South Alberta Pipes and Drums
Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada



Our Society: incorporation number
Email address
Mailing address
About our band
Band School
Hire the Band or Individual Musicians
Planning an event with pipes and drums
Our members

Our Society

The South Alberta Pipes and Drums is a non-profit society registered in Alberta (Corporate Access #5011267571).

Band Email Address:

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Mailing Address

South Alberta Pipes and Drums
c/o 17 Noble Court SW
Medicine Hat, AB
T1A 4A2

About our band

A brief intro to our band, click here.

We carry on a long tradition of piping and drumming in Medicine Hat and south-eastern Alberta and you can learn more about this history elsewhere on this site. We operate under the musical direction and overall management of Pipe Major Eric Kean. The band consists of a pipes section and a drums section. During the school year, from late September till early June, we meet Monday and Thursday evenings at 6:30PM at the Shrine Hall on Bannon Avenue SW. You'll hear us! In the warm weather, we practise outside at various locations on Mondays and Thursdays.

Band School

Our society operates a pipe band school on Monday evenings at the Shrine Hall from late September until late May. We charge an annual registration fee (currently $50, non-refundable, for year's tuition September-May). Students are not voting members of the society. Piping students are expected to purchase their own practice chanters (prices range from $50 to $100) and drumming students their own sticks and practice pads (wide range of prices). More advanced students will remain and practise with the band until 9PM. The expectation is that a student attend regularly and practise during the week.

It will usually take a couple of years before a student will progress to playing on drums or pipes. The band has some sets of pipes and some drums for loan to students. As a student progresses to this level, he will be expected to attend Thursday evening band practice. During the June to September period, the band practises outside. Progress on pipes depends on practice, wind, etc. but may take a couple of more years to be playing easily. When the PM determines he/she is ready, a student may be invited to join band. Our curriculum can be downloaded here.

Hire the Band or Individual Musicians

Subject to availability, the band or individual musicians can be hired for weddings, funerals, head table entrances, performances or just about any event where the impact of the pipes and drums will enhance the experience. Please contact us by email (see above) to enquire about availability and performance fees and expenses. In certain cases, for non-profit societies, the band will waive its fee. Pipers for funerals are generally arranged by the funeral home.

Planning an event with pipes and drums


Parades are generally held as part of a community celebration and usually in spring, summer, early fall. Temperature does affect the instruments we play, both pipes and drums, and extremes are very hard on them. Many communities have events on key weekends during June and July and the band does its best to accommodate requests, considering that some events overlap and that our members often have other commitments during this time.

Once our band has committed to march in a parade, we ask that the parade marshal consider carefully the positioning of the band. Generally, it is best to put the pipe band at or very near the front of the parade. Why? Impact for a start. A pipe band announces that "here comes the parade". A pipe band sets a very steady pace of about 3km/hr. We can't generally go much faster or slower because our marching coincides with the music we play. If the lead units of a parade take off faster than the band, a gap will open up. If the band is placed further back, there is a much greater likelihood of the parade starting and stopping frequently, which interrupts our marching rhythm. Most western parades include horses, who leave deposits on the road. The further back in the parade, the more droppings on the road. In addition, a pipe band should not be placed immediately in front of or behind horses as we can startle them when we start up. Also, it is best to space out bands and floats with loud music.


The band has a number of musical sets other than marching sets. We can put together a program of different types of pipe music for those interested.

Head Tables

There is nothing like a piper to march in a head table. Options to consider: will the piper play himself out once everybody is in position or will he stop and walk out. In some situations, a nice touch is to have the MC toast the piper and have the piper respond to the toast, often in Gaelic. It is an appropriate idea to have a couple of drams handy for this situation.


There are a huge variety of options to include pipe music into a wedding event:
-piper alone or piper and drummer
-outside venue as guests arrive for ceremony
-for entrance of groom's party, bridesmaids, bride
-during signing of register
-for recession of newlyweds
-prior to reception
-bring newlyweds into reception

In all cases, musical selection must be discussed with piper. It is probably not advisable to use pipes/drums in all the above aspects of the event but instead to pick and chose for the desired effect. Discuss whether the piper can attend the rehearsal or whether it can be sorted out in advance.


Pipe music is often incorporated into funerals and most funeral homes are familiar with the procedure. It is advisable to work through the funeral home to request pipe music.

Pipe music can be incorporated into funerals in the following ways:

-as mourners arrive at the church
-as a musical selection during the service
-as mourners are leaving the church

Popular choices for music at funerals include the very traditional lament "Flowers of the Forest", "Amazing Grace", and other slow airs. The funeral home can confirm whether a musical selection is feasible for the piper.


Birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations of any kind can be enhanced with the presence of a piper/drummer. The actual service to be provided should be negotiated.

Our Members, Pìobairean agus Drumairean

These are the currently active members in our band:


Eric, Pipe Major

John, Pipe Sergeant

Piper Dodie


Piper Scott


Piper Cam

Piper Rob


Piper Jay


Piper Tarra


Piper Malcolm

Drum Sgt. Mike


Bob on Tenor

Ruby on Snare

Lea on Snare

Wendy on Tenor

Tami on Bass

Quartermaster Don

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