The Riverview High School Kiltie Band, based in Sarasota, Florida, is a nationally recognized Scotish Pipe & Drum Marching Band considered by many as the "Best Band in the Land". Click here to return to RHS Kiltie Band home page.

The Riverview High School Kiltie Band, based in Sarasota, Florida, is a nationally recognized Scotish Pipe & Drum Marching Band considered by many as the "Best Band in the Land". Click here to return to RHS Kiltie Band home page.
Mark Spreen, Director of Music · Norm Vagn, Director of Bands

The Riverview High School Kiltie Band, based in Sarasota, Florida, is a nationally recognized Scotish Pipe & Drum Marching Band considered by many as the "Best Band in the Land". Click here to return to RHS Kiltie Band home page.




A Tradition of Excellence

The 2006-2007 Riverview High School Kiltie Band operates under the tutelage of Director of Bands Mark Spreen and Associate Director of Bands Norm Vagn. The band consists of over 250 musicians, bagpipers, dancers and color guard. The "Kiltie Band", as it is locally known, is a great example of the blending of music, eurhythmic education, school spirit and civic pride, in combination with a highly dedicated group of teachers, students parents and supporters.

The selection of the Kiltie Band uniform links the organization to the history of Sarasota. Local citizens suggested that the uniform should reflect Sarasota’s Scottish heritage. A look at our area’s history reveals that the founding of Sarasota was conceived in Scotland by officials of the Florida Mortgage and Investment Co., Ltd. This was the British group that purchased about 50,000 acres in this region.

The town plat was drawn in Edinburgh, Scotland and the first plots of land were sold in Scotland and England in the summer of 1885. A colony of 68 men, women and children, mostly from Scotland, sailed into Sarasota Bay on December 28, 1885 and helped establish what is now the city of Sarasota. The McDonald dress, adopted from the clan background of some of the first settlers, is bright maroon and white with blue and other colors. This tartan was selected for the Riverview Band, as was the traditional Scottish Kilt. British bright royal scarlet was selected for the traditional battle jacket. This is the same uniform worn by current and traditional Scottish regiments.

Initial membership in the Kiltie band totaled only 58 members. One of their first major accomplishments was to attend the Orange Bowl Parade on December 31, 1961. Later, the Orange Bowl Committee sent a letter to the band director indicating that the Kilties were one of the most popular bands in the parade. They participated again in that parade in December 1970 and 1978.

Since then, the band has had opportunities to experience many varied and interesting performances, including: The Apple Blossom Festival in Virginia; Cotton Carnival in Memphis, TN; Naval School of Music in Bethesda, MD; Southeastern Band Festival in Troy, AL; Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago, IL; American Bandmasters Association Festival; Six Flags over Georgia in Atlanta; A.B.A. Convention in Sarasota; N.B.A. Convention in Knoxville, TN; Cotton Bowl in Dallas, TX; DeSoto Pageant in Bradenton; Edison Parade of Light in Ft. Myers; Sarasota Pageant Parade in Sarasota; Swamp Buggy Days in Naples, FL; St. Petersburg Festival of States.

The Kilties performed in New York City's Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1960, 1980, 1996, and 2004. The Kilties also performed in the 1985 Presidential Inaugural Parade; Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade in 1969, 1980 and 1987; the Phoenix Fiesta Bowl Parades in 1990 and 1994, the 1999 Florida Governors Inaugurational Parade and the Hollywood Christmas Parade in 2000.

The Kilties also appeared in the French film, Seven Sundays in 1994. The Kilties have earned 47 consecutive “Superior” ratings in the Florida Bandmasters Association District Marching Festival, an unprecedented accomplishment.

In addition to these domestic performances, the Kilties have traveled and performed in Scotland, England, France, and Germany. They also participated in the 1989 St. Patrick’s Day Parades in Dublin and Bray, Ireland. During that trip, they marched in an international parade competition in Limerick, Ireland, for which they won top honors. The band has received many requests to perform in China, Paris, London, and Hawaii.

Another great accomplishment occurred when the Kiltie Pipe and Drum Grade 5 Band was awarded "Championship Supreme Standing" in the State of Florida in 1997-98 and 1998-99.

Some of the band's more recent accomplishments include successful repeat appearances by the band's Wind Ensemble at the Smoky Mountain Music Festival in Gatlinburg, TN, in the Spring of 1998, 2000, 2002 and most recently in 2004, where they placed first. The Wind Ensemble also attended the Florida Bandmasters Association State Festival in 2002. To their credit, they have received "Superior" ratings at the Florida Bandmasters Association State Music Performance Assessment for the past six years.

The Riverview High School band program has been awarded the prestigious Otto J. Kraushaar Award for four years, for receiving straight "Superior" ratings all year in all Florida Bandmaster Festivals.

During the 2002-2003 season, the Kilties earned “Superior” ratings in the Florida Bandmasters Association District Marching Festival for the 43rd consecutive year, an unprecedented accomplishment. The Music Department also encourages individual participation at District, State and National music festivals.

The Kilties continue their “Tradition of Excellence” by committing to the customary Florida Bandmasters activities in the Sarasota Community. During any given season, the band may play more than forty local performances, including Downtown Association Christmas Parade; Sousa Concert; Winter Concert; Spring Concert at the Van Wezel, and Jazz in the Park at Phillipi Estate. The Jazz Band performed at the Jazz Club of Sarasota Swing Dance and countless Bagpipe and Highland Dance performances.

Over the years, these varied events have made the ”World Famous Kiltie Band” sought after as a popular performing group both in the United States and abroad.

The Riverview High School Band program includes the Kiltie Band, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Varsity Band, Concert Band, Full Orchestra, Jazz Ensemble, Eurhythmies/Color Guard, Indoor Guard, Bagpipes/Instrumental Techniques, Highland/Jazz Dance, Regimental Band/Ceremonial Band, “Jam Squad”, Percussion Class, Percussion Ensemble, Brass Choirs and Woodwind Choir.

The RHS Band program is an enriching educational experience for each student.  The high academic achievement of band members is proof that music education is integral to a complete academic experience. Each year’s group of band members strives to continue the tradition of Riverview's long standing history of excellence.  

A few times each year, the Kiltie band performs their halftime show after the football game. Whenever this occurs, nearly every spectator can be found staying in their seat for the show, regardless of the outcome of the game.

If you like the sound of a finely tuned marching pipe and drum band, then you owe it to yourself to attend one of the Riverview High School football games, or any other scheduled Kiltie performance, and hear those Kilties play. It's definitely worth the trip!¯

Varsity Football Schedule

Riverview High School
1 Ram Way
Sarasota, FL 34240
Linda Nook

Dr. Paul Gallagher

IB Director

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Updated: 10/04/2010

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