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 early 70’s.
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.
He 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 Canada.
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 was Past-President of EUSPBA, having been involved in all of the Association’s activities from it’s embryonic condition. He served on the Music Board of the EUSPBA and chaired the Education Board, and was instrumental in developing the Progressive Certification Program for all disciplines in piping and drumming.
- 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 in Inverness
- 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 Highland Gathering.
- Over the last 50 years served as convener and president
- 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 theEastern United States Pipe Band Association.
- 1970 -1974 Served four years as Vice-President under President Duncan McCaskill and one year under President Roderick McDonald
- 1975-1979 – Served as President
- During this period EUSPBA became incorporated and formed regional branches.
- 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 year.
- 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 Gathering
- 2010 – Awarded with an Honorary Life Membership Certificate by the EUSPBA and inducted into the EUSPBA Circle of Honor
James McIntosh, MBE
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.