Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band
The Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band (ISMPB), is a bagpipe and drum band based in Birmingham. The band was established in October 2008 from the membership of the Heritage Pipes & Drums and was named to honor the pipe band's original founder and primary instructor Ian Sturrock.
The band is sponsored by Guinness, the Saint Andrews Society of the Middle South and the Caledonian Society of Alabama. The membership includes musicians from throughout Alabama as well as Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.
ISMPB performs in and around Birmingham with traditional Irish pub band Jasper Coal and at various seasonal events for their sponsors. The band also leads the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade along with the parade's primary sponsor the Birmingham Irish Cultural Society.
Ian William Sturrock was born in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland in 1921 to Lawrence Sturrock and Mary Frier Sturrock and was educated at the Kilmarnock Academy. He began his tutelage on the bagpipes at the age of twelve. He was admitted as a member of the Kilmarnock Academy Cadet Corps on December 12, 1932. In May of 1940 he was promoted to the rank of Pipe Major of the Cadet Pipe Band.
During the bombing of Great Britain by Hitler during World War II, Ian served in the Royal Air Force. He was trained as a fighter pilot in Tuscaloosa. Following the war, Ian returned to Alabama and settled in Birmingham where he married and started a family.
Ben Dearg Pipe Band
Ian soon began teaching the bagpipes in Birmingham and formed the city's first pipe and drum band called the Ben Dearg Pipe Band. Ben dearg is Scots Gaelic for "red mountain", so named for Red Mountain, the long ridge running south of Birmingham. The band was named by former Governor of Alabama George Wallace the "Official State Pipe Band".
Heritage Pipes & Drums
The Ben Dearg Pipe Band was later reorganized under the name Heritage Pipes & Drums in affiliation with the Heritage Academy, an educational institution under the Reformed Heritage Presbyterian Church (now Trinity Presbyterian Church). Leadership of the band soon passed to Ian's student Charles Smith who led the band through Ian's death in 1995.
In 2001, Ryan Morrison, a third-generation student of Ian, assumed leadership of the band. In 2008, the band was again reorganized under a new charter to become the Ian Sturrock Memorial Pipe Band to memorialize Ian's contribution to piping in Birmingham.
ISMPB is a member in good standing of the Eastern United State Pipe Band Association since 2010. In May that same year, ISMPB participated in sanctioned Grade 5 pipe band competition at the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games in Gatlinburg, TN. At their debut contest, they took 1st place out of three bands and received marks for playing above grade level.
In June 2010, the band traveled to Lucas, KY for the Glasgow Highland Games for sanctioned Grade 5 pipe band competition and placed 1st out of four bands.
In October 2010, ISMPB attended the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Stone Mountain, GA, one of the largest events in the southern United States. They took 2nd place out of twelve other bands in sanctioned Grade 5 pipe band competition.
As of December 7th, 2010, the band has been upgraded to Grade 4 for the 2011 contest season.