In 1918, Colonel Richard F. Yost was a Military Police Sergeant with the American Third Army stationed in Genoa, Italy. While directing traffic, he heard the skirl of bagpipes, and presently a Pipe Band came into view, while on its way to entertain troops in a convalescent hospital. The sound of the Pipes struck a responsive chord in him and he vowed if he returned home safely, he would start such a band.
It took ten years, but when White Rose VFW Post 556, of which he was a member, lost it's drum corps, the Colonel proposed forming a pipe band. The idea was accepted by the member of the post, even though there wasn't a Scot in the post, or a set of bagpipes in the City of York. With the help of equipment and uniforms purchased by the Colonel, a piping instructor from Philadelphia, and a lot of hard work, The Kiltie Band of York was able to make it's first public appearance in the Armistice Day Parade (now Veteran's Day), November 11, 1928.
For the next eight years, the band was very busy with VFW affairs and improving their musical skills, and in 1936, the band was adopted by the St. Andrews Society of Baltimore to be it's official pipe band. Since that time, the band has also named the official marching band of the City of York, the St. Andrews Society of the Eastern Shore, the Hartford Highland Society, and the Association of Susquehanna Scots.
Through its long and storied history, The Kiltie Band of York has played for three World's Fairs: Chicago, New York and San Francisco. On an earlier western tour, they played in Portland, Denver, Salt Lake, Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia. In 1938, the band won the Band Championship at the Gettysburg Encampment during the 75th Blue and Grey Reunion. They have been the host band at Grandfather Mountain in 1967 and 1968, and were featured in the 1974 Canadian Exposition in Toronto.
The band has played at the White House Park in 1938, and again in 1970. The Philadelphia Revolutionary Bi-centennial Parade in 1975. A global celebration of Pipes and Drums, known as "Pipefest", held in New York City in 2001, with Sir Sean Connery as the Grand Marshal. The occasion was attended by the band again in 2011, where the bands were massed on the flight deck of the USS Intrepid (CVA-11) i.n New York Harbor
Today, The Kiltie Band of York is recognized as one of the oldest continuous pipe bands in the country, boasting approximately thirty members from the York - Lancaster - Harrisburg area. They continue to participate in about 20 parades and events annuall throughout the Mid-
Atlantic region. Some of the more notable performances include the York and Baltimore St. Patrick's Day Parades, Winchester (VA) Apple Blossom Grand Feature Parade, the Princeton University Alumni Association P-Rade Reunion, Towson Maryland Fourth of July, and the Alexandria Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, in Alexandria Virginia.
The band has also performed on stage with some of the most internationally prestigious artists in the realms of Celtic, Irish and Scottish music, including Gaelic Storm, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, and The Chieftains with Paddy Moloney.
The band is organized as a non-profit charitable [501(c)3] corporation, to preserve the music and history of Scotland, and to pass that heritage to generations to come. While it's member receive no pay for performing, all uniforms, as well as drums, are issued to members free of charge. Students enjoy free piping or drumming lessons and the opportunity for interest-free financing for purchasing pipes.
The band is presently under the direction of Pipe Major Christine McEachern. Others who have held this honorable position include: Colonel Yost, James Ayres, Richard Wagner, Gladstone "Blackie" Wales, Donald Crawford, Robert Davidson, James C. Britcher, Donna Singley.