The EUSPBA Circle of Honor
The Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Circle of Honor was created in order to focus particular attention on a select group of individuals chosen by the Executive Committee.
These special persons, whether now living or dead, represent the highest ideals of our association as demonstrated by their service and commitment, which extends far beyond that expected in a volunteer-based organization.
It is with great pride in their accomplishments, with esteem, and affection that they are presented and remembered in this fashion.
George started off at age 8 in the BB's (Boys Brigade) in
Bishopbriggs, Scotland as a side drummer. Due to lack of piping students
in the band he changed over to learning pipes. During this time period
his father, David Duncan Bell, approached a young Bob Hardie to become
the instructor of a local men's club pipe band, the Kenmure Men's Own
Pipe Band. Hardies' father was a friend of D Bell's and also in the
club. Starting in 1936 George took lessons from Bob and helped with the
shop till he left in 1951. He was Hardies only pupil during this time
frame, some 15 years. The Kenmure band went on to win numerous
Championships in grade 2.
During the war George was a coal miner, later moving into the lab to do
metallurgy. This would become his career after moving to the States.
He was married to Shirley I. Morrison in 1953 after 2 years service in
the Marines. They had 6 children, Duncan, James, Gordon,
Donald, George, and Laurie Ann.
The Kenmure Pipe Band (grade 1) was reformed in the States in 1958. Many
of the local talent came to play in the band, winning 9 Eastern United
States Pipe Band Championships in 10 years till it disbanded in the
After meeting PM Donald MacLeod in 1963 in NYC George began a
correspondence with Donald that lasted till his untimely passing in
1982. Donald said that with the exception of one non competing student
back in Scotland, George had received more tuition than any other
student he had ever had. This information is now with Georges sons.
George was arguably one of the most knowledgeable persons on the
continent having received and recorded both of the main schools of
piobaireachd as well as multitudes of ceol beag tunes.
(James M. Bell,
Lyon College -
Batesville, Arkansas, 72501)
Roddy MacDonald received his education in Scotland and is certified
by the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association as a
Teacher/adjudicator for the Great Highland Bagpipe. His father, a native
of Tarskavaig, Isle of Skye, encouraged Roddy to take up piping at the
early age of nine. Neil Henderson of Dunoon, a nephew of the famous John
“Jock” MacLellan, who composed many classical tunes, taught Roddy from
his early age. Later he was under the tutelage of Donald McLeod, who
gave him a tremendous background in the classical music for bagpipes.
played with the 8th Battalion Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and the
Invergordon Distillery Pipe Bands. Both bands were highly competitive,
Invergordon winning the Scottish, British, European, and Cowal
Championships while placing third in the World Pipe Band Championship in
Grade 1. One of his favorite achievements was winning the “Prince
Charles Trophy” for musical composition. The tunes (a Strathspey and
Reel) became very popular in the pipe band scene and are still being
played by the top bands throughout the world.
Fiona MacDonald and Calum Ian are published in the Grand Altogether
Collection. In the USA, he was Pipe Major of the City of Wilmington Pipe
Band which won repeatedly in Grade II competitions in the US and Canada.
He began the Delmar and District Pipe Band, made up of his students,
which progressed from Grade V, up to Grade III, and won in the US and
Roddy also won the North American Championship both times he competed
in Maxville, Ontario for Professional solo piping besides numerous
awards in Scotland, Canada, and the USA. He was the guest soloist with
the concerto soloist’s of Philadelphia, in the performance of a concerto
written for pipes and strings, “King Arthur’s Return” performed at the
Academy of Music in Philadelphia. He also played for the dedication of
the Clan Donald Museum on the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and again for the
dedication of the new wing of the museum, as well as the Broadway
performance of “Brigadoon”.
Roddy is Past-President of EUSPBA, having been involved in all of the
Association’s activities from it’s embryonic condition. Currently he is
serving on the Music Board of the EUSPBA as well as chairman of the
Education Board and has been instrumental in developing the Progressive
Certification Program for all disciplines in piping and drumming. You
Roddy at the Sarasota Military Academy in Sarasota, Florida where he
continues to teach the history and playing techniques of the Great
Highland Bagpipe. With his busy schedule you will frequently find him
adjudicating at various highland games throughout North America,
instructing at workshops and composing tunes.
- Born in Ullapool, Ross-shire Scotland on October 18, 1923
- Piping instructors were Pipe Major Donald Ross, Glastullich and
Pipe Major William Ross
- Played with the Ullapool and District Pipe Band up to the
outbreak of WWII in 1939
- In 1939 played with the Air Training Corps Pipe Band
- 1945-1946 - Played with the Royal Air Force Regiment
Parachute Squadron Pipe Band in Singapore
- Emigrated to the United States in 1956 and joined the
Gordon Heights Pipe Band in Wilmington, DE under
the direction of Pipe Major Robert Gilchrist
Delaware Highland Gathering/Colonial Highland Gathering
- 1959 convened Gordon Heights Pipe Band
committee to develop a Scottish Games in Delaware
- 1960 first Scottish Games were held in Delaware Park, Wilmington
under the title of the Delaware Highland Gathering.
- Delaware Highland Gathering was the
first games to group players by age. Prior to that time all
competitions were Open.
- These classifications offered opportunities for young pipers and
drummers to compete on a more level playing field
- This classification system was later modified by the Eastern
United States Pipe Band Association into Amateur and Open Levels
that were categorized by playing skill levels rather than age.
- There are now five Amateur Levels and one Open level.
- In 1974 the Games changed its name to the Colonial
- Over the last 50 years served as convener and president
- Currently president emeritus
United States Pipe Band Association/Eastern United States
Pipe Band Association
- 1964 - One of founding members of the
United States Pipe Band Association which later
changed its name to the Eastern United States Pipe Band
- 1970 -1974 Served four years as Vice-President
under President Duncan McCaskill and one year under President
- 1975-1979 - Served as President
- During this period EUSPBA became incorporated and formed
- Of the seven man executive committee under his presidential
tenure, four were or became presidents of the organization.
Other Piping Interests
- Founding member of the Association of Scottish Games
and Festivals, Inc.
- 1976 – Founded the MacCrimmon
Quaich Competition for Grade I Amateur pipers under
the auspices of the Clan MacLeod Society USA, Inc.
The MacCrimmon Quaich Competition
is held in each of the 13 Clan MacLeod Society regions of
the United States
- 1986 – Founding member of the United States Piping
Foundation whose purpose was to create a superior
standard for Professional players.
- In 1993 the Foundation established further competitions for
Grade I Amateur pipers and provides five scholarship awards each
- 1995 – Awarded the Balvenie Medal
in Scotland for Services to Piping
- 2009 – Awarded the Silver Quaich
for 50 years of service to the Colonial Highland
- 2010 – Awarded with an Honorary
Life Membership Certificate by the EUSPBA and inducted
into the EUSPBA Circle of Honor
Jim has received first prizes at nearly all the major championships
in Scotland, including Inverness, Oban, Braemar, Skye, and was the first
Grant’s (Glenfiddich) Champion. A piper with the Cameron
Highlanders from 1939-1949, he studied under Willie Ross and Donald
McLeod, and since the 1950’s has focused on the teachings of R.U. Brown
and R.B. Nicol—The Bobs of Balmoral. He designed and developed
the Naill pipe chanter, which continues to be one of the favorite
chanters played by solo competitors around the world. He
founded the Competing Pipers Association in Scotland, and was then
instrumental in getting the Silver Medal competitions introduced at the
Northern Meetings. He served as President of the CPA from
1976-1982, when he emigrated to the USA.
Jim began teaching in North American Summer Schools in 1973, and has
continued to do so each year to the present time. Since 2006, he has organized the Jimmy McIntosh
Balmoral School in Latrobe, PA. He served as President of the
EUSPBA from 1991-1994, and in various capacities on the AAB, the
forerunner to the Music Board. The current format for the VOICE
magazine, as an educational tool, was started during his terms of
office. He developed the current program of exams and apprentice judging
for potential Adjudicators of Piping in the EUSPBA in 1987. He
inaugurated the first B.A. degree program in Bagpipe Music for music
majors at Carnegie Mellon University in 1990—the first of its kind in
the world. His students have been among the first North Americans
to win major piping competitions in Scotland—Mike Cusack and Mike Rogers
have both won Gold Medals. In 1994, he was awarded the MBE medal
from Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace, and in 2002, the Balvenie
Medal, presented at Blair Atholl Castle, both for his services to piping
throughout the world. He recorded 35 CDs of the entire
Piobaireachd Society collection, Books 1-15. He has twice been
honored with the President’s Award from the EUSPBA, for his
contributions to the Association, and most recently for his joint
efforts with Peter Kent, for pioneering on-line piobaireachd lectures,
on the Learning Channel of the EUSPBA, the first of its kind.
In 2001, he created the Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band, which over
the last 9 years, has moved from a Grade 5 novice band, to one of the
top Grade 3 bands in the EUSPBA. The band, composed mostly
of players under the age of 22, is the most prize-winning band in the
Western Pa. area. Jim’s tireless efforts and endless energy for
the success of this group are evidence of his passion for passing on
traditional Scottish music.