The Bodmin Celtic Pipe Band (1974 – 1988)
The Bodmin Celtic Pipe Band formed in 1974 by Pipe Major Bill McColl with Eric Watts on bass drum leading the drum core. Their repertoire mixed popular Scottish pipe band marches, strathspeys reels and jigs with traditional Cornish tunes arranged for the bagpipes by Bill McColl. The band was drawn from families in the Bodmin area and provided youngsters with an opportunity to try their hand as pipers, drummers, and highland dancers.
The Celtic Pipe Band were the first pipe band in Cornwall and maintained a busy season of bookings at festivals and carnivals across Cornwall. They were regular performers at Lowender Peran and represented Cornwall in Brittany at the Festival Interceltique in Lorient and the Guingamp Folk Dance Festival. In their hometown of Bodmin they lead the annual procession commemorating the Cornish martyr Thomas Flamank. In 1985 they found themselves invited by Lord St Leven to play on the battlements of St Michaels and on 5th March, 1986 the Celtic Pipe Band led the very first St Piran’s day parade in Truro.
The Celtic Pipe Band performed at Lowender Peran for the last time in 1987 and drew to a close in 1988 when several members moved away from Cornwall for university and employment. They nevertheless left a legacy of piping in Cornwall not seen since the 17th century.
Bill McColl arranged traditional Cornish tunes for use by the Celtic Pipe Band here are two examples, Estren / Stranger and The Streams of Lovely Nancy: