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.