able to waive half of our normal fee for charity, educational and religious groups.
We typically play in the Central Pennsylvania region, but if our members' schedules permit, and the fee covers transportation costs, we are able to travel farther. We have traveled as far as New York City.
Our band has sponsored several group courses for 4 to 20 pipers at a time. Currently we have available several pipers who conduct individual or small group lessons. All of these courses and lessons involve a modest fee for the instructor's time.
Drum instruction has been limited to those who are not total beginners, and who are interested in making the transition from drumming of any other sort to the drumming involved in pipe bands. This instruction has focused on enabling the drummer to become a drummer with the band in the minimum amount of time.
To find out the status of our instructional programs see our "Learning" page and contact us.
Many musicians assume that their skills on other instruments are directly applicable to the bagpipes. That is only partly true. While the pipes are limited to just 9 notes, there are hundreds of embellishments consisting of a single grace note to five or more notes played before the main note. In addition, all bagpipe music is memorized and must be played in a musical and precise manner. Then too, after learning the fingerings and memorizing the music, pipers must learn to play, control and maintain what is a relatively-primitive hand-operated reed pipe organ that has changed little over the centuries.
As in any instrument, starting as young as possible is a benefit. While there is pipe music that is extremely challenging, most traditional pipe band music is within the ability of many who have the willingness to invest time and effort to learn the fundamentals and memorize the tunes and how they are played. Many students are able to begin playing in a band after 12 to 18 months of instruction. It has been said that many players require 5 years of effort to reach near their potential.
Beginning bagpipers spend many months using only a "practice chanter" of very reasonable cost. The practice chanter is the essential tool for practice during the entire lifetime of the bagpiper and remains a must for individual practice and band rehearsal.
Training under an experienced piper is essential to avoid the tragedy of having to unlearn all of the bad habits that self-instruction or limited-instruction may cause.
Only when a reasonable degree of ability has been reached and a number of tunes are memorized can the student consider a transition to the bagpipes. The universal recommendation of instructors to students is not to consider the purchase of a set of bagpipes until the student's ability has reached a level judged by the instructor to merit the purchase. As a set of bagpipes are a substantial long-term investment, purchase should only be undertaken with the advice of a skilled bagpiper.
Bagpipes are almost always furnished by the individual piper, based on what he or she can afford. The part of the bagpipe on which the individual notes are fingered (the pipe chanter) is often furnished by the band to improve unison pitch. The bag cover, the cords and the ribbons are often provided through the band to give a uniform appearance to the group.
Drums are almost universally furnished by the band as it is the only way to provide the uniform appearance and sound desired by most bands.
Inquire with your local band, but the Quittapahilla Highlanders currently rehearses every Tuesday night in Annville. Portions of the band, pipers or drummers, sometimes rehearse additional times during the week. Contact us for details.
Depending on the item, the cost of uniform items for our band varies from some being paid entirely by the band, to some that are split equally, to some that are paid entirely by the member. Overall, at present, the total cost of the uniform is about equally split between band and member. In the future the band may be able to increase the share borne by the band.
As student members perform with us with flags and banners in the "Braveheart" outfit, it is possible that while awaiting to obtain the kilt, etc., the member may continue to perform with pipes or drum in that same "Braveheart" outfit.
Almost all students benefit from being in the band environment as quickly as possible. In the case of our band, we have flags, banners, swords and shields. Students appear with the band in a "Great Wrap" (similar to the early kilt of the William Wallace "Braveheart" period) that is furnished by the band. This experience acquaints the student with hearing the music, the commands and the marching style of the band. In the case of our band, we would be glad to have individuals begin to appear with us as soon as they are able.
The Highland Regiments originally all wore some variant of the "Government" tartan, which was a precursor to a number of tartans, including the tartan today known as "Black Watch". In the career of the 42nd Highlanders they were honored by the Crown by adding to their name "The Royal Highland Regiment." At that time they were authorized to wear the "Royal Stewart" tartan, the tartan of the royal family. Today the bagpipers of the 42nd or "Forty Twa", as they have been known, wear the Royal Stewart tartan and the drummers wear the "Black Watch" tartan. This group is today known as "1st Battalion, The 42nd Highlanders, The Royal Highland Regiment, The Black Watch".
We ourselves feel honored to be outfitted in a uniform similar to that of the Black Watch.
Our music has been described as "traditional pipe band music". That means to us that we choose our music from the traditional pipe band tunes that have been heard most often over the years and is what most of our audiences expect to hear. Recently, with the many tunes to choose from, we have been selecting music from the programs of the Black Watch, both from their CD's and from their American Tour programs of past years. While the Black Watch is a professional band, a portion of their music is suitable for amateur bands like ours.
We have performed a "Warm Up" program prior to the appearance of the Black Watch during their American tours of 1998 and 2000 in the Hershey Arena, Hershey, Pennsylvania and for the Scots Highlanders during their 2003 tour, in the new Giant Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
Drum music today spans a wide variety of marching band, rock band, jazz band, drum and bugle corps, and other types. Pipe band drumming is playing in unison a large number of tunes that range from simple to very complex. The settings chosen by each band reflect the abilities of the drummers in that band. By constant effort, each drum line in each band is able to perform increasingly complex settings. The drum settings are written to accompany, support and embellish the pipe music without obscuring the pipe music.
The assistance of a professional mentor, as for example in our case, Andy White, percussion performer, percussion judge, and instructor, as a key element of improvement.
While a given pipe tune is played by the pipes almost identically band to band, each different band often plays quite different drum settings for the same tune. This lends interest to audiences and for the drummers.
In keeping with our efforts to emulate the Black Watch, many of our drum settings are similar to those played by the Black Watch.
For More Information
Mark R. Doll
Tel: (717) 926-1517 Email: email@example.com