Band Information

The Cameron Highlanders at the Annual Tartan Ball

     John H. Rosenberger and his father Karl R. Rosenberger formed the Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band in 1946. The band was originally the San Diego County Pipe Band and because of the alliance with Clan Cameron of the Order of Scottish Clans, the name was changed to the Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band. It is now the oldest continually performing pipe band in California and is one of the oldest in the United States.

Pipe Major John H.Rosenberger 10/27/1922-7/15/2005

The Cameron Cadets 1959
Left to Right: D/S Malcolm Rosenberger, Bass Drummer Michael Robinson, Side Drummer Bruce Robinson,
Dancer Robin Bullock, Piper Cameron Kermott, Piper Buddy Brown, P/M Charlie Rosenberger.

Left to right: Karl , Charlie, Malcolm and John H. Rosenberger 1960

    The Cameron Highlanders is now under the leadership of John's son, Pipe Major Charles R. Rosenberger who has led the competition band since 1970. He is a well respected player throughout the Western United States and has been on the W.U.S.P.B.A judges list for over 40 years.  John's other son Malcolm, led the drum section up until November 2006 at which time he moved from the area. The drum section is now under the leadership of Drum Sergeant Aaron Mars.

     Charles learned to play the pipes from his father at the age of seven and was competing at the age of nine. He became the Pipe Major of the Cameron Cadets Pipe Band as seen above in 1959. He won his first prize at the age of nine in the novice class at Petaluma and a second place at Santa Monica. He was moved to the Amateur grade at age ten and won his first aggregate championship at San Diego when he was twelve. . He gathered dozens of other prizes and championships over the next seven years including the coveted James McColl trophy for Ceol Mor at Santa Monica. During that time Charles took additional instruction from the late Capt. John B. McClellan. Charles entered the open class at nineteen and collected many more prizes before retiring from the individual ranks to concentrate on the band and other personal endeavors as a professional musician.

     The band originally wore the Cameron of Erracht tartan, which was the same tartan worn by the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders regiment. In 1956, the Camerons of San Diego were officially recognized by the Queen and were given the privilege of wearing the regimental insignia and buttons.

     The uniform of the band at that time was the kilt, full plaid, hair sporrans, glenngaries, and military white jackets with Cameron collar badges and the round Queens Own buttons. Later, dark green doublets with gold trim and feather bonnets were added for formal or evening occasions. These uniforms were those worn when the band performed for The Prince of Wales when he visited San Diego during his tour of duty aboard the H.M.S. Jupiter and also several years later when Queen Elizabeth made a visit to San Diego.

     The uniforms went through another change in the 70's when it was decided to change the kilt to the Cameron of Erracht old colors. In addition, the full plaids were dropped, as were the feather bonnets.

     The band now wears the Ancient Cameron Tartan with black leather sporrans as seen on the main page. The standard uniform is dress shirts with ties, black vests, black hose and black glenngaries. Black Argyle jackets finish the dress uniform. This uniform is much more adaptable to the warm Southern California climate and gives the band a very formal appearance.

         The Cameron Highlanders have been performing since 1946 and have been competing with fair regularity since the mid 1950's. They were one of the original founding members of the Pacific Coast Pipe Band Association, now the Western United States Pipe Band Association. The band first competed as a "B" band and in the 1970's entered the "A" band ranks. The band did well during these years but dropped out of the competition scene for about five years in the mid seventies when Malcolm and Charlie were travelling. During that time, the P.C.P.B.A. reoriented the association, creating Grade I, II, III, and IV bands to better align the West Coast with Scotland. At that time, the Camerons were placed in grade III. Since that time, the band has always been among the prizewinners and has won numerous championships, including the WUSPBA championships at Reno in 1996.  After a sabbatical from the competition field for the 1999 season, the band returned in 2000 to finish 2nd in the WUSPBA standings.

In 2005, several of the key members of the band left for other endeavors and the Cameron Grade 3 band temporarily dissolved. The band fielded a Grade 4 band at only one competion in 2005, and has begun a rebuilding process. Charlie worked as an instructor for the band for one season and then took over the position of Pipe Major to help move the Grade 4 in the winning direction. During the first year under his leadership the band moved up the prize winners list culminating the season with a 1st and 4th place finish at the Seaside Highland Games in Ventura. Since then the band has been finished every competion in the top four of it's grade including numerous 1st and 2nd place finishes.

In 2010 the Cameron's formed a Grade 5 band and over the past 3 seasons they have placed at every competition culminating in winning the Grade 5 WUSPBA championship for 2013. The purpose of the Grade 5 band is to introduce pipers and drummers to the competition scene and to prepare them to move into a higher grade. Most of the Grade 5 members in 2013 were moved up to Grade 4 because the Grade 4 band was moved up to Grade 3 due to the previous success of the band and the addition of some new experience pipers to the ranks. As a result, the Grade 4 and 5 bands entered a year of rebuilding. Richard King took over the duties of instructor for the Grade 5 and Ross Naismith acted as Pipe Major of the Grade 4 band. During the first year with three bands, the Grade 3 band did very well placing 3rd in the MSR at their first contest and sweeping the competition at Las Vegas and San Diego.

2015 has been a very successful year so far for all three bands. Currently the Grade 3 band is still under the leadership of Charlie Rosenberger with Richard King assuming the position of Pipe Sergeant. . Ross Naismith resigned from the band and Evan MacKay has accepted the position of Pipe Major for the Grade 4. Charlie Rosenberger is acting as instructor of the Grade 5 with Aaron Mars instructing the drum section and the Jim Sanford leading the band as Pipe Major. In 2015, the Grade 3 band has already taken 5 first place awards. The Grade 4 band has taken 4 first places and one 2nd and the Grade 5 taken First place at every contest so far.

The goal of the band is to take all 3 bands to the World Championships in Scotland next year and they are well on their way to bringing home the gold in 2016.

       The Cameron Highlanders also has a championship highland dancing corps lead for over 40 years by "Head Dancer" Chrissy Ambler. Over the years, the Cameron dancers have accumulated hundreds of individual awards. Four of the band dancers of the past have won the Western U.S. championships. The current band dancers are all prizewinners. The dancers perform with the band at parades and other functions throughout the year.

     In addition to competition, the band also performs at other functions including parades, parties, church services, and other public and private events. The full  band membership currently consists of over seventy pipers, drummers and dancers. Membership is also open to non performing associate members that add another twenty five or more members to the roster.

     The Cameron Highlanders Pipe Band is dedicated to furthering the art of Bagpipes, drums, dancing, and the Scottish culture and as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, free instruction is offered for prospective or interested pipers and drummers. Information about this can be obtained on our Instruction page.