Established in 1980 by Pipe Major William O'Donnell, Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums is based in Detroit, Michigan, with members from all over the Detroit metropolitan area and Canada. Currently, under the direction of Pipe Major Mary Beth Nicholson, Michigan Scottish competes in grade 4 and grade 5 competitions and performs at many auxiliary events throughout the Midwest.
Founded as a teaching band, we aim to play better music through competition and rehearsal - while having a great time doing it. With teaching in our roots, we welcome new members. If you're interested in joining and/or learning the Great Highland Bagpipes or Highland drumming, please contact us via email or social media.
Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums performs for hire at events throughout the year all over metro Detroit. Appearances include Rod Stewart Concerts, University of Michigan, Adrian College, St. Clair County Community College, Troy Career and College High School, and Lakeshore High School ceremonies. We've also played at weddings, funerals, memorials, birthday parties, and of course, parades. As well as events in Port Huron, Schwartz Creek, Canterbury Village, and other venues. During our performances, we can be seen wearing the orange and green MacDonnell of Keppoch tartan.
Contact us via email or social media to discuss making Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums part of your next special event.
William (Bill) O'Donnell (1936-2016) began playing bagpipes in the 1960s, after spending four years in the Air Force and completing his graduate degree. In 1967, Bill joined a local band where he began to work on his piping skills. Seeking advice from every advanced piper he could find, Bill learned from individuals such as David Martin, Ken Eller, William Livingston Jr., and, of course, the Wee Green Book. It wasn't long before Bill began to perfect his piping skills.
Showing skill and aptitude in piping, he began teaching the Great Highland Bagpipes at two campuses of Oakland Community College. He taught bagpipes to adults and children alike, placing great emphasis on the correct execution of movements and an appreciation for the music. Bill formed the Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums in 1980 with the graduates of the piping course he was teaching.
Further improving his skills as a bagpiper, in 1991 Bill joined the St. Andrews Pipe Band of Detroit, where he challenged himself alongside well-established and accomplished pipers. In 1992, St. Andrews won the Grade 3 Champion Supreme title of the PPBSO Ontario circuit.
His passion for teaching drew him back to share his knowledge and skill with others through the Troy Community Education program. There, for many years, adults could train and learn to play the Great Highland Bagpipe. In 1994 Bill re-formed Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums to provide a challenging environment where many of his graduates could continue improving their piping skills.
Today the Michigan Scottish Pipes and Drums carry on Bill's legacy of love and appreciation for the Great Highland Bagpipe. Over the years, Bill has been responsible for introducing bagpipes and the love of music to many people. He has trained pipers from all over the US as well as Israel, Germany, Scotland, and other countries. Some have achieved Grades 1, 2, and 3, with many continuing to play with world-class bands