February 23, 2019    
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  History of KHPB

The Early Days | Building a Great Program | KHPB Today

Since 2000, the band membership has grown and changed substantially. Working with a professional piper and drummer on a regular basis to aid the band in improvement goals has been instrumental in the band’s increasing success. With an increase in participation in competitions, the band formally adopted a third uniform alternative. This uniform includes a white aviator short sleeve shirt, navy blue tie, black jacket, rabbit-fur sporran, ecru hose, and ghillie brogues. The band’s formal uniform continues to be worn in select performances.

Co-incident with this emphasis in competing, Drum Sergeant Justin Williams created a new design for the drums that incorporated the band’s designation as the pipe band for the Clan Keith. The design includes the Keith motto “Veritas Vincit” (Truth Conquers), identifies the 12th Earl of Kintore who awarded this special designation for the band, and the year the band was established. The 13th Earl of Kintore, Sir Michael Keith, approved this design in 2000.

Trips to Glasgow (Kentucky) in 2000 and to Scotland in both 2002 (detail) and 2004 (detail) have been recent highlights for the band. KHPB was the guest band at the Kentucky Highland Games in 2000 and spent several days meeting with Lord and Lady Kintore, as well as with the dozens of Clan Keith members in attendance.  In 2002, the band trip to Scotland included one week of historic events celebrating the 1000th Anniversary of the Clan Keith and International Clan Gathering, plus the band’s first attempt at competing in the World Championships. At the Worlds, the band qualified for the finals and placed 11th of 44 bands in Grade 4B.  In 2004, the band trip focused on competing at both the Bridge of Allan Highland Games and World Championships, with visits with the Lord and Lady Kintore and their family as time permitted.  At the Bridge of Allen, the band won the trophy for Marching and Deportment and placed 6th of 28 bands in Grade 4.  At the World Championships in 2004, the band again qualified for the finals and placed 6th of 42 bands (receiving 1st place from both piping judges in the finals).  

 Some notable performances during the 2000-2005 timeframe include performing in historic ceremonies celebrating the Clan Keith’s 1000th Anniversary in Scotland in 2002, performing with the Seattle Symphony (2002), Kirkin of the Tartan and Celtic Festival at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Seattle ( an annual event since 1990), landing ceremony of the Concorde’s last flight to Boeing Field (2003), annual KHPB-produced concerts at the Kirkland Performance Center since 1998, competitions and performances in Las Vegas (2005), and International Children’s Festival at McCaw Hall in Seattle (2005).

The band has competed regularly since 2000 in Grade 4 in the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada, Aboyne Highland Games (Scotland), Bridge of Allan Highland Games (Scotland), Glasgow Highland Games (Kentucky), and Las Vegas Highland Games (Nevada).  The band has won the Washington State Grade 4 Championship at the Skagit Valley Highland Games since 2001.  Capping off the 2004 regional Highland Games competitions, the band took 1st place in Grade 4 on both days of the Pacific Northwest Highland Games and this resulted in winning the band’s first Grade 4 Band Aggregate Award at this event.  In April 2005, the band traveled to the Las Vegas (Nevada) Highland Games and took 1st place in Grade 4 on both days resulting in receiving the Grade 4 Band Aggregate Award.  

In August 2002 during the Scotland trip, Lord Kintore created "The Chief’s Award” to celebrate the Band’s Fiftieth Birthday. The award honors outstanding contribution or achievement by a member of the Keith Highlanders Pipe Band.  The Chief presented the first award to piper Darlene Lewis-Chinn at the Clan Keith Annual General Meeting in Inverurie, Scotland, in recognition of her contributions to the band resulting in the publication of a book documenting the first fifty years of the KHPB.  The Chief’s Award is presented to a band member at the band’s annual meeting.

Looking ahead…

The huge growth of the band in the last year presents the band with new challenges and goals.  Prospects for the future include fielding two competition bands at regional Highland Games, and performances outside the Pacific Northwest and overseas are planned. The annual KHPB concerts at the Kirkland Performance Center, a sellout every year since 2003, will continue, as well as the many other shows the band does for private and public events.

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