The Rampant Lion Pipe Band took first place out of 13 competing bands at the Bonnie Brae Scottish Festival and Games in the Liberty Corner section of the township. "And the hometown crowd went wild when they announced that we were from Basking Ridge," said band member Karen Haase-Grey of Basking Ridge.
The Rampant Lion Pipe Band, founded in 2007, was featured in the competition and ceremonies at the Bonnie Brae school campus off Valley Road during last weekend's full-day festival.
The bands come every June from as far as Pennsylvania, Connecticut and upstate New York to perform at Bonnie Brae's bagpipe band competition, said Pipe Major David Gerald Palladino-Sinclair, who founded the Basking Ridge-based band.
Palladino-Sinclair, a township resident, also is former assistant band director of the Governor Livingston Highlander Band of Berkeley Heights. Many members of the band come from both communities, and other nearby towns.
Palladino-Sinclair said members range in age from 13 to 70-plus, and include high school and college students among its musicians.
He said there are over sixty pipe bands in New Jersey alone and to place so highly among them in the first contest of the season "shows the hard work and dedication of the musicians in the band."
“We are looking forward to a successful competitive season this summer," said Palladino-Sinclair.
The band's next competition will be this Sunday in the NJ Irish Festival at Monmouth Race Track, http://www.nj-irishfestival.com.
Membership is open to anyone who is interested in learning the art of Scottish bagpiping and drumming and free tuition is offered to those interested in learning the instrument, Palladino-Sinclair said.
The Rampant Lion Pipe Band of Basking Ridge offers free bagpipe and drum instruction every Tuesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 158 Central Ave in the Stirling section of Long Hill Township.