The Space Coast Highlanders was formerly known as the City of Melbourne Pipes and Drums. In 2016, we changed our name to better reflect who we are and where we are from. We are located in Brevard County, Florida along the Space Coast – the region in the United States around the NASA Kennedy Space Center.
English efforts to control Scottish revolutionaries during the eighteenth century led to Court edicts that declared the bagpipes an instrument of war. Thus, bagpipe playing in Scotland was treated as a treasonable offense due to the volatile emotions the music often inspired in warlike clans. Even so, many renegade Scots in the Highlands kept the music and piping very much ‘alive.’ Eventually the fervor for piping found its way to America through the emigration of more peaceful Scots. The diverse and persuasive music of the pipes, and the drums, span many continents and grace countless ceremonies, celebrations and other occasions.
The Space Coast Highlanders had its roots in 1992. The band was originally called The Oceanside Pipes and Drums under the direction of Pipe Major Jim Nisbet. The band saw itself as a community-based organization with competition aspirations. The band’s mission was also to further the great traditions of Scottish music in a culturally stimulating and entertaining manner.
In 1997, David Spurlock took over the helm as Pipe Major, and changed the band name to the City of Melbourne Pipes and Drums. During this period, the band participated in several band competitions and in 2004, we earned several first place awards making us the Southern United States Pipe Band Association (SUSPBA) Grand Champion band for the year.
The dramatic upsurge in the popularity of Scottish heritage functions and pipe band music throughout North America has helped create a special niche in the Brevard County area for the band. The rhythmic ensemble of pipes and drums produces an expressive clarity and boldness of sound that conveys the emotion of the music and touches the human spirit. The ‘big’ sound of the Great Highland Bagpipes, emblazoned by a flamboyant drum corps, stops you short… arresting your attention.
In 2016, to better reflect who we are and where we are from we once again changed our name to the Space Coast Highlanders.1)Today’s Space Coast Highlanders should not be confused with the 1980-90’s band of the same name, which was under the direction of Pipe Major Sam Ferguson. The Space Coast Highlanders is a proud and active Space Coast performing arts organization, and has received wide acclaim as a dynamic ‘instrument’ of music in the Scottish tradition.
Performances are professionally presented in full kilt regalia featuring the Flower of Scotland Tartan. Occasions such as weddings, funerals, banquets, conventions, festivals, parades, fairs, and seasonal celebrations are just some of the performance specialties. Although the Band receives performance fees to help defray maintenance expenses, a certain amount of complimentary time is dedicated to community service and cultural heritage performances. This has helped spread the word about the Space Coast Highlanders, and the reaction has been fantastic.
Membership is open to the public without regard to age, sex, race or national origin. A diverse range of ages and musical skills are represented among the members. The Band fosters a spirit of teamwork and fun among members, and facilitates the progress of each beginning, intermediate and advanced musician in piping and/or drumming. The kinds of instruments played include the Great Highland Bagpipe, snare drum (side drum), tenor drum, and bass drum. The Band’s depth and variety of repertoire includes popular jigs, marches, airs, reels and strathspeys.
The band encourages and welcomes membership, donor and performance inquires. Financial contributions are especially appreciated as well as donations of instruments, accessories, music literature and clothing. Contributors are appropriately acknowledged and their support is responsibly utilized to excellent advantage in behalf of the Band.
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|1.||↑||Today’s Space Coast Highlanders should not be confused with the 1980-90’s band of the same name, which was under the direction of Pipe Major Sam Ferguson.|