Updated for 2022!
Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band
The Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band marked its sixth decade last year and are a featured attraction of the Northern Nevada Celtic Celebration.
Over the years, the band has played at various venues, marched in numerous parades and performed at the annual dinners of the Nevada Society of Scottish Clans and Sons & Daughters of Erin. They celebrated their 50th in 2011 anniversary by playing at the World Pipe Band Competition in Glasgow, Scotland, the first pipe band from Nevada to do so, competing against pipe bands from all over the world.
The Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band has its roots as the “Reno Police Department Pipe Band” in 1961 under the leadership of Scottish immigrant John “Scotty” Sneddon, who had served with the Gordon Highlanders during World War I (the youngest Pipe Major in the British Army at that time).
Only two police officers, Richard James and Calvin Lovegrove answered Scotty’s call. So, he decided to open the band to civilians. James’ wife, Wilma, suggested “Sierra Highlanders” as a name for the new band and in 1961 the band officially formed and became incorporated.
The founding members included future Pipe Major, teacher, and most enduring piper, Dr. James F. Flanagan, who expanded their membership and performances throughout the Reno area, and diverse venues such as San Francisco’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and even became a fixture of Carson City’s Nevada Day Parade each year, which the band remains to this date.
The band wears the green and blue Mackay (pronounced in Gaelic as “Mack-eye”) tartan as a tribute to the Irish immigrant and Comstock Silver Baron John Mackay and in 2021 chose Virginia City for its 60th Anniversary Concert because the first recorded Robert Burns Dinner (honoring Scotland’s poet laureate) was held on the Comstock in 1865.
For more information on the Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band , please visit https://www.sierrahighlanderspipeband.com/.