Ashland Kilty Band Member Recalls Early Days

Date: 

Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017

Author: 

Maryann Mason

Episode: 

3 251

An original member of the Ashland Highland Kilty Band, Gerald Gunter, had some fond memories of the early days.

At one of the band’s first performances, everyone played “Cock of the North,” except for one musician who played “Marching Through Georgia.”  Because the band was playing on a balcony under a low ceiling, the music was so loud no one noticed.

The band has a long history today of performing at parades, benefits, concerts, conventions, and even a Boy Scout rally.  They learned early on that playing at the Rogue River Rooster Crow competition dampened the crowing.  The Oregon Shakespeare Festival used the pipers to lead playgoers walking from the Feast of Will in Lithia Park to the Elizabethan Theater. 

Pipes and kilts were first used for the dedication of Medford’s Jackson County Courthouse.  One historic mistake with the pipes came with the directions, “season the bags with treacle,” a gooey, syrupy, wax-like substance used to seal the inside of leather bags.  Several band members made their own mix of molasses and cow feed, which rotted the bags. 

They resourcefully replaced the ruined bags with old truck tubes.

Source: O'Harra, Marjorie. Unknown Title. Mail Tribune [Medford, Ore.]. [clipping in Vertical File, Southern Oregon Historical Research Library.]

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