The Anah Highlanders, a Bangor-based pipe and drum marching band, make their return to the Bangor Waterfront after eight years.
The Highlanders appeared at the 66th National Folk Festival, during the third and final year of the NFF on the Bangor Waterfront. On opening night, the Highlanders marched, in rows of three and in perfect time, wearing MacIntosh Tartan kilts and feathered caps. As they approached the Railroad Stage, the wail of bagpipes grew louder and the mob behind them swelled. It wasn’t exactly “Braveheart,” wrote BDN staffer Kristen Andresen at the time, but it looked as though they were leading troops into battle.
“This is unbelievable,” said John Rohman, the festival’s chairman at the time, over the strains of “God Bless America” from the Highlanders. “There are times when I look out over this crowd and literally the hairs on the back of my head stand up.”
Formed in 1976, the Highlanders are Anah Shrine’s premier unit. The Highlanders placed seventh among the Shrine Pipe and Drum bands at the Imperial session in Toronto and are five time Northeast Shrine Pipe and Drum Champions. The Highlanders have played for President George H.W. Bush, and escorted governors and other dignitaries. They have played the changing of the guards at the Citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the opening Parade Of The Clans at the North American Pipe Band Championships at the Glengarry Highland Games in Maxville, Ontario, Canada.
Two band members — one current, one emeritus — have composed tunes the band currently performs: two 6/8 marches, and a lament for the band’s founder. Herschel MacIntosh founded the group 36 years ago, and it’s for him that the band’s tartan pattern is named for: the MacIntosh Tartan.
The Highlanders have played in parades, concerts, and college graduation and dedication ceremonies throughout Maine, New England and Canada.
The Highlanders will teach those who want to learn to play pipes or drums and recommend that beginners be diligent and not get discouraged. With hard work and dedication they will succeed.
The group raises money for Shrine Charities, which the Highlanders describe as “a wonderful undertaking… but to do it in authentic Highland regalia, while marching to the skirl of the mighty Scottish Bagpipes and Highland drums, is a most noble and rewarding experience.”
The Highlanders’ motto is “We Parade So Others May Walk.”