The Los Angeles Scottish Pipe Band was originally started in 1961 by founding members P/M Jimmy Thompson, P/S Ian MacDonald and D/S Charlie Capperauld. This group was very successful throughout the 1960s and the early 1970s. During the peak period when they reached Grade A Status (now referred to Grade 1) the band had some of the best talent in the area, including Jimmy McCall. Former Gold Medal Winner in Scotland. This group competed through 1974.
In the early 1990s, son’s of founding members revived the “LA Scots” name by combining players from two existing bands in the area – Beach Cities Pipe Band and Scottish Heritage PB under P/M Scott Ruscoe and D/S Tom Foley.
Scott MacDonald became Pipe Major in 1992. Scott is the son of former founding member P/M Ian MacDonald. Under Scott’s leadership, the band established itself as the premier pipe band in the United States. The LA Scots started off in Grade 2 and competed successfully in Canada and Scotland. The band’s crown prize was winning the 1997 World Championship in Grade 2 in Scotland – marking the first time an American band had won this honor. Later that summer the band was upgraded into Grade 1 by both the Western United States Pipe Band Association and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. This is the highest grade a band can reach and is an elite level of international accomplishment as evidenced by there being only 3 bands in Grade 1 in the United States.
In Grade 1, the Los Angeles Scots have placed as high as 11th in the World Championships on three occasions at the annual competition held in Glasgow, Scotland. Most recently the band placed 12th Overall in the 2011 event
The band is now under the leadership of P/M Colin Armstrong and D/S Glenn Kvidahl. Colin has been leading the band since P/M Scott MacDonald stepped down in 2005. Colin is Scott’s nephew making him a third-generation Pipe Major from the MacDonald Family. Glenn Kvidahl has been and integral member the drum corps since 2003, and became Drum Sergeant in the summer of 2010.
The Los Angeles Scots are considered the Premier Pipe Band in the United States – evidenced by the number of players who travel thousands of miles to be a member of this successful organization. Since the 1990 relaunch of the LA Scots, the band has been home to over 150 band members! The current Grade 1 group is made up of 24 Pipers, 15 Snare Drummers, 7 in the Bass & Tenor Section, and a Drum Major. The band is also home to a Grade 4 competition group currently numbering 14 Pipers, 4 Snare Drummers, and 3 Midsection Drummers. Many of our players are active instructors, judges, and respected leaders within the international pipe band community.
The Band came under the direction of P/M Scott MacDonald in 1992. Continued improvement was the order of the day under Scott’s leadership and the Band developed an international reputation for its music. The Band was one of the top four prizewinners in Grade Two from 1994 to 1997 at the World Pipe Band Championships held in Scotland. In 1997, the Band placed first, winning the Grade Two World Pipe Band Championships marking the first time an American band had won this honor. At the 1997 Pleasanton Highland Games, held over Labor Day weekend, the Band went officially into Grade One at the request of the Games’ committee. This is the highest grade a band can attain, and one that only two other bands from the United States have been able to achieve since. Continuing in Grade One, following promotion to that level by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, the Band works hard to keep up a winning record in this most competitive field of bands. The Band has continued it’s upward climb and has qualified for the Final Round at the Worlds placing as high as 11th on two occasions.
Between 1998 and 2003, the LA Scots’ Drum Corps was under the direction of D/S Carl Lenny. Carl is formerly of New Zealand Police Pipe Band and the World Champion Shotts and Dykehead Caledonian Pipe Band. In 2004 and 2005, the Drum Corps was under the leadership of D/S Andrew Hoinacki. Formerly of Chicago, Andrew played in the Band for one season as a corps drummer before becoming Drum Sergeant. D/S Andy Brubaker returned to the band at the end of 2005, taking over the corps.
In spring of 2004, the reigns of the Band were passed to interim P/M Colin Armstrong. Nephew of P/M Scott MacDonald and grandson of P/M Ian MacDonald, Colin’s piping and leadership pedigree is undeniable. He has guided the Band through the 2004 season into new aspects of musical development and his big-picture approach is already changing the face of the Band both on and off the field.
During the offseason between 2004 and 2005, the Band made took steps toward continued success with the founding of the LA Scots Grade Four band. The nucleus of this band came from a merger with a band known as the San Clemente Scots. This group had already been utilizing instruction from various members of the LA Scots Grade One and so it was a natural transition for them to become part of the organization. Word spread quickly and additional members from local bands came on board to be part of the historic pipe band success associated with the LA Scots. In what seemed like no time at all, P/M Evan Mackay and D/S Joe Foley, were running weekly practices under the careful eye of P/M Scott MacDonald and with the assistance of some key members of the Grade One band. Success was immediate from the first time the Grade Four band set foot on the field. There is more history already in the making as the Band paves the way to include more bands at various grade levels during the coming seasons.
The LA Scots have made many appearances off the competition field, from television’s America’s Funniest Home Videos to playing with Korn in December, 1998. The Band has also released one album, At the Beach, which is available on CD. Plans are underway to begin recording again sometime in the year 2005.