History

The band first formed in 1981 as the James Reid Pipe Band.Atlanta bagpipers, circa 1981
In 1983, the chief of Clan Murray, George Iain Murray, 10th Duke of Atholl, granted the band permission to wear the Murray of Atholl tartan, to bear the name “Atholl Highlanders,” and to be his representative in North America. That honor continues today with the permission of His Grace Bruce Murray, 12th Duke of Atholl.

We are one of only two bands in the world bearing the name Atholl Highlanders. We proudly display the shield of the Murray coat of arms on our sleeves.

murray-tartan
Murray tartan and shield

Our mission is to bring the music, culture, and drama of the Highlands and Celtic lands to as many as possible.

We have more than 25 band members who play for highland games, festivals, parades, Burns Night celebrations, kirkin’ o’ the tartans, steeplechases, and much more. Our 2015 schedule boasts 15 full-band performances. We also dispatch ensemble groups for many other events as requested.

We perform without charge for a limited number of charity events each year. We are especially fond of piping for Relay for Life events to honor several of our members who are cancer survivors.

Piping home the Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade
Piping home the Georgia National Guard 48th Brigade

Throughout our history, we have played for departing and returning military units and for fallen soldiers. Senior Drum Major Don Bogue, Pipe Major Emeritus Evan Kohler-Camp, and long-time piper Wayne Coleman have all been awarded the Georgia Commendation Medal for the band’s support of the military.

We are host band for the annual Blairsville Highland Games, and hosted the 42nd Annual Stone Mountain Highland Games. We have also hosted the Culloden Highland Games, the Alabama Highland Games, and Loch Hartwell Highland Games.

savannah-win-2012
First place, Grade V, Savannah, Georgia 2012

In addition to performing, the band competes regionally at the Grade 5 level. We won first place at the Charleston Scottish Games in 2011, first place at the Savannah Scottish Games in 2012, and third place at the Greenville Scottish Games in 2011.

The band is under the musical direction of Pipe Major Lisa Wight and Drum Sergeant Denise Duncan, and marching direction of Senior Drum Major Don Bogue.

 Notable Appearances
1996We played for the Irish Olympic athletes in Decatur, Georgia during the Atlanta Centennial Olympic Games.
2000We were the first pipe band to appear at a Super Bowl game, performing the National Anthem with singer Faith Hill at Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta.
The band participated in the Millennium Piping Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, joining with over 8,500 pipers and drummers to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.
2002The band marched with 7,000 up the Avenue of the Americas in the Tunes of Glory parade in New York City.
The band also performed in the Atlanta Braves 9/11 remembrance ceremonies.
2005We returned to Edinburgh for Pipe Fest 2005, marching with more than 9,800 pipers and drummers from around the world and officially setting a world record.
2009The band appeared on stage with the Chieftains in 2009 in Atlanta.
2011We played for guests of the Atlanta Opera before all presentations of Lucia di Lammermoor.
2014We performed for opening ceremonies of the PGA Golf Tournament at East Lake Golf Club.
2015We played live throughout the St. Patrick’s Day show on WXIA TV’s Atlanta & Company,
Pipe MajorsDrum Majors
Lisa Wight, 2012-presentDon Bogue, 1996-present
Evan Kohler-Camp, 1999-2012Ben Linton, 2009-present
Berkeley Strobel, 1989-1999Ron Volz, 2006-2010
Chuck Calmbacher, 1983-1988Bob Harlan
Dave Browne, 1981-1983John Rodgers
Paul Braman, 1981-1984