Months of late nights on the practice chanters, hours upon hours of practice, building and believing went into the MacMillan Pipe Band’s victory at the North American Pipe Band Championships in Maxville, Ontario, Canda on August 1st of this year.

MacMillan won the championship with first and second in piping, first in ensemble and second in drumming from judges Charlie MacDonald, John Elliot, Michael Gray and Hugh Cameron, playing for only the second time competitively Highland Wedding. Both Andrew Donlon and Alex Kuldell were ecstatic with the result, which demonstrated not only the improvement of the band, but also how well the new partership at the helm is both beneficial and largely effective. In addition to the changes the band has experienced over the past 18 months in leadership, they played new chanters and reeds. Many thanks go out to McCallum Bagpipes and G1 Reedmakers for the quality products we have enjoyed and plan to use in the future!

Thanks are also in order for all of the families of the members who have spent many nights and weekends away in addition to the hours of practice at home. Thank you! A very special shout out goes to  drone tuners, Dan Bell and Monica McClamrock, who did a great job getting the band on the field and assisting with overall sound.

Without all of our support from family members, members of the other MacMillan bands, and everyone else, the thrill of marching off the field at Maxville as North American Championships. Most definitely the memory of a lifetime.

With the North American Championships in the bag, MacMilllan went on August 2nd to the Montreal Highland Games in Quebec, and won with a first and second in piping, first in ensemble and first in drumming from judges John Wilson, Brian Williamson, Bob Worrall and Brendan Kelly, respectively. The comments from all were positive, but it was an honor to get such complimentary notes from judges as experienced as John Wilson and Bob Worrall, both of whom have judged the Grade One Finals at the World Pipe Band Championships.
All in all MacMillan was thrilled to make the trip of a lifetime up to the Great White North. With this competition in the books, the band is going to continue looking forward.

From Michael Gray’s ensemeble sheet from Maxville:

“Time for G2.”


MacMillan Victorious at Fair Hill! 

The Colonial Highland Gathering at Fair Hill proved to be another success for the MacMillan organization on May 16th. All three bands competed in 4 events total, and over a dozen members also competed in solo events.

Congrats to all MacMillan soloists, winning 6 events and placing in 10 others! Winners included Beth Morgan, Sam Johnson, Jeremiah Whitney and Chris Imlay. Keep up the great work!

The MacMilllan-Dunn band again improved their performance in a tough field of seven talented bands and continue the trend of learning from every contest and peformance. Huge congratulations go to the Rockville High School Pipe Band, earning straight 1st place from each of the four judges in the Grade 5 event.  MacMillan-Birtles too had stiff competition in the Grade 4 contest, and are well on their way to the prize list for our next contest in New Jersey, July 11th!

The MacMillan band had two strong performances, winning both the Medley and MSR events. The pipe corps won the MSR event with firsts from both judges, and the drum corps won with an AGL from judge Tom Kee. The Medley event was a bit less stellar for the pipe corps, getting a third and second from the piping judges, tying the Ulster Scottish pipe corps, but the drum corps again won with and AGL and the band earned first in ensemble, showing how much the new members are not only fitting into the band, but improving it. Onward and upward for MacMillan!



Next up for the bands, we are playing the Sharpsburg, Maryland Memorial Day Parade on Saturday May 23. For our less experienced players, performances like this offer opportunities to mingle with the higher level musicians.  Mixing and mingling between competiton bands is part of the mission of MacMillan, to teach every player how to improve and evnetually move up between competitive groups. For any interested pipers, be sure to send us a message either on facebook or leave a comment right here! We always welcome new  members, even stark beginners!
Till next time, keep rooting for Big Mac!

Southern Maryland

The MacMillan bands had a wonderful time at the Celtic Society of Southern Maryland’s Festival on April 25 in St. Leonard. Even though the weather could have been better, hitting only 45 degrees for a high and raining a bit towards the end of the day we all enjoyed the first contest of the year.

MacMillan-Dunn fielded a lot of new players for their first competitive experience. Lots of positive comments about the performance and potential of the band, with some informative points to improve as the season continues.

MacMillan-Birtles also brought on a good deal of new members and although were missing some of the band’s veteran players, earned 2nd place in the Grade 4 event.

MacMillan won the contest with some great comments and straight first places from all four judges. Welcome as well to the new members of MacMillan who joined the band in competition for the first time.

On the solo front we had:

Sean Kelly- 6th Place Grade 4 Sr 2/4 March

Gordon Fraser- 4th Place Grade 4 Sr 2/4 March

Chris Imlay- 2nd Place Grade 3 Piobaireachd, 5th Place Grade 3 2/4 March

Jeff Walden- 4th Place Grade 3 Piobaireachd

Andrew Donlon- 1st Place Open MSR, 2nd Place Open Hornpipe & Jig, 2nd Place 6/8 Marches, 5th Place Open Piobaireachd, Open Piper of the Day.

All in all Southern Maryland was a strong start for the MacMillan bands and soloists. The next few weeks are very busy with the Rockville High School Pipe Band festival on Saturday May 2, the Frederick Celtic Festival on May 9 and the Colonial Highland Gathering on May 16.

Enjoy the end of April and make sure to practice!

MacMillan 2015: The Big Mo’

The second half of the 2014 season went by so quickly we forgot to update the website! All three bands had a productive season, culminating in the MacMillan-Birtles (Grade 4) earning 2nd place at the Celtic Classic, and the MacMillan Band (Grade 3) earning 2nd place at both the North American Championships in Maxville, Ontario and at the Cetlic Classic. MacMillan-Dunn (Grade 5) has been working diligently to move players up the ranks into our other two bands, as well as training new players for the future!

November came quickly and led to an influx of new members, including a slew of drummers for the MacMillan band from the City of Washington Pipe Band including Alex Kuldell, Jason Hoffert, Ben Elkins, Jack McClamrock, Sam Johnson and Beth Morgan. Other new drummers include Seton Helwig and Mike Kelly, both of whom have vast experience in competitive pipe bands. New pipers Kyle Grasty, Adam Tianello, and Sean Gearhart are working their way through the music to be on the field at Southern Maryland this April. Welcome aboard, everyone!

The MacMillan-Dunn Pipe Band got some new leadership in November at the band’s annual meeting. Congratulations to P/M Jason Barth and D/S Betsy Meade! We trust both of these experienced players will be great in their new roles, and can’t wait to see the work they are doing through the year.

MacMillan-Birtles now has a new D/S as well, congratulations to Ron Limparis for stepping up and helping make the drum corps stronger than ever!

Even though the offseason was busy, a small group of 5 made the trip to Kansas City for Winter Storm in January. Alex Kuldell and Harry Meade played in the Gold Medal Snare Drumming contest, Sam Johnson in the Gold Medal Tenor Drumming, Dawn Meade in the Intermediate Tenor Drumming and Andrew Donlon in the US Silver Medal Piobaireachd and the US Gold Medal Ceol Beag. Alex Stewart made the trek to the midwest as well to help out drummers, and was an integral part of the weekend.  Team MacMillan did well, and Andrew Donlon won the Silver Medal!

April brings in the first performance for all three bands, MacMillan United Pipe Bands in Concert. Check for details. It is sure to be a great time!

On April 25th the bands will be competing at the Southern Maryland Highland Games in St. Leonard, MD. Be sure to come by our tent and hang out if you’re there! This will be the debut of the MacMillan-Dunn March Medley for this year, the new MSR for MacMillan-Birtles and the competitive debut of the 2015 MacMillan Medley. Each performance is sure to be one to remember!

As always, any pipers or drummers, or those interested in learning are welcome to send us a message about playing in the bands. The door is always open!

Go Team MacMillan!

MacMillan Soloists Rock the Prize Lists

Even when the band doesn’t attend a particular competition, the pipers and drummers from MacMillan Pipe Band, MacMillan-Birtles Pipe Band and MacMillan-Dunn Pipe Band continue to challenge their talents in competitions throughout the United States and Canada.

So far this year, we’ve had players in the prize lists at Metro Express Contest in Newark, NJ (2/14/2014), Charleston Indoor Games in Charleston, SC (3/1/2014), Erepa Grotto Indoor in Erie, PA (3/1/2014), Cary Indoor Solo Piping Contest in Cary, NC (3/29/2014), Woodberry Forest Indoor Games in Woodberry Forest, VA (4/12/2014), Savannah Scottish Games in Savannah, GA (5/10/2014), Bonnie Brae Scottish Games in Basking Ridge, NJ (6/7/2014), Ohio Scottish Games in Wellington, OH (6/28/2014), Rockland County Feis in Rockland County, NY (6/28/2014), and Kamloops Highland Games in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada (7/14/2014).

So, congratulations and WAY TO REPRESENT the MacMillan Bands to our prize-winning solo competitors for the first half of the 2014 season!

Pipers – Scott Blevins, Andrew Chalfoun, Andrew Donlon, Chris Imlay, Jacob Loughlin, Kevin O’Brien, William Shropshire, Joey Votta, Jeff Walden, Mary Wallace, and Kevin Watkins

Drummers – Husam Al-Zubaidy

Jersey Shore Celtic Festival – Small Games, Big Results

On Saturday, July 12, 2014, The MacMillan Pipe Bands traveled to Tom’s River, New Jersey, for the Jersey Shore Celtic Festival.

A very large number of MacMillan players took part in the solo events at Jersey Shore.  In drumming, Dawn Meade took 2nd in Amateur 2 Tenor and Betsy Meade took 2nd in Grade 4 Senior Snare.  In Grade 3 Snare, Nicholas Shropshire took 3rd and Matthew Niblock took 1st in the March event. Nick also took 2nd in the March Set event. Harry Meade took 2nd in Professional Snare.

In Grade 4 Junior Piping, Joey Votta swept the event with 1sts in March and Piobaireachd.  In Grade 4 Senior Piping, Scott Blevins took 4th in the March event and 2nd in the Piobaireachd event, while Spencer Grinnell took 5th and Kaitlyn Jacob took 6th in the Piobaireachd event.  In Grade 3 Piping, Kevin Watkins placed 4th and Chris Imlay placed 3rd in Piobaireachd B, while Jeff Walden took 2nd in Piobaireachd and 4th in Strathspey and Reel.  In Grade 2 Piping, Kevin O’Brien placed 3rd in Piobaireachd.  In Grade 1 Piping, William Shropshire placed 1st in MSR, 2nd in Hornpipe/Jig, and 3rd in Piobaireachd, while Andrew Chalfoun placed 1st in Hornpipe/Jig and 2nd in Piobaireachd.

Because of scheduling conflicts, not all of the members of the MacMillan-Dunn Pipe Band could attend, so they played for comments in the Grade 5 event.  In Grade 4 bands, The MacMillan-Birtles Pipe Band took 2nd place, while The MacMillan Pipe Band took 2nd place with straight 1sts in Piping in Grade 3.  Congratulations to all!

Fair Day at Fairhill Games

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, the MacMillan Pipe Bands traveled to Fairhill, Maryland, for the Colonial Highland Games.

A large number of MacMillan players participated in the day’s solo events, including Bill McKinley who placed 2nd in Amateur Drum Major competition.  In solo drumming, Dawn Meade took 3rd in Amateur 1 Tenor, while Beth Morgan took 1st in both Novice Tenor and Grade 4 Senior Snare.  In Grade 3 Snare, Husam Al-Zubaidy took 6th, Nicholas Shropshire took 5th and Matt Niblock took 1st.  Harry Meade took 4th in Professional Snare and 2nd in Professional Bass.

In piping, Joey Votta took 1st in Grade 4 Junior March, Scott Blevins took 4th in Grade 4 Senior March, and Kayla Harper took 6th in Grade 3 March.  In Grade 2, Kevin O’Brien took 6th in Piobaireachd and Jacob Loughlin took 3rd in both Piobaireachd and MSR.

In band competitions, the MacMillan-Dunn Pipe Band took 6th in Grade 5.  The MacMillan-Birtles Pipe Band took 3rd in Grade 4, with straight 1sts in piping.  The MacMillan Pipe Band took 6th in Grade 3.   Congratulations to all!