We have a stellar line up of instructors for the Virginia Piping and Drumming School 2017.
Willie is a native of Campbeltown, where he learned piping primarily from his uncles Ronald and Hugh and P/M Ronald McCallum, Piper to the Duke of Argyll. His roots go right back to the early days of piping competition and his 4 times great grandfather, John MacAlister, won the Prize Pipe in 1782.
This season has seen Willie involved in the normal circuit of competition where he won some of the major events at the Metro Cup NY, Donald MacLeod Memorial, Springbank Invitational as well as major prizes at Inverness and Oban. His most recent success was winning the MSR contest at the Glenfiddich for the 8th time.
Some other notable career wins are the Gold Medals at Inverness and Oban, Senior Piobaireachd Oban (3), Bratach Gorm (4), Silver Chanter (3), Former Winners MSR Oban (5), Former Winners MSR Inverness (4), P/M Donald MacLeod Memorial (9), Springbank Invitational (9), Dan Reid Memorial (7), Donald MacDonald Quaich (3), Former Winners MSR London (5).
He runs his own piping business, Willie McCallum Piping, which involves teaching, as well as selling bagpipes, being consultant to bagpipe maker McCallum Bagpipes Ltd, in Kilmarnock and similarly involved at Bannatyne Ltd, Pipe Bag maker, working on developing bags and moisture control devices.
His teaching career started in the early 1990s and since then he has been involved in teaching several champion pipers who have won Silver Medals, Gold Medals, Former Winners MSR, Clasps and the Silver Chanter.
Willie lives in Bearsden with his wife Christine and has two children, Hailey and Scott.
Matt MacIsaac is from Nova Scotia, Canada and has been playing, teaching and performing on the pipes for over 25 years. A member of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, Matt is a Silver Medallist at Oban, and a full time professional musician on pipes, whistles and guitar. Matt is also a sergeant in the Royal Canadian Air Force and is Pipe Major of the 400 Tactical Helicopter Squadron Pipe Band, a competitive grade 2 pipe band in Ontario, Canada where he currently lives with his wife and 3 year old son.
P/M Brian Donaldson
From Cardenden, Fife, his father taught him to play the pipes and at a young age, he played with the world famous Dysart and Dundonald Pipe Band, winning all major championships in Grade 1. He also he served an apprenticeship as a bagpipe maker at Inveran House. In 1978, he enlisted in the Scots Guards, British Army and four years later, he passed his pipe majors course at the Army School of Piping at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. After serving in the Falklands War, he was posted to the Army School of Piping as an instructor for three years. In 1998, he became Pipe Major at the Army training regiment (Glencorse). Eventually the military centralized all Army piping and drumming, and he served 22 years at the Army School of Bagpipe Music and Highland Drumming in Edinburgh. Throughout his military career, he has become one of the most renowned pipers in the British Army and has received numerous awards. Today, he is principal pipe maker at Inveran Bagpipe Makers, and continues to teach and compete at a high level.
Andrew Donlon of Washington, DC is one of the United States' up and coming competitive pipers. Receiving many years of early tuition from Chris Hamilton, Donlon has been a student of Willie McCallum since 2012.
As a bandsman, Andrew was a member of the New York Metro Pipe Band in 2013 and 2014, earning as high as 3rd place at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2013. 2014 saw Andrew return to his hometown MacMillan Pipe Band, becoming Pipe Major in 2015, leading the band to an undefeated season and the title of North American Champions in Grade 3. 2016 saw MacMillan succeeding in Grade 2, winning the drumming at Maxville, and saw Donlon join the reformed Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band, playing in the Grade One Final of the World Pipe Band Championships.
In the solo realm, Andrew was promoted to the professional ranks by the EUSPBA for the 2014 season, and has been steadily taking prizes since. Some prizes of note include the 2015 United States Silver Medal at Kansas City, the 2016 Piobaireachd Conference and the 2016 B-Grade Overall at the London competition.
Outside of competitive piping, Andrew works for a congressman in Washington, D.C. and keeps a sizeable group of piping students who compete at various levels.
**Instructors may vary due to unforeseen circumstances**