In the late 18th century, many immigrants from Scotland and Ireland arrived in America. Fleeing economic and religious persecution and pursuing the promise of land and jobs, these energetic workers, strove to maintain their culture in the "new land." Early immigrants found jobs plentiful in the cities. Free from the persecution left behind, their culture flourished. But as the cities became overwhelmed with floods of immigrants and as factories reduced the number of workers required in the manufacturing process, the job markets dried up. No longer welcomed in the cities of New York and Chicago, later immigrants sought work in rural America. Many Scottish immigrants found work in the coal mines of Southern Illinois. These immigrants brought with them their bagpipes. Bagpipe music often signaled the beginning and end of a hard work day in the coal mines. As more Scots settled in the Southern Illinois, some began working in agriculture related occupations and moved into Edwards, Wayne, Wabash and Lawrence counties. Bringing their Scottish heritage and of course their beloved pipes. The bagpipe is a durable instrument, but the reeds are not. While a set of bagpipes may be handed down from generation to generation, the sons of Scottish immigrants found it difficult to obtain reeds. The bagpipe, once regularly heard in Southern Illinois, was rarely heard here in the mid-1900's. A settlement of Scots in Evansville, fought hard to maintain their Scottish culture and kept bagpipe music alive in this area.
In 1986, Wabash County Coroner Robert Cunningham, who has roots in Scotland, formed the Kyilindi Pipes & Drums. Beginning with 9 pipers and 1 drummer, Kyilindi Pipes & Drums has grown to 25 pipers and 5 drummers. The Kyilindi name was formed from the names of the states of the original members, Kentucky (Ky), Illinois (il), and Indiana (indi), Kyilindi Pipes & Drums promotes the public appreciation and playing of pipes and drums through fellowship, public performances, and continuous development of skills.
Kyilindi has an active ongoing educational program providing musical workshops to band members and non-members alike at Wabash Valley College, in Mt. Carmel, IL every semester. The band is made up of people of all ages, walks of life, and national descent bound by a common love for the thrilling music of Highland bagpipe and drum. Kyilindi performs several dozen times a year throughout the Tri-State for a variety of events and practices weekly in order to maintain and improve its standard of performance. A high communal spirit, endless good times, and above all, the joys of achievement are the reward of hours of dedicated practice. New members are always welcome; contact Pipe Major Robert Cunningham, Phone: 618-299-2153, or e-mail: Mike Cunningham.

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