Northern California Pipe Bands That Have Faded Into History
6th Army Pipe Band
1948 - 1959
Tartan: Royal Stewart
- Pipe Majors: 1953 Sgt William E. Allen, 1956 PFC Victor A. Biswell, 1957 SP3 Victor A. Biswell
- Drum Majors: 1953 Cpl Daniel P. Healy, 1953 - 1956 Sgt Richard K. Kirkland, 1957 Sgt Alvin Pierce
- Drum Sergeant: 1957 SP3 William McErlean
The 6th Army Pipe Band was founded at the behest of Gen. Mark Clark in 1948 and disbanded in 1959. I was the last surviving member and spent the last six months of my tour of duty as assistant supply clerk with the chore of dispensing our "kit" to the US Army Reserve group in Sacramento. All members of the 6th Army Pipe Band were regular army and you had to enlist for three years and be auditioned to be assigned to the band. The Band traveled 80,000 miles each year throughout the 6th Army region. We were billeted in Army/Air Force and Navy bases and also in an occasional flop house. You have mentioned Biswell and McErlean (the latter won the Worlds Drum Section award with Triumph Street after his army days) but James Christy Watt Thomson was also a member in the 50s. Taught by the blind piper Archie MacNeill. He was a solo piper of note and competing successfully both at home and abroad. He also became the Pipe Major of the original Los Angeles Scottish Pipe Band along with other alumnae of 6APB: Willie Capperauld (Bass), Charlie Capperauld (lead stroke), myself, and Sam Sweetman from the north. Sammy was a fine piper from Glasgow who also helped instruct some of the originals of the Stuarts!! A most musical aggregation that competed very successfully in Grade 1 for years. [by Ozzie Reid]
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The uniforms and gear from the 6th Army Pipe Band went to the Army's 191st Division Band [by Chuck Jamison]
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They won the Class B championships at Highland Games held in Portland and Seattle in 1957. They wore Royal Stewart kilts/plaids with doublets and glengarries. [by SF Call]
360th Regiment, 91st Division (USAR) Pipe Band (Sacramento)
Tartan: Royal Stewart
The 360th Regiment, 91st Division (USAR) Pipe Band inherited the 6th Army Pipe Band's uniforms and gear [by Chuck Jamison]
All-Ireland Pipe Band of San Francisco
Awful Fresh MacFarlane Candy and Nuts Pipe Band
Pipe Majors: Bill Scrimager
Pipe Sergeant: Bill Skinner
At some point in the 1920's - 1930's "Awful Fresh MacFarlane" candy company sponsored a Pipe Band in Oakland. [by Rick Coffee]
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The Piedmont High School Pipe Band was allied to the Awful Fresh MacFarlane Candy and Nuts Pipe Band...great title!!! Never heard them play as they broke up prior to my arrival in Northern California. The photo below shows a well turned out band: 10 pipers, 2 snares, 1 tenor and a bass, Full rig. Bill Scrimager as Pipe Major and Bill Skinner who was the Pipe Sergeant. Fred MacLennan was in the band along with Brick Johnson. Bobby Nichol was a snare drummer who later was renowned as a teacher of Highland Dance in the 60s. Several did double duty with the Caledonian Pipe Band. There actually was a reed company of that name that, in some fashion, sponsored the band. On my arrival in the East Bay in 1959 there still was a candy company by that name located at 35th Ave and E. 14th. St. in Oakland, but no Pipe Band! [by Ozzie Reid]
Berkeley Post No. 113 Canadian Legion Pipe Band
Tartan: 1) Royal Stewart
2) Hunting MacPherson
Pipe Majors: Schwan
No idea when this was formed. It was operating in the early 50's though as the dates on the photos show. The band met in the basement of the Berkeley Veteran's Memorial Building on Center Street and was loosely sponsored by the Legion. No (or little) funds but the occasional job or recommendation for a job. They were poor - so was the band. Old, Royal Stewart kilts, ancient drums and that was about it for equipment. Everything else you bought yourself. The main source of income was a dinner that the band put on once a year in the dining room of the Vet's Building. Perhaps two or three performances.
The band was, as the photos show, tiny. It never got any bigger as I recall. It neither played or drilled well but no one seemed to care about that much at the time. Eventually enough money was on hand to buy new "Hunting" MacPherson kilts which were the flimsiest material ever seen on the face of the earth. Grey and ugly too.
John Short and Don Fiddes quit the band in 1956 or so to join the Caledonian Band in San Francisco and I followed them about six months later when it became clear that the Berkeley band was soon to collapse and there would be a chance to continue playing at a higher level.
The first drum instructor was an old WWI Scottish vet named Gordon Muir, who may well have played with the MacFarlane Band along with "Brick" Johnson and Archie MacLennon (both eventually at Piedmont High) who later became the organizer/promoter and piping instructor (respectively) there. [by Rick Coffee]
The Black Raven Pipe Band of San Francisco
Tartan: Ancient MacCallum
- Pipe Majors: Bill Cathro, Charles Martin
- Pipe Sergeant: Tom Hattam, Fred Rutledge
- Drum Majors: Tom Elwood, Jack Gerhardt
- Drum Sergeant: Rick Coffee
The Black Ravens had an interesting demise. Jack Gerhardt left as drum major in 1985 and John Wyatt took the helm. We ran the Dunsmuir Games during this time, but it became so big it was almost all the group did. Charles Martin took on the pipe-major role once Bill Cathro left. [by Fred Rutledge]
The Caledonian Pipe Band
Tartan: Royal Stewart [pipers], Hunting Stewart [drummers]
- Pipe Majors: Calvin Biggar, John Biggar, Vic Biswell
- Pipe Sergeant: Ian Campbell, Vic Biswell
- Drum Majors: Geoffrey Baldwin
- Drum Sergeant: Jerry Blackstock, Willie McEarlan, Bert Thompson
Jim Harrington (Sr. Drum Major Adjudicator, WUSPBA) notes that Geoffrey Baldwin was a former Royal Marines Drum Major who later became the Drum Major of the Stuart Highlanders until he retired in 1967. DMaj Baldwin was also one of the first Drum Major judges for the PCPBA.
The Cameron Highlanders of San Francisco
Tartan: Cameron of Erracht
The Cameron Highlanders of San Francisco: Either Christmas of 1954 or St. Patrick's Day of 1955, Byron Davies was in downtown San Francisco and heard bagpipes. As it turns out Bob Cowan had been hired to by Scottish Imports, Inc. to play in front of their store on Geary Street. Bob indicated that a new pipe band was forming and would be meeting at the Scottish 555 Club on 555 Turk St (subsequently razed to make way for the Federal Building). Byron Davies and I worked at the same location. I was in the Navy and Byron was a civilian employee. One day I heard bagpipes and I discovered it was Byron practicing. I indicated that I was a brass band drummer and always loved the pipes, even though I had never heard them in person. I attended the next practice and due to a lack of drummers was named the Sergeant Drummer. [by DSgt William Shupe, Cameron Highlanders of San Francisco ]
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The Cameron Highlanders got going in the late 1950's or early 1960's under the leadership of Robert Cowan and "Dutch' Harrison who had played with the Caledonian Pipe Band and an ex-Canadian Airborne guy named Hugh Buie. They drilled superbly and had a great uniform (which members bought for themselves): Cameron of Erracht (79th) tartan, Dark blue or black "patrol" jackets (no lace, no decoration - just dark), dark hose tops, glens. Dark sporrans too as I recall. At some point the Ravens and this group more or less merged with the Camerons folding and some of them moving over. Terry McNitt, George Brooke, and Tom Hattam among these. [by Rick Coffee]
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The following by Byron Davies:
Some time in the Fifties I became a regular at the Scottish Tavern, at 555 Turk St. in San Francisco (an address since swallowed up by a then-new Federal Building). The juke box had only Scottish tunes, though not all were records of pipe bands or of Pibroch – some were of the “Annie Laurie” persuasion, but he pipe tunes got most of the action and coins. Pipes and drums regularly appeared on Friday and Saturday nights, or after a parade such as those San Francisco held regularly on St. Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, and Columbus Day. Bagpipe bands marched in all of them.
I met some of the pipers and became involved with a group ring-led by Bob Cowan, who had been a piper with a Canadian regiment. I bought a practice chaunter and a beginning tutor and so began to learn to play some of the standard tunes like “The Pibroch o’ Donald Dubh” (or closer to the Gaelic, “Piobaireachd o' Donuil Dubh”), and “Atholl Highlanders.”
These early efforts were limited to the “big notes,” as playing the intricate figures of grace notes (each with its own Gaelic name) that along with the steady drone give pipe music its distinctive sound, is what takes most of the practice time when learning the pipes. Legend has it that playing the pipes requires “seven generations of pipers, seven years of wanting, and seven years of practice” as basic prerequisites – and I was short on several counts.
No matter – we formed a band. Cowan (Pipe Major, naturally) conjured up a Big Drum, two tenors, some side-drums, and some sets of pipes, one of which became mine, on indefinite loan. A friend from work had been playing snare in marching band for years: he became Lead Stroke. Some of the Tavern regulars with pipes and kilts were dragooned into membership in the San Francisco Highlanders; one Charlie Doig with a magnificent Guard’s moustache became Drum Major. I bought a (very) used Queen’s (or possibly her father the King’s) Issue 42d Black Watch kilt, a simple leather sporran, a Glengarry cap – we all bought surplus Ike jackets and had them died Navy blue, and with black shoes, hose, gaiter flashes, and white spats we were togged out and away. I think Bob had a proper grouse feather for his Glen, but we lesser pipers and drummers made do with a cheap version that came from the lowly chicken. We found several small unicorn brooches and wore them over brass X-shaped backgrounds (the Cross of St. Andrew, of course) as cap badges.
Cameron Pipe Band of Sacramento
1960s to 1980s
Culloden Moor Pipe Band
Dress: Culloden tartan kilts (purple and saffron), white shirts (men), purple shirts (women), Brown leather vests, Culloden ties (pipers), purple velvet bowties (drummers)
In the last year of Culloden Moor Pipe Band, Ian Whitelaw had taken over the band from Reuben Santos, and wanting a fresh start, re-named the band to "City of San Francisco". Some of the players didn't wish to follow Ian and left the band. Numbers were now low and failure was eminent. [by John Biggar]
Golden Bear Pipe Band
The Golden Bear Pipe band was in the Sacramento area. The members who marched in 1960 full dues paying members of the band were = G. Fred Bowden, Sr. PM; H. Champlin, Pipes; B. Eichholz, Pipes; B. Ellis, Drums; J. Forsyth, Pipes; J. Gallup, Drums; W. Henry, pipes; F. Jack, Pipes; B. Jamison, Pipes; D. Johnson, Pipes; D. Kennedy, Pipes; L. Keroak, Drums; P. Linke, Pipes; J. Linke, Dancer; J. Lovell, Pipes; B. Monson, Dancer; J. Monson, Drums; P. Morris, D/M; A. McKenzie, Reserve; G. McGregor, Pipes; P. Odom, Dancer; B. Olwell, Pipe Sgt.; A. Smith, Pipes; C. Smith, Dancer; D. Smith, Drums; J. Smith, Pipes; K. Smith, Drum Sgt.; K. Tadlock, P/M; D. Townsend, Drum Cpl.; A. Townsend, Pipes and S. Brown, Reserve. [by Bill Jamison]
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Folsom Parade article: June 19, 1960 marked a great day in the history of the Golden Bear Bagpipe Band of Sacramento - it was the first public parade of the band. The place was Folsom and the event was the Folsom Pioneer Festival parade Sunday afternoon. Reception by the audience was enthusiastic - the officials awarded the band first place trophy - and the band members were just as happy about the whole thing.
Pipers included Ken Tadlock, Tank Henry, Dick Marquette, Bill Jameson, Peter Linke and Gerry Smith.
Drummers included Dave Smith, Ken Smith, Jim Monson and Jim Ellis.
A temporary uniform was worn consisting of kilts and khaki shirts with shoulder patches. The drummers wore khaki pants with spats. The effect, while not as outstanding as our uniforms will someday be, was still quite satisfactory. (end article). [Contributed by Bill Jamison]
Tartan: Ancient McNeil
The Diablo Boys Pipe Band started in Concord CA, under the leadership of Bill McNeil 1968 or 1969 and lasted until our final farewell performance at a Burns dinner in January 1977. At some point mid-way we changed our name to the Diablo Highlanders to accommodate our lovely female member Shauna McFadden when she joined us. [Contributed by Jeff Campbell ]
I played snare drum in the group for many years. I believe the plaid was Ancient McNeil, as Bill McNeil started the band. Some memorable gigs included The Santa Rosa games and the Dunsmuir House games in Oakland, where the band did well and actually fielded a second band. We did our share of parades and my first performance was playing for an opening of a store at the Walnut Creek Mall. I was in the 6th grade in 1972. We rehearsed up at an old Boy Scout shack behind Acalanes High School in Lafayette, CA. It was a family as all bands tend to be, and we had a great run. I got to study with some of the biggest names in Scottish drumming and treasure my time and friendship with all those crazy cats and kitties. [Contributed by Dave Meade]
The Glenfinnan Pipe Band
Tartan: Hunting Chisolm
Ex SF Boy Scout and Prince Charles piper Hugh Kelly started the Glenfinnan and drew a few Culloden players as well as some old friends in the area. The band wore Hunting Chisolm and Green tweed day jackets with diced tan balmorals to contain our afros...we looked sharp! I think the band was aimed at Grade 4, but an influx of talent arrived when City of S.F. slowly unraveled, and we immediately went to grade 3 with aspirations of moving further up to Grade 2. The band lasted for about three years in total, with a few changes in personnel before morphing into Park Street Bridge. At least we practiced in a hall that had a beer vending machine for 25 cents! [by John Biggar]
Irish Heritage Pipe Band
The Irish Heritage Pipe band was founded in 1982 By W.J. Driscoll, John Mahoney, and Noreen Brosnan, former members of the Irish Pipers of San Francisco. The focus of the band was to train young pipers. Pipe Majors included Bill Driscoll, Mike LeBoeuf, and Jay Langlois.
Irish Tradition Pipe Band
The Irish Tradition Pipe Band was founded in 2000 by Pipe Major Bill Driscoll. Although band membership was not limited to those of Irish descent, the musical repertory, other than competition requirements, is almost entirely devoted to the traditional tunes of Ireland. [by Bill Driscoll]
Lockheed LERA Pipe Band
1960 - 1976
Tartan: Royal Canadian Air Force
The Band was formed as an employees activity with the Title Lockheed LERA Pipe Band. The band was one of many organizations at that time. The LERA meaning the Lockheed Employee Recreation Association (Ski club, Motorcycle club, etc., and each group filed monthly reports and financial records with the company. The major forces in the formation of the Pipe Band were a gentleman named Russ Scholl. I think a Chuck Banks was possibly the first Pipe Major. They eventually brought Calvin on Board under the Presidency of J. Stanley Patterson. Stan was also instrumental in the growth of the PCPBA and served as President for many years. He is now retired and lives in Carmel. We still remain in contact and see each other from time to time. [by Ozzie Reid]
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Calvin Biggar served as Pipe Major until 1966. Thomas Kinnear was Pipe Major until 1967. Ozzie Reid was Pipe Major from 1967 to 1976. After 1976, due to an IRS ruling, the Lockheed Pipe Band disassociated itself from Lockheed and turned into the Dunvegan Pipe Band with Ozzie Reid as Pipe Major. [by Phil Lenihan]
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Re: the picture of the three kilted characters....this was taken at Santa Rosa and I am in company of Stan Patterson who was the President of the band and later the guiding force for years of the fledgling PCPBA later renamed the WUSPBA. Calvin Biggar was the Pipe Major followed by Tom Kinnear and I came along in 1968. In the early sixties they had a Grade 1 and a Grade 2 band. John MacPhee headed the Grade 2 if I'm not mistaken. The drum corps at my ascension ( I came on board as instructor and kept my affiliations with the Scots alive for competition. I finally was convinced to take the reins and I've been holding on for grim death ever since): The lead stroke of that era was Bud Maxwell and he had quite a top notch corps which included John Biggar the second, Eddie Grant, and a slew of young teenagers; Mark Clark on Bass and Al (Clutch) Sutton and Al Cardenas on tenor. Gloria Cardenas came along later since there was an rule forbidding female members at that time. We took care to eliminate this with my rise to "power". The band was very active during the sixties and seventies with focus on Competition and show time. I developed a new pipe section with Stu MacAlpine as Pipe Sergeant. Students soon found their way into the competing band and the present band (Dunvegan Pipe Band) still has members from that influx of youth. [by Ozzie Reid]
Park Street Bridge Pipe Band
Tartan: Hunting Chisholm
Park Street Bridge was an off shoot of Culloden Mor with Helen Niven Gladden as Pipe Major and her husband Tim at lead stroke. They met in Alameda. A really good band remained basically unchanged: John Biggar, "Clutch" Sutton, Doug Chapin, Helen and Tim, Art Krapp, Ken Sutherland come to mind. [by Ozzie Reid]
Park Street Bridge was a refinement of the Glenfinnan Pipe Band, and we wore those uniforms. Kilt was Hunting Chisolm. Personnel was the mostly Glenfinnan, with Helen Gladden as PM and husband Tim as DS. [by John Biggar]
Piedmont High School Pipe Band
Tartan: Royal Stewart
Piedmont High School had a pipe band for years. It was going strong in the 1950's and produced some very good players: Vic Biswell, PMaj of the 6th Army Pipe Band for a couple of years and later the Caledonian Pipe Band; and Clayton Campbell who played tenor with the Irish Band and was one of the original founders of the Black Ravens (the meeting to organize the band was held in his living room.) [by Rick Coffee]
The Piedmont High School Pipe Band was headed by a gym teacher "Brick" Johnson. He was not a distinguished piper, but I do remember him as a terror of discipline whose favorite address to the youth always began with he phrase : "Welllllll Sonnnnny!!" In the background Brick was supported by two old Scots who hung out (worked) in the carpenters shop and did building maintenance: John Brown (Glasgow ) and Fred MacLellan from Loch Boisedale in South Uist. Fred was from a long line of fine pipers and he and I spent a lot of time chatting about the history and the music especially the Gaelic influence. He had a great influence in my understanding and love of the music especially Gaelic Airs.
The band was most limited and we in the 6th Army Pipe Band pitched in to swell the ranks for Friday night football games when we were in the Presidio and not travelling. That band did produce a few real names that are still remembered. Definitely Vic Biswell, taught by Fred MacLellan, who became Pipe Major of the 6th Army and later the Caledonian Club Pipe Band renamed the City of San Francisco. Curt Sisco who played with the City and still resides in LA, and Don Machen who suffered a rebirth in the late 70s at the Intermountain Piping School that I headed in Fort Collins Colorado. Don headed up a band in Albuquerque and is still active. Clayton Campbell was a tenor drummer with the City and became an August member of the Oakland Police Dept and still lives in the East Bay. [by Ozzie Reid]
Royal Canadian Legion Pipe Band - San Jose
Tartan: 1) Grey/Hunting MacPherson
2) Nova Scotia
San Francisco Boy Scout Pipe Band
Tartan: Royal Stewart [pipers], Hunting Stewart [drummers]
Troop 90 Highlanders was sponsored by St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 420 29th Ave, San Francisco. In 1962 the band consisted of Robert Thompson (Drum Major), Francis Lee Fong, David Benjamin, Ed Lee Fong, Frank Gee, Mike Krisan, John Rodriguez, and George Mason. [SF Call]
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Two more names I thought of but forgot to include re the Boy Scouts: Ed. Rodriguez, Scoutmaster, and father to all the kids. A truly great human who really cared about the kids, No player but gave of himself by the bucket load. He pronounced his name Rodregay. Reuben Santos who came out of the Scouts and then to Prince Charles and eventually Culloden Moor/Park Street Bridge/Alameda Co. Sheriffs. A nice player and a nicer chap. He lives and works in the So East US. [By Ozzie Reid]
San Francisco Police Pipe Band
Tartan: Prince Charles Edward Stuart
The SF Police Pipe Band was comprised of all duty policeman. I gave them a hand teaching. John Patterson and I gave up their Saturday mornings to work with the band at the Gun Range on Lake Merced. They got to the point of being a decent parade band with George Effisimo in Pipe Major slot. Others that come to mind were Jack Jordan (Brother of Chief Frank), Jerry D'Arcy, the Grey Brothers Jim and Larry, Cliff Watts and Bob Hankins. Bob was quite a good piper and married the daughter of Pipe Major Donald Shaw Ramsay (Morag). The kilts were purchased through Donald and the Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan was selected to emulate the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band (now Lothian and Borders). The band unfortunately was doomed due to their penchant for politics and their desire to use the band as a wedge for "practice " time and time off for events!! Fun years but fraught with ultimate chaos. [by Ozzie Reid]
San Jose Pipe Band
Canadian Vets Program Hayward Aug 22, 1938
Memorial Day parade 5/30/1940 San Jose
Pageant for Canadian Vets Hayward Oct 12, 1940 "San Jose Pipe Band in full regalia"
Armistice Day Parade 11/11/1940 San Jose (Other marching bands: SCU, East San Jose, Chinese School Band. Drum & Bugle Corps: San Jose NSGW No 22, Peter Burnett Jr High School, Red Devils, San Jose Post 89 American Legion.
Sonoma County Sheriff's Department Bagpipe Band
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department Bagpipe Band was created around 1970. The idea for the band started with a conversation between Sergeant John Young, Sergeant Fred Baird, and Dispatcher Bill Heath. After the initial conversation, they contacted members of the Bluebonnets (a local pipe band made up of private citizens) to discuss merging their band with a new Sheriff’s Department band. Forces were joined and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department Bagpipe Band was born. Civilian band members were sworn in as special deputies. The band uniform consisted of a Sheriff’s Department uniform shirt and badge, a bonnet and kilt. The band played at ceremonial functions, department funerals, and marched in many parades. The band was in existence for over 20 years. [by www.sonomasheriff.org]
My father is Sergeant John Young one of the pipers in the SCSO band. I have a picture of them marching in the Apple Blossom Parade in Sebastopol circa 1971-72 (below) My father is the second one in (with eyes closed). In front of him is Mac McDougall. The guy on the bass drum is named "Chet." I've forgotten all of the others. I am also a Sergeant at the SCSO. My father also played in the San Francisco Police Pipe Band. [by Kevin Young]
The Wallace Guard was the pipe band lead by Pipe Major Dick Boyd.
NOTE: Historical research reveals that, prior to the recent pipe band, the Wallace Guard, Second Brigade was a California State Militia mustered 28 July 1855 and disbanded on or before 1860. The unit was known for its Highland dress and the providing of elaborate entertainment at social functions and the staging of a grand ball at the International Hotel. On 3 June 1856, the Wallace Guard and other State Militia units refused to take arms and fire upon the citizens of San Francisco by a proclamation by Governor Johnson. Johnson declared that a state of insurrection existed in San Francisco and that all companies report to MGen William T Sherman. The unit temporarily disbanded as a result. The unit also took part in the Atlantic Cable laying ceremony in September 1858
Yuba College Highland Band
I started with the band in the Fall of 1956 as a beginner piper. I started playing with them in January of 1957. I then played through to my graduation from Yuba in June of 1958. After graduating from Yuba, I went to Fresno State college. I would go back home to visit my folks and do the gigs. I played with the band at the Junior Rose Bowl parade in the Fall of 1957 through 1959. The band played in the massed bands at the 95th Annual Scottish Gathering and Games September 4, 1960 at the Petaluma Fair Grounds. Fran and I attended this and I played with the band. This was the final weekend of our honeymoon. The band wore the McLeod tartan and played Hardie pipes. When I started with the band Mr. Butler was our faculty sponsor. He also played the pipes. My second year at Yuba Mr. Butler went on a one year Sabbatical and we had Victor Biswell as our PM. I really learned a lot about playing the pipes from Victor.
According to an article in the Sacramento Bee Valley Leisure section, for December 4, 1960, the band was seven years old - that would make the first year as 1954. Their fifth appearance at the Pasadena Jr. Rose Bowl Parade was Dec 11th, 1960. The Band's first teacher was Sergeant Andrew McKay from Beale Air force Base, A native of Aberdeen, Scotland. [by Bill Jamison]
Yuba College Highland Band
1954 - 1964
Yuba College Highland Band was organized in 1954 by faculty member Donald Butler with the three-fold purpose of spreading the college name, promoting school spirit, and operating as a service organization. Since that time, in addition to half-time performances at football and basketball games, the band has traveled the length and breadth of California and into Nevada to participate in parades, fairs, festivals and charity events. The Highlanders varied talents include marching maneuvers, piping concerts and dancing performances.
Mr. Butler got the idea for the Yuba College pipe band when doing graduate work at the University of Washington, he saw Canadian bagpipe units perform. With guarded optimism, Mr. Butler began his search for a piping master. Luckily, Sergeant Andrew McKay, a native of Aberdeen, Scotland, had been assigned to Beale Air Force Base. When Sergeant McKay volunteered his services, the band was underway. Because piping is a skill not quickly mastered, Mr. Butler chose 16 youths – college freshmen and seniors from neighboring high schools – for the first band members. Dancers were added in 1956.