My original query was deliberately about an older and solo tradition, although I'm certainly aware of the plethora of police and fire dept bands around the US - and that also intrigues me. As does the solo piper playing 'Flooers o the Forest' at 'heid bummers' funerals.
However I really think that Marc has hit gold - I should have realised that by the time I'm talking about the pipes had mostly become a military instrument and put into a band context. Although that wouldn't be true of Italian or French bagpipes.
IMy thread title was chosen to confine the discussion to the US dimension as I had thought including Canada would just over complicate things.