Dan Bell first took up the pipes at age 12, as a rookie in the Rockville High School Pipe Band. There, he was taught by Vic Frank and Mike Scott, supplementing his instruction with lessons from Sandy Jones and Colin MacLellan, at the North American Academy of Piping. Bell served as Pipe Major of the RHSPB in his junior and senior years. After graduation, he went on to play in the City of Washington and Dunloggin pipe bands, retiring from competitive play following the 1999 season.
After a ten-year hiatus, Bell returned to pipe bands to bolster the ranks of the newly-promoted (Grade 4) Macmillan-Birtles Memorial in 2009. He served as Pipe Sergeant in 2010 and was elected Pipe Major in 2011. He counts the City of Washington, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Vale of Atholl, and St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Bands amongst his biggest influences in the pipe band idiom. An avid folk player, Bell also draws on other Celtic styles and repertoires, where appropriate, to contribute to the musical identity of Macmillan-Birtles.
Christopher Hamilton – P/I
J David Hester
In 1973 at the age of 13, Jon Quigg was very fortunate to begin his drumming career in the Annapolis Juvenile Pipe Band. As a direct result, he counts his primary influences to be John Bosworth for American rudimental drumming, and Alex Duthart for traditional pipe band drumming. In 1976, he moved into the professional solo competitor ranks and into the Grade 2 Denny and Dunipace Pipe Band of Washington, DC, currently known as the City of Washington Pipe Band (CoW). While “the Denny band” has always been home, over the years he has guested with a number of groups around the world, including bands in Monterey, San Francisco, Vancouver, Honolulu and Tokyo. In 1989, he assumed the Drum Sergeant position and helped the home band garner numerous North American contest wins, culminating in their hard-won results at the 1999 World Pipe Band Championships where both the drum corps and the band as a whole took respective firsts in Grade 2.
The latter years of his successful pipe band competition career include top honors for the CoW drumline’s performances at the 2009 and 2010 Kansas City Winter Storm drum salute contests. Additionally, he has taken part in recording projects with fiddler, Bonnie Rideout, and for the educational percussion company, Row-Loff Productions in Nashville. His teaching workload, greatly expanded with the advent of Skype, includes summer schools, master classes and band clinics around North America. He’s been fortunate to perform for heads of state as well as celebrities, and as a member of the EUSPBA judges’ panel, can be seen regularly wielding a clipboard around the North American pipe band scene each competition season.
Since handing off his drum sergeant position with the City of Washington band in 2010, he has developed a pipe band drumstick with the venerable, fife & drum corps-focused Cooperman Company of New England, and continues to edit material for an eventual book on Scottish drumming. Most recently, as an opportunity to play with some of his students, 2017 saw his return to pipe band competition. A very successful trip to Scotland with the MacMillan-Birtles Pipe Band of Rockville, Maryland, has evolved into a full-on return “to the trenches” by seeing the band through 2018, its first season in Grade 3.
Mike Leigh – Bass
Emily Mellgren – Bass