Desert Thistle Pipe Band History
A Photo Gallery of the Band Through the Years

The band was formed early in 1976 after several Tri-Cities, Washington pipers answered an inquiry in the local newspaper. By that first summer, the band consisted of about 11 pipers and a side drummer. The band debuted at the Kahlotus Frontier Day Parade in the summer of 1976.

For the first year, the band had no name and no "official" uniform. Early in 1977, the name "Desert Thistle" was suggested. This name linked the thistle of Scotland and the desert of the inland northwest. The band’s name became Desert Thistle Pipes and Drums. Each member wore a kilt of preferred tartan with a light khaki jacket and white Kitchener helmet as the summer uniform. This uniform was like those worn by Scottish Highland regiments in India at the end of the 19th century. In 1984, the band adopted the Hunting Fraser tartan for their band kilts.

The band changed their name in 1998 to Desert Thistle Pipe Band. Ramsay Blue tartan was chosen for new band kilts in 2008. The current band uniform is a kilt with Ramsay Blue tartan, white short-sleeved shirt, black jacket, black tie, and navy-blue Glengarry.

In January of 1980, the band sponsored the visit of Pipe Major James Watt of Vancouver, B.C., to the Tri-Cities. While here, P/M Watt gave a public recital and held a clinic for the band. Encouraged by the response to the recital and in need of raising funds for a set of matched chanters, the band laid plans for a concert that spring. The concert was a popular success. Thus was born an annual event of Celtic music and dance. Our guest performers have ranged from fine local and regional musicians, singers, and dancers, to national and internationally known recording artists.

The band has participated in many events during the past 25 years. Among these have been the opening of the Central Washington State Fair; the Ellensburg Rodeo Parade; the Tri-Cities Water Follies Parade; the Benton-Franklin Fair Parade; the tattoos at the Spokane, Washington and Athena, Oregon Highland Games; the Condon, Oregon Centennial Celebration; and the Prosser States Day Parade. The band has also played in many Sunfest parades and Allied Arts Sidewalk Shows in Richland. In addition, the band has livened many private functions such as Hanford Contractor picnics, the Christ the King Sausage Festival, and numerous St. Patrick's Day celebrations. Band members have also performed at social gatherings, club and school functions, and weddings throughout the Mid-Columbia region, and at Highland Games throughout the Pacific NW.

In 1985-87 the band competed at Highland games in Washington and Oregon, placing first in Grade III at the 1985 Spokane Highland Games. In 1986 and 1987, the band received fourth place honors in Grade III at the Portland Highland Games. The band placed 2nd at the 2000 Spokane Highland Games. The DTPB Quartet took 1st place honors in 1999 and 2000 at both the Tacoma Highland Games and Spokane Highland Games. The DTPB #1 Duet placed 2nd at the 2000 Spokane Highland Games.

Our Pipe Majors through the years have been Jim Denovan (1976-1988), David Lanigan (1988-1991), John Brimhall (1991-1994), David Lanigan (1994-1998), and Judy Morrison (1998-2014).

Jim Denovan - David Lanigan - John Brimhall - David Lanigan - Judy Morrison