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Pipers return ‘By Popular Demand’

Dylan Riley, Appeal Staff Writer

The Sierra Highlanders Pipe Band has entertained Northern Nevada for 42 years with live performances.

Pipe Major Burch Palmer announced that the band is releasing a collection of some of its best tunes on compact disc.

“We tried to do something a little different with this recording,” Palmer said. “There are old favorites you’d expect, but we included other selections, and some cuts have a wide variety of instruments to back up the traditional pipes and drums.”

“By Popular Demand” is for sale at Video Madness in Carson City, Mark Twain Books in Virginia City and Sundance Books in Reno.

Sales are a fund-raiser for the Highlanders, which is a nonprofit organization. Band president John LoGuirato said proceeds will help finance gear for the outfit.

“We need to buy new uniforms and equipment, ranging from drums to pipe reeds, all of which have increased in price recently,” he said.

The band plays the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland with Great Highland bagpipes and snare, bass, and tenor drums.

The band has eight pipers and six drummers.

Organized in 1961, the Sierra Highlanders have won prizes in competitions throughout Northern California and the West.

The band has performed in more than a thousand parades, concerts and benefits. This is the first time a recording of its music has been available.

The record was produced by Palmer.

“We’re fortunate to have Burch’s expertise and talent,” LoGuirato said. “He gave this CD a professional sound that we are all very proud of.”

The release is named “By Popular Demand” in response to fans who have requested a recording.

The compilation includes traditional tunes such as” Amazing Grace” and “Scotland the Brave” and newer jigs and hornpipes. There is more than 50 minutes of music on the CD.

Ron James, a piper with the band for 29 years, said “This is a real moment for the band. For years we’ve had our fans ask us for a recording and were very pleased to be able to give them this CD.”

Palmer has been piping for 12 years with the Highlanders.

“I like the slip jigs and Sgt. Mackenzie, ‘cuz I sang it,” Palmer said. “It came from the Mel Gibson movie ‘We Were Soldiers’ and was written about his great granddad, who was killed in the first world war. That’s where that came from, and that’s where we heard it. We liked it so well we decided to put it on the CD.”