In 1931, The Stock Yard Kilty Band had its ﬁrst split. Some members broke off and formed a new band, using the SYKB’s old name, The Chicago Highlanders, which is still in existence today. Although the band was registered as the Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band,
the inventory records were never changed from Chicago Highlanders. Because of this, a court ruling said that all parties could keep the uniforms issued to them.
Band Photo 1930
The Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band, one of the oldest continuous pipe bands in the United States, was formed in 1921 by brothers Robert and James Sim. The Sim brothers came from a piping family in Aberdeen, Scotland, where their father made bagpipes. Both served in World War I; Bob with the 4th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders and Jim, who enlisted at 13, with the Royal Engineers Pipe Band and later with the 51st Highland Division.
After coming to Chicago, Bob Sim joined the Canadian Kilties Pipe Band, which has since gone out of existence. In 1921, Sim decided to form his own pipe band and after obtaining uniforms from ex-servicemen of the British Legion, Bob and his brother organized the British Legion Pipe Band. The Bands ﬁrst performance was the Decoration Day Parade in 1922 down Michigan Avenue. The band consisted of four pipers, two sides, and a bass drummer.
pipe and drum students. Dave maintained the band’s tradition with his disciplined teaching style, a style now in the hands of the current Pipe Major, Matt McKee.
In 1933, the Stock Yard Kilty Band performed at the Century of Progress World’s Fair in Chicago. On May 19, 1934, the band lost all of its equipment in the Great Stock Yards Fire. The Legion bought the band new drums and the band raised funds for new uniforms. It was at this time that the band adopted the Buchanan tartan
bagpipe band in the history of the American Legion. During this time the band traveled with the legion to Philadelphia, Louisville, Detroit, Davenport, as well as all across Illinois. Eventually the band made its home in the Stock Yard Inn where it was given a dedicated practice hall. The band performed often at the Inn and the International Amphitheater and led a parade of prize winning steers every year at the International Live Stock Exposition until the close of the Chicago Stock Yards.
British Legion Pipe Band photographed in Harvey, IL in 1923
The Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band has over nine decades of piping history as a foundation. Efforts over that time have had a tremendous inﬂuence on the pipe band community not only in the Midwest and across this great nation. We are proud to still call the South Side
our home: each year the SYKB is ﬁrst unit to march down Western Avenue in Beverly’s famous South Side Irish Parade—a ﬁtting celebration for a band of families. Sing our song loud and proud: There is Power! POWER! Power! POWER! Wonder Working Power in the Band... in the Band!
Today the band continues the tradition which honors its military heritage, striving for excellence in the art of pipe and drum music. The Stock Yard Kilty Band has maintained quality level of play throughout its history by continuously bringing new blood into the band. From 1975 until 2003, Pipe Major Dave McKee ﬁlled the band’s ranks with his accomplished
Organized in 1921 by Pipe Major Robert H. Sim
Have a story, photos or memorabilia to share? Contribute to the SYKB tradition. Contact band historian at email firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail Stock Yard Kilty Band, 9611 S Winchester Ave, Chicago IL 60643.
In 1925, the Chicago Stock Yard American Legion Post #333 was organized and was looking for a musical unit. The band became afﬁliated with the Stock Yard Post and changed its name to The Chicago Stock Yard Kilty Band. The band practiced at the old Boys and Girls Club at the stock yards and was the ﬁrst