In 1953 Pipe-Major Wendell Odell formed the 53rd Stewart Highlanders, now the Manchester Regional Police and Fire Pipe Band (MRPF). The Pipe Band was patterned after the fashion of the great Scottish military regiments, and is proud to continue these time honored military traditions by maintaining a regimental structure. The Pipe Band also maintains a traditional military-style uniform with the kilt being Hunting Stewart.
Bagpipes have long been associated with the police and fire services. The great immigrations of the 1800 and 1900’s brought large numbers of Irish, Scots, Welsh, and others of Celtic origin into the United States. Many of these immigrants settled into the urban areas. It was these large urban areas that first started professional police and fire departments, and many of the officers were of Celtic ancestry. These officers brought into the police and fire services many of the habits and customs from the old countries police and fire departments, one being the bagpipe.
Today the trend continues. Countries around the world have bagpipe bands associated with their police and fire services. In the United States, the interest in bagpiping has grown dramatically in the past ten years, and the trend shows no end. Therefore, it was no surprise to find many members of the Old Stewart Highlanders were police and firefighters. These officers wished to further the honor, and integrity of the police and fire services as well as their communities, by using their talents as pipers and drummers. Additionally, a great number of community members who have piping and drumming experience also wanted to support their police, firefighters and communities by participating in a Regional Police and Fire Pipe Band. As such, by a unanimous vote of the membership, The Manchester Regional Police and Fire Pipe Band was commissioned on March 1, 1999.