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As It Was: Ashland Kilty Band Member Recalls Early Days

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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Maryann Mason has taught history and English in the U.S. Midwest and Northwest, and Bolivia. She has written history spots for local public radio, interviewed mystery writers for RVTV Noir, and edited personal and family histories.  Her poetry has appeared in Sweet Annie & Sweet Pea Review (1999), Rain Magazine (2007), and The Third Reader, an online Journal of Literary Fiction and Poetry. In 2008 she published her first chapbook, Ravelings.  She organized a History Day for Southern Oregon.