Neighborhood NewsBillings - Yellowstone County


Billings Caledonian Pipes and Drums band wows spectators all over Magic City

Posted at 6:21 PM, Mar 17, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-17 20:21:16-04

BILLINGS — The St. Patrick's Day holiday meant a busy weekend for the Caledonian Pipes and Drums band of Billings.

“Seventeen different events this year, we also played at a nursing home which makes it 18 events. We did the parade last week, we were in Cody” said drummer and band's manager, Allan Anderson at Just 1 More Bar and Casino Saturday.

Conceived in the 1940s, the band usually consists of around 25 to 30 members. They spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday visiting bars, pubs, and breweries all over the Magic City, including Just 1 More Bar and Casino and Levity Bar and Bistro.

“Well, we’re starting to get pretty popular,” said bagpiper, Oscar Thompson.

Thompson's seen all the changes the band has gone through over the years. Not only has he got pipes, but he's has experience as well.

Oscar Thompson

“I started back in junior high school in about '63," Thompson added.

It's a similar story for Anderson, who's been with the band for nearly 18 years.

“Ever since I was a little kid, you go to the parades and I was always that one standing on the side there, looking for the marching bands. That was the best part," said Anderson.

These musicians volunteer their own time and money to play music, whether it's paying for their instruments or their McKinsey Clan kilts. To them, however, it's worth it.

“You see the crowds come out, you see the people come out. We love to see them, they love to us, and you just see the atmosphere and the happiness with everybody,” Anderson said.

Allan Anderson, band manager

They've been shooting for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

"We've also recently competed at the Phoenix Highland Games, the last two years at Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Highland Games," added Anderson.

That's not all, however. They're setting their sights on Scotland next year.

“A little old bagpipe band from Billings, Montana and you look at what we’re doing now, what we’re accomplishing. We’re going to represent Montana next year in Scotland,” Anderson said.

They might even have a space for you.


"We have lessons. We have free lessons on Wednesday nights. West High music room, starts at 6:30 p.m. Come over, it's free," said Anderson.

“Love to see more young people. I’m kind of getting up there, getting long and tooth,” Thompson said.

If you'd like to donate to the band's travel or uniform expenses, or if you'd like more information, visit their Facebook or official website.