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British Columbia, Canada
Kimberley Pipe Band


On the evening of the 19th May I visited with Dave Ekskog, Drum Major of the Kimberley Pipe Band and he kindly entertained me and provided some history of the band from a previous publication that had been done around 1976 or so.


The history of the Kimberley Pipe Band began fifty years ago with the arrival of two brothers to a small mining town in the East Kootenay.

Angus Scott came to Kimberley in 1926 to work for the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company, now known as Cominco. In the following year Angus and his brother Hamish, along with a small group of enthusiastic pipers and drummers, established the Kimberley Pipe Band.

With Angus Scott as Pipe Major, the band made its first public appearance in the Kimberley Day parade on July 1, 1927. Marching with the Pipe Major were Dick Burke, Jim Ewin, Hugh Fraser, Alex Fergus, Gordie Taylor and Hamish Scott.

In the early years, the band performed mostly in Kimberley and in the Kootenays, but in 1936 they were to take part in one of the most important events in the history of sports-conscious Kimberley.

In that year, 1936, the Pipe Band accompanied the Kimberley Dynamiters to Calgary were the hometown hockey team won the Western Finals, enroute to the prestigious Allen Cup. It was the first of many momentous occasions where the talents of the band would be displayed.

A bus, driven by Walter Millar (who later started Millar and Brown Freight lines), was used for the bandís out-oftown trips, and any extra seats were quickly filled with fans eager to accompany them.

A big lift was given the band in 1937 when mine superintendent, Bill Lindsay, an ardent supporter, offered his assistance.

Advertisements for pipers were sent to the coast and prairie papers and soon the band had grown with Alex Oliphant, Malcolm Morrison, Angus McLellan, Alan Graham, James MacDonald, Dougie Smith and Archie Tait. The band was further augmented by side drummer Dave Gold and Bob Davidson. Alex Oliphant assumed the role of Pipe Major for a short while when he first arrived in Kimberley but relinquished command to Angus after approximately one year.

Along with the drive for members there was also fund raising going on and in the spring of 1938 orders were sent to Lauries of Glasgow for eleven uniforms at the cost of $110.00 each. That spring two more pipers joined the band, namely Jack Stout and Don Manson (latter was killed in action in World War 2).

In 1939, with the outbreak of the second World War, some band members enlisted to fight for their country but the pipe band continued to flourish back home in Kimberley under Pipe Major Alan Graham.

Gordon Stewart joined the band in 1940 and in 1943 Mrs. Nessie Oliphant, an accomplished dancer and piper, became Pipe Major when business pressures forced Alan Graham to step down. Nessie did a very capable job as Pipe Major but resigned on V-J day "because it was a manís band".

At warís end in 1945, the Scott brothers returned to Kimberley and Angus again became Pipe Major. During the following year Hamish assumed command from his brother and continued as Pipe Major until 1968 when poor health forced him to retire as an active member. One of the highlights of Hamishís tenure as Pipe Major was winning a cup for the band at competitions in Nelson in 1954.

The efforts and dedication of the Scott brothers and other pipe band members were not forgetten. In 1955, Angus died, a small band in Coeur díAlene, Idaho chose to honor the Kimberley band by calling themselves the "Angus Scott Pipe Band." Many of those Idaho pipers were taught by Kimberley members and it is a tribute that the "Angus Scott Pipe Band" is still active today.

Young Jim Warriner, later to become Pipe Major, became a member in 1957 and marched in his first parade in a Junior Forest Warden shirt and pants. A kilt and full status as a piper were later bestowed on Jim when the band decided he could keep up to their marching time.

During the next few years membership in the Kimberley Pipe Band dropped to three pipers and two drummers. But the band was soon on the upswing again with the addition of Dave Ekskog, Bill Walkley, Gordon Mattson, Richard Collett, Gerry Ordway and Don Tait.

Enthusiasm was riding high and another fund-raising campaign was underway. By this time the cost of new uniforms had risen to $260 each, but with the help of organizer and supporter Richard Walkely, the band was re-outfitted in 1967.

The band continued to travel throughout the Kootenays playing and marching in parades, at Robbie Burnsí celebrations, and Remembrance Day services under the leadership of Gordon Stewart, who became Pipe Major in 1968.

An exciting honour came to the pipe band in 1971 when the Royal Family made a visit to the East Kootenay.

Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Anne made a stop at Fort Steele Historic Park, and it was there that the 13-member Kimberley Pipe Band, under the capable direction of Gordon Stewart, performed for royalty.

By the next year, Gordy, after 31 years of enthusiastic membership, decided to step down as Pipe Major and command was turned over to Jim Warriner.

The next few years were notable for the auspicious occasions at which the band performed.

In 1974 members played at Expo Ď74, a world exposition held in Spokane, Washington, and one year later were playing at another American function. This time it was the dedication of the Libby Dam in Montana and both U.S. President Gerald Ford and Canadian Minister of Energy, Mines, and Resources Donald MacDonald, were present. The band also performed for Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau, when he visited the Kootenays.

A 47 year reunion was staged in 1974 as a preview of the 50 year celebration scheduled for 1977.

When 1976 rolled around, the pipe band started looking toward 1977 and its golden anniversary. A 50th anniversary committee was struck with Ray McNiven as chairman and plans were underway for a giant tattoo and ceildh to mark the milestone.

After 49 years of successful and memorable operation, the band was incorporated and is now a legal entity.

The Kimberley Pipe Band, one of a handful of pipe bands in the Interior of British Columbia, has provided pleasure to many members and thousands of people during the 50-year history.

It is the hope of present band members that their pipe band will continue to flourish and that support will be preserved during the next 50 years-and kr long after.


And here are some pictures from the book...


A letter from Pierre Elliott Trudeau and the badge of the Kimberley Pipe Band


And finally a couple of pages from the book

I also got the opportunity to take a few pictures while with Dave and his wife Sharron...


The first hint as you arrive at Dave's house if the sticker on the back window of his vehicle. And here is a picture of Dave Ekskog (who is of Swedish descent) with piping pictures on the wall behind

 
And a very special picture they have on the wall


And you can also see the Highland Dancers

On the 22nd May I got the opportunity to take some pictures of the current band at Creston where they were marching in the Blossom Festival...


Here is Dave Eksgog. Pipe Major


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