The Northport Bagpipe Experience


The Idea

In 1984 that Northport Police Chief (and avid bagpiper) Bob Howard got together with members of the local fire department to create what was hoped to be the Northport Fire Department Bagpipe Band. The first meeting was held at the American Legion Hall just off Main Street. About twenty people showed up, each looking to fulfill a personal dream of playing the pipes and joining a centuries-old tradition. It wasn't very long, however, before piping basics such as doublings and grips contrived to dampen much of the initial enthusiasm, and fourteen members dropped out of the group. The remaining six decided to press on, abandoning the occupational requirement for membership and opening up the band to any and all.

Northport Pipe and Drum

The remaining six members attended their first public performance that summer at the Eatons neck annual Fourth of July parade. Having no real uniforms, they outfitted themselves in Bermuda shorts, sandals and white t-shirts. The Rowan Tree set -consisting of the tune Rowan Tree-was the extent of the band's repertoire. These pipers might not have looked like the Black Watch or played like Shotts and Dykehead, but they possessed a unique spirit that mattered more. The Northport Pipe Band was born.

The Ball is Rolling

The band was ready for more parades-and real uniforms. Each member purchased his own kilt, sporran, hat, belt and hose. (Shirts came from surplus stock of the Lloyd Harbor police.) Equipment was purchased thanks to the generosity of a corporate benefactor – Support Systems Associates, Inc. A bagpipe instructor was hired (each piper paid three dollars per lesson), and a few more tunes were added. That summer, the Northport Pipe Band marched in four parades.

A New Era

Don Goller, a local legend and former pipe major of the Nassau County Police Emerald Society Competition Pipe Band, came on as instructor. Goller brought with him the discipline and expertise the band had been looking to acquire. With a patient yet firm way with his students, he simply pushed the members to reach their potentials, challenging them with more complicated tunes. Goller invited some players to participate in his own Celtic Cross Pipe Band, a competition-only band he had formed with players from several bands across Long Island. Celtic Cross competed successfully in Grade 4 competitions, providing several members of the Northport Pipe Band with that experience that proved valuable in raising the overall quality of the Northport band.


In the spring of 2002, Pipe Major Mike Dow put the band on the competition field in grade 5. Competition fervor grows and ebbs with personnel, their families and responsibilities. However, since Westbury stopped hosting competitions, the band has focused on parades and other local events.

Social Media

Social media has become an integral part of how we interact. NPD finally has joined facebook to reach our wonderful community. We are continuously updating and posting new information and pictures to let our followers know what we are doing.

Non-For Profit

The band has been a non-for profit group since its conception, but now it is official! We regularly donate to our local food pantry, sponsor family's during the holidays, donate to a few organizations that make our efforts all worth while. This is a great achievement for the band that we strive to provide

Current Status

As the Northport Pipe Band grows, it continues to set its sights higher. The years passed, and the band's repertoire gradually expanded. A number of instructors came and went, and some pipers dropped out, but even more joined and the band's roster grew. Today, three of the original six members remain: former pipe Major Ted Unkel, Bill Howe, and bass drummer Dan Madigan. The band regularly performs in parades and other events that literally cover Long Island end to end-from Montauk to Manhattan. It still practices Monday nights at the same legion hall that saw the band's first practice 30 years ago, and it proudly leads the town's Memorial Day and Cow Harbor Day Parades each year. The future holds great promise for the Northport Pipe Band, but its roots will always be firmly planted in the community that gave it its start.

Interested In Joining

We have the greatest family band that anyone could ask for. You can learn to play the bagpipes or learn to be a drummer in our one of a kind band! Throughout the march season we participate in all types of events that include parades, festivals, and some very entertaining private gigs. Great camaraderie and fun is guaranteed. Anybody can join the band beginners or veterans, we welcome you all with full arms. If you are interested or want some more information Please Click Here

Interested in Hiring

The Northport Pipe Band is available for hire to play public and private functions, including parades, parties and funerals. At reasonable rates, we are able to provide different size groups from a single piper to a mini- or full-band. The full-band schedule fills up fast as we are typically asked back for repeat performances for parades and events, but YOUR events are important to us too. If you would like the moving sound of bagpipes to identify your group or accompany you on a happy or solemn occasion, then contact us. Our performance should blow you away. If you are interested or want some more information Please Click Here