We have a stellar line up of instructors for the Virginia Piping and Drumming School 2019. Drumming lessons will be given by special guest instructor Mark Wilson.
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.
Some 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.
Mark Wilson has had a highly successful career in World Championship winning pipe bands and drum corps, and an enviable record as a top solo player. Competing in the top echelons of grade 1 with both The Pipes & Drums Of The Royal Ulster Constabulary GC and Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, he has won over 30 championships titles in both band and corps playing. These include 15 Ulster, 4 All Ireland, 4 Scottish, 3 European, 4 Cowal Championships and 5 World Championship titles. He is a former Director of the Northern Ireland Piping & Drumming School, a former member of the R.S.P.B.A. Music Board, and an international examiner for the Piping & Drumming Qualifications Board. Mark is also a fully qualified member of the RSPBA Adjudicators panel and is in demand for adjudication duties throughout Europe and in the United States.
He is a highly sought after teacher with his pupils having won over 20 Ulster, All Ireland and World Solo Championship Titles. Each year Mark conducts numerous workshops, seminars, master classes and performances throughout Europe, the United States and the Middle East.
As well as being a world class snare drummer, Mark works as a freelance professional drummer, percussionist and musical arranger with some of Irelands’ top international recording artists, Eurovision song contest winning acts, international touring shows and symphony orchestras. He has both produced and been Musical Director, of international touring music and dance shows, and is the director of Drumming for the Massed Pipes & Drums at a number of tattoos within Europe, including the famous Avenches and St. Gallen Tattoos in Switzerland.
Having retired from competitive playing he now composes for and co-runs “Titanic Drums”, a group of over 250 drummers, singers and dancers who perform at major national and international events. He wrote, orchestrated and conducted a percussion suite for the opening ceremony of a major international sporting event with over 40 percussionists and the rhythms of the feet of 20 dancers which was broadcast live to over 75 Million homes throughout Europe. He now also works as a Presenter, Musical Director and Assistant Producer of a number of different music series for BBC Television and Radio. and presents BBC Radio Ulster’s popular “Pipes & Drums” programme.
**Instructors may vary due to unforeseen circumstances**