The band was formed in August 1979 as the Garrett Highlanders, founded and organized by the late Honorable Fred A. Thayer and Charles P. “Chip” Evans. 

Fred Thayer and Chip Evans, c. 1980

A class of eight students began the course of instruction at Garrett Community College, Oakland Center. The band’s first public performance was at the local ski resort’s Summerfest in July 1980. Officially adopted by the college in 1989, the band continued to be an affiliate program of the institution until recently. The band, now known as the Garrett Highlands Pipes and Drums, is under the sponsorship of the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department (

Among its many performances, the band led the dignitaries, both local and international, at the Whitewater World Championship opening ceremonies at Frostburg State University Stadium in June 1989, and again for opening ceremonies of the 2014 World Championships at the Adventure Sports Center atop WISP mountain.  The band performed for the opening of Interstate 68 in Cumberland, MD, at Railfest, in 1992, and participated in the Scottish Christmas Walk in Alexandria, VA, in 1991 and 1992.  On September 11, 2002, the band played for the dedication of the Flight #93 Memorial Chapel in Shanksville, PA.  In addition to regular appearances at regional Highland Games and festivals, GHPD marches in local town celebrations and is a regular feature at Frostburg State University's Appalachian Festival.  The band usually plays a major role in the Autumn Glory celebration held in Garrett County and Oakland, the county seat. The band also has served as host band for the McHenry Highland Festival since its inception in 1988.

Band Leadership

1979 - 2001 Fred A. Thayer, Founder, Pipe Major

2001 - 2008/09 Gerald McGee, Pipe Major (now PM Emeritus)

2009 - present Paul Browning, Pipe Major

Current Officers

Clan Chief and Business Manager/Scribe: Alma Glotfelty

Bursar: Barbara Kutchman

Drum Major:

Drum Sergeant: Rick Kutchman
Drum Corporal:  Barbara Kutchman

Pipe Sergeant: Annie Bristow
Pipe Sergeant: Cecil Glotfelty
Pipe Sergeant and OVFD Liaison: Rich Ford
Pipe Corporal: Mary Alice Reesman

Quartermaster: Alma Glotfelty

Archivist: Marci McClive

Guidons (flag bearers): Members of the Oakland Volunteer Fire Department

The Tartan

To honor its founder, the band has adopted the Colquhoun tartan as its official kilt pattern (background). Thayer’s mother was a descendant of the Colquhoun clan. Evans' clan is Chisolm and his tartan is worn here by his son, Joe Evans.

Joe Evans, at McHenry Highland Festival, 2013