Formed in 1968 as "The Piping Society of Grand Rapids", the band consisted of roughly 10 members including its founding members: Alan Wilson, Ed Gavin, Jim Pringle, Harry Ohanesian, Bill Campbell, and Larry MacPherson.  Shortly thereafter, the group changed the name to the Grand Rapids Pipe Band and elected its first Pipe Major.  At the time, membership in the group was restricted to men (only) of  21 years of age (or older) which was in compliance with the military pipe bands.  This changed in 1970 when the first female student joined the band.

The Grand Rapids Pipe Band made its first television appearance on the local program, "The Buck Matthews' Show" (WOTV / Mar 1971).  By this time, the band was growing in number with several families having more than one member as a student.  In early 1972, Maureen Scobie began teaching Highland dancing to a handful of girls who were often included with the band during indoor performances.  It was later this same year the group attempted their first competition where they placed 3rd in Grade IV at the Alma Highland Festival.  The Michigan bands that participated at the festival were later invited to perform during the half-time program at the Detroit Lions/New Orleans Saints football game, televised from Tiger's Stadium (Nov 1972).

A special Burns' Night edition of  "The Buck Matthews' Show" (WOTV / Jan 25, 1973) brought another appearance of the band to local airwaves.  In the fall of that year, the GRPB organized a Trio & Mini-Band competition held at Ottawa Hills High School (Sept 21, 1973) and invited other pipe bands from the West Michigan area to compete.  Of the two trios put forth by GRPB, one took 2nd place while its mini-band not only took 1st place but was also awarded Drum Corps of the Day.

By 1974, the band was consisting of twenty-four members and started out the season with two 2nd place positions at the Midlothian Highland Games in the Slow March-6/8 and March/Strathspey/Reel competitions.  That same year, Buck Matthews, as co-chair for the Grand Rapids Arts Festival, invited the band to the opening ceremonies of Festival '74 - an event which, along with several other acts, was recorded on a souvenir album.
{Note: this recording of the band is now part of a special record in the Library of Congress}

In 1975, an attempt to compete in Grade III at both the Alma and Midlothian games proved discouraging for the band, so the rest of the season was spent competing in Grade IV.  The Scottish World Festival in Toronto (Aug 1975) saw the GRPB participating in the week-long event beginning with a parade through downtown Toronto and culminating with the Inter-Continental Competitions at the CNE.  The band was housed in the dorms at York University, along with other bands from the States, Canada, UK, Fiji, Nepal and New Zealand.  And while the group placed 10th out of 13 in Grade IV, the experience with so many other bands from different locales was well worth the trip.

As with most other bands, GRPB went through constant changes in membership during the 1976-1979 period with the biggest highlight during that time being the group's first "Tartan Ball" (Apr 1977).  The Tartan Ball was a fund-raiser featuring a dance band with guest pipe bands from the surrounding areas performing at different intervals during the night.
{Note: we still do this on a yearly basis but now we simply call it a Ceilidh}

Heading south for competitions in Dunedin, Florida (Mar 1980) put the band in 3rd place as well as putting them in the Tattoo that was held in conjunction with games.  It also put the band in peril as the week-long trip gave our Drum Major a twisted ankle {received from a ditch on the playing field} and most of the other members a ride they will never forget {the trailer carrying them tipped over on the return trip}.