Band History

The band in 2005

History of Piping in Hawai`i and the Emergence of the Isle of Maui Pipe Band

With all the Scottish immigrants to the Hawaiian Islands, it is no surprise that the famous Highland Bagpipes followed. Pipers are known to have played in the Hawaiian Royal Palace, as well as other places in Hawai’i in the 19th century, but the first band was not formed until the famous Agnes Wallace began teaching in the late 1960s. Among her students were A.J. Frappia and David Furomoto who became skilled enough to win a first place piping medal at a major piping competition on the continental U.S.. Wallace and Frappia formed a small band, the Royal Scots Band. It was followed by the Honolulu Pipes and Drums which flourished only to become inactive in later years.

In 1985 the Celtic Pipes and Drums of Hawaii was formed by Larry Coleman, a piper of Scot-Irish descent. They continue to thrive on O`ahu and can be seen at many police and firefighter functions.

Maui’s own pipe band, Maui Celtic Pipes & Drums, recently changed its name to Isle of Maui Pipe Band. Our beginnings were due to a series of extremely fortunate events.

For several years the duo of Michael Riedel and Hamish (Jim) Burgess had been practicing on the beaches of West Maui. In the late 90s John Grant, an Irish-Scot piper who began playing the pipes in 1959, was coaxed out of piping retirement and back to teaching by New Zealander John Impey. Grant began tutoring Impey and another would-be piper named Will McBarnett. Burgess and Reidell joined the three and the group began to practice in Kula, Maui in 1999. Meanwhile two Maui firefighters, James Brent and Mike MacDougall, were being independently tutored by Larry Coleman from Oahu. They both later joined the group. These pipers formed “The Maui Celtic Pipes and Drums” and met weekly to practice.

The group became a “real” pipe band in 2002 when the current Drum Sergeant, Peter Della Croce II (formerly of “The St.Brendan the Navigator Pipes and Drums” of New Jersey ) joined the group. The year 2003 saw the arrival of piper Roger Pleasanton (formerly of the “St.Louis Invera’an Pipes and Drums” and the “San Diego Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band”) and the addition of Troy Anderson, Trinette U’ilani Furtado, Jason Addison and Alan Davidson increasing the amount of pipers exponentially. Meanwhile the drum section began to grow as well with the additions of Matt Gilman, Colin Hanlon and his sister Jen.

In 2006 the band had another growth spurt in the form of pipers David Asher, Louis Bartlett and Heather Bejenaru, as well as drummers Kris Elledge-Adolf, Marie Campbell, and Alice Riddle. In 2007 the group expanded again to include Logan Farrell, and the brothers Josiah, Aaron, and Zack Burke. The drum section also saw another surge with snares Cary Ritt and Blake Rizzo. Another addition was C.T. Buckley, the band’s first drum major. The next year saw the addition of Jesse Daniels who replaced Colin as bass drummer. Later in 2008 Emma Burke and Sarah Webb joined the band as tenor drummers to fill the void left by Kris and Marie’s respective departures. Later that same year Daniels left the island, and Sarah’s brother Stephen took over as the bass drummer. Our band currently marches at a full strength of 14 pipers and 7 drummers.

We volunteer to play at variety of non-profit events for the County of Maui, including the Maui fire and police departments, as well as veterans associations. Our first function was for the September 11th Memorial in 2002, and the second was leading the Parade opening the Maui County Fair on October 3rd, 2002. Since then, we have played at the yearly Robert Burns Night in Kihei (25th January), the St. Patrick’s Day Party at Mulligan’s Irish Pub (Wailea) and twice opened The Upcountry Fair.

We played in the 2003 4th of July Makawao Parade for the first time, and probably thanks to wild applause from the crowd, won the ‘Lt. Governor’s Trophy’ (2nd overall entry)! We have played every year since then, and received awards each time! We have also been invited to lead the Maui Fire Department in the Maui County Fair Parade and have been proud to do so for the past several years. Other functions include cancer charity events, Memorial Day Services, and the Parade for Returning Troops in May 2005.We also were fortunate enough to travel to ‘The Hawai’ian Scottish Festival’ (held yearly on Oahu) for the first time, in 2007, and performed in the opening ceremonies and onstage both days of the Highland Games.

 In April 2007, we officially changed our name to the ‘Isle of Maui Pipe Band’, to avoid confusion with band member Hamish Burgess’ local business: Maui Celtic.

 We are available for major community events and can be hired for corporate and private functions. All donations and contributions aid in outfitting the band with instruments and uniforms We are currently looking for sponsors and are always interested in training new members.

The band on July 5, 2008