A rich part of the history of the Royal Canadian Legion has been its pipe bands. Below are a brief description and some images from two of the Legion pipe bands that used to exist in the Bay Area.
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]
ROYAL CANADIAN LEGION PIPE BAND – SAN JOSE
Tartan: 1) Grey/Hunting MacPherson
2) Nova Scotia
Originally available from https://siliconvalleypipeband.org/read-me