Founded during the summer of 2001, the Colum Cille Pipes & Drums membership includes veteran musicians as well as beginners. From the band’s inception, its founders had certain goals in mind. First, members of the band did not want to be identified as only a Scottish or Irish pipe band. Instead, the band chose to be an organization that welcomed people of all backgrounds and performed music from a variety of genres, including Gaelic and American.
Additionally, Colum Cille Pipes & Drums wanted to form a band whose goal was to teach both adults and children to play the highland bagpipes and drums as well as improve musically by competing regularly throughout New England. In Colum Cille’s first-ever pipe band competition at the New Hampshire Highland Games, the band’s drum corps placed 2nd out of 15 bands. The band’s return to the N.H. Highland Games in September 2007 resulted in an over-all band finish of 6th place out of 15 Grade 5 bands. More recently, in 2008, Colum Cille placed 2nd at the N.H. Indoor Games, 1st at the R.I. Highland Scottish Festival, 1st at the Maine Highland Games, and 1st at the N.H. Highland Games. In 2009, the band was promoted to Grade 4 and completed two competitions, placing 1st at the R.I. Highland Scottish Festival and 5th out of 13 bands at the N.H. Highland Games. The band competed in the World Pipe Band Championship in Glasgow, Scotland in 2011 in grade 4, and is returning to Glasgow Green in 2017 to compete at the Worlds again. The band had its best season ever in Grade 4 in 2013, and we look forward to continuing success in the competition circle.
Band members wanted to embrace all that Colum Cille represented. Often referenced by his Latin name, Saint Columba, Colum Cille was an Irish prince and warrior who became a priest and scholar. An Irish saint who brought Christianity to Scotland during the 6th Century, Colum Cille spread faith, knowledge and culture throughout Europe from his monastery on the Isle of Iona. For that reason, Colum Cille is revered by Irish and Scottish, Protestant and Catholic and is a symbol of the unity of all people.
The band is presently being led by Pipe Major Jonah Burke. Jonah joined the band as a piping student, just starting out on the practice chanter, and has shown himself to be a talented piper and capable leader. Katie Zanello, who has been playing the drums for over 30 years, leads the drum corps. Katie has earned medals for solo competitions in the U.S. and Canada and has been a member of winning drum corps, competing in a range of Grade 5 to Grade 2.
Both novices and experienced pipers and drummers from Cape Cod and beyond are welcome to join the Colum Cille family. Since Cape Cod Bay mantles the area stretching from Boston to Provincetown, the band enjoys a vast region for recruitment. In addition, its central location in Sandwich gives it easy access to performances on both the Cape and mainland.
Colum Cille marches in scores of parades from New York City to Newport to Boston, and of course, Cape Cod. The band is available for parades, festivals, concerts and other performances throughout New England. Since its inception, the band has built a dynamic resume, which includes playing at the Annual Harpoon Brewery St. Patrick’s Day Festival, Newport’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Orleans and Hyannis 4th of July Parades, the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra-Mashpee Night at the Pops Concert, the Cape Cod Marathon, and a number of community service and charitable events.
About the Cunningham Tartan
Colum Cille Pipes and Drums is proud to wear the Cunningham Tartan in honor of one of the band’s major benefactors, Mr. Harold Cunningham.
In the year 1050, the Head of Chief of the Cunningham family of England traveled to Scotland where he aided the Scottish Prince Malcolm, Son of King Duncan of Scotland who was killed by MacBeth in 1040. MacBeth also pursued Prince Malcolm and as a result Malcolm was hidden by the Cunningham Chief in a barn under some hay to escape MacBeth. MacBeth was King until 1057, but was defeated by Prince Malcolm at the Battle of Dunismore near Perth. MacBeth was later killed at Lusmphaven.
When Malcom became King Malcolm III of Scotland, he rewarded the Cunningham’s with a significant armorial emblem consisting of a Black Hay Fork centered on a Silver Shield and bearing the motto “OVER FORK OVER”.
The family Cunningham take their name from the district of Cunningham in northern Ayrshire. The land of Kilmaurs of that area was granted in 1162 by Hugo de Moreville, Constable of Scotland to a Flemish (French) vassal named Warnebald and it is from his descendants that the Cunningham family originate.
When Haahon the IV, King of Norway, brought his fleet to the Scottish coast in 1263 to assert his sovereignty over the Western Isles, Harvey de Cunningham of Kilmaurs was among those who helped to repel Haahon at the Battle of Largs in 1263. As a result, Harvey de Cunningham was awarded the lands of Kilmaurs by confirmation from Alexander II.