Some Words About Graeme Smith
My Grandfather (Pipe Major Jock Smith MM, BEM.) was a Pipe Major in The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (a famous Scottish Army Regiment) during WWII. He was famed for playing bagpipes for Highland Dancers, as well as an accomplished accordionist and drummer. He was part of a family of bagpipers with four of his brothers also playing. Then there's my father who played in another Scottish Army Regiment - The Scots Guards. He still plays and teaches bagpipes in Scotland. My uncle, Roy Smith, along with my father and grandfather were involved with starting the Denny and Dunipace Pipe Band in 1964 - a Pipe Band that went from the lower grades of bagpiping to the top grade in a relatively short time.
The Humble Beginnings:
I learned the bagpipes - like my two brothers (Paul and Iain) at Queen Victoria School, Dunblane, Scotland, under the direction of Pipe Major John M McKenzie - who was also a Pipe Major in The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during WWII, and a great friend of my Grandfather. During my school years I played at various events as part of the School Pipe Band, which include Scottish Rugby International matches at Murrayfield in Edinburgh. After leaving school I played for the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders Association Pipe Band along with my brother Paul, and led by my father, for a couple of years after which my father rejoined the Denny and Dunipace Pipe Band, followed by myself to compete with them for a while.
The Military Years:
In 1990 I joined the Royal Air Force, and eventually the RAF Kinloss Pipe Band, where I played in solo and band competitions with great success. We (RAF Kinloss) played at the 1994 Edinburgh Military Tattoo, as well as making frequent visits to the US Naval Base in Keflavik, Iceland for Burns Night celebrations and to The Channel Island of Guernsey for The Battle of Britain Memorial Weekends. In 1995 RAF Kinloss Pipe Band enjoyed their most successful season with 38 trophies competing in the North of Scotland. I was awarded Air Marshal Sir John Harris' commendation for showing outstanding resolve and strength of character following the tragic loss of a RAF Nimrod aircraft at the Toronto Air Show of 1995, where I was employed as the bagpiper with the airshow team, and played for both repatriation ceremonies and the individual funerals of all seven crew members who lost their lives.
Up to now:
I left the RAF in 1997 and the RAF Kinloss Pipe Band in 2000. Between 2001 and 2007 I spent much of my time working as a flight simulator engineer, although not in a pipe band I kept the bagpipes going playing at family and social events. From my days in Denny and Dunipace Pipe Band I have performed solo at various weddings, parties, functions and competitions gaining awards, and accolades. I now live near Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, have been a leading member of The Atlanta Pipe Band, and now play with City of Chattanooga Pipe Band.