Joe and Kathy Talbot Coleman
Jim and Sandy Britcher
The Kiltie Band of York
"The Band is a Family"
By: Mike Worman
Based on an interview with Sandy Britcher, the wife of former Pipe Major Jim Britcher
Over the years, the Kiltie Band has had numerous members and several pipe majors. But what is sometimes overlooked are the families of the pipers and drummers who often participate in and support appearances and social functions of the band but, perhaps more importantly have tolerated frequent absences from home and the sounds of pipes emanating from the basement as new tunes are learned.
You might say that Jim Bridger, former Kiltie pipe major was destined to be a piper. He was born in 1946, and from his back porch he could hear the skirling of the pipes a few houses away from the home of Colonel Yost, the founding father of the band. Jim wondered what the fuss was about. His interest grew and he soon decided to take up the pipes himself.
While Jim would practice with the band, he couldn’t become a member at that time because band by-laws required that band members be military veterans. That changed after Jim was discharged from the military in 1974 when he became a member of the band that, according to his wife Sandy, became the passion of his life.
In fact, when Jim proposed to Sandy, he told her that the band "would always come first". She married him anyway and was one of the band’s biggest fans. As Sandy put it recently, "The band was like family".
And this is still the case today with several married couples in the band as well as the families and friends of band members. And like all good families, members are highly supportive of each other in their efforts to be better musicians.