The Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band of Vernon, British Columbia, was formed in 1984, under the direction of Pipe Major Reg Scott, who led the band for 20 years. The Pipe Band has 2 pipers, including a piper from the original group. Pipe Major Maureen Soichuk and Drum Sergeant Neil Morrison lead the band, while Pipe Sergeant Reg Scott, Pipe Sergeant Gord Mathers, and Pipe Corporal Dave Gerhardt assist. The Kalamalka Highlanders are the largest pipe band in the Okanagan Valley, with close to 40 pipers and drummers. They are the only group in the Interior with both a junior and adult pipe band. Each band wears the distinctive maroon and grey Portree tartan from the Isle of Skye in Scotland.
British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) & Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band (KHPB) Form Partnership
In 2011 following the attendance at the Nov 11th Remembrance Day Service, the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band was invited to the British Columbia Dragoons (BCD) Mess near The Brigadier Murphy Armouries and a BCD Major mentioned to the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band that the BCD wanted to have a relationship with a pipe band.
In 2013 following a meeting between, at the time, Lt Col Nigel Whittaker, Commanding Officer of the BCD and members of the Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band regarding BCD participation in the 2014 Tattoo, Col Whittaker casually mentioned his desire to have a relationship with a pipe band. The band would be only be needed for one or two appearances per year as a support unit, but it was viewed as an important and beneficial partnership for the BCD’s.
At the 2013 Fall Interior Pipe Band Gathering, a competition for pipe bands from Penticton to Kamloops, the pipe majors of the Kelowna Pipe Band/Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band of Vernon and the Shuswap Pipe Band were invited to a short meeting. The wishes of Col Whittaker were passed on to the group. As the BCD area of responsibility stretched from Penticton to Salmon Arm, the question was asked, would they and their bands be willing to perform when and where needed to support the BCD. All nodded their agreement.
In 2015 the combined bands played as a group for the first time at the Tattoo sub event, The Lord Strathcona Horse Show at the IPE grounds in Armstrong. The Okanagan Military Tattoo paid for the six pennants carrying the BCD Coat of Arms and flown on the drones of the pipe majors and officers of the bands. As well, Gordon Plaid (the official plaid of the BCD) ribbons were also supplied by the Tattoo and flown on the drones of the other pipers. The Kalamalka Highlanders Pipe Band (KHPB) was later invited to use a retrofitted building at the Vernon Military Camp as their practice facility.
In 2016 the KHPB performed at the BCD Change of Command parade at the Vernon Military Camp when Lt Col McGinty took over command. The band was introduced to Col Awalt, commander of 39 Brigade, as the Associate Band of the BCD. The KHPB (and others at times) performed at the BCD Spring Ball (Mission Hill Winery), two Gothic Line Dinners and with all three pipe bands at the Okanagan Military Tattoo 2016.