Who We Are
Founded in 1939
Based out of Wayne, PA, The Washington Memorial Pipe Band is one of the oldest pipe bands in America. For 83 years the band has been prideful in teaching bagpipes and drums at the highest level to perform, compete, and attract the best talent in the Philadelphia Metro area. The band competes at the Grade IV level at notable Highland Games up and down the east coast and is highly sought after to play at venues such as Citizens Bank Park and The Academy of Music. The band meets and rehearses at St Peters Church in Lafayette Hill every Wednesday at 7 PM and free group lessons are provided by top notch instructors for those who want to learn the pipes or drums.
History of the Band
Washington Memorial Pipe Band has a storied history of playing in venues all over the world.
In 1998, the band had the honor of being the first U.S. pipe band to perform at the International Pipe Band Festival in Czech Republic and in 2000 celebrated the Millennium by performing in the New Year’s Day Parade in London. In 2006, the band played on stage at The Academy of Music in Philadelphia to raise money for the Tsunami Relief Fund that was led by Presidents George Walker Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2013, the band played with Grammy Award winning legends The Chieftains at The Grand Opera House n the Wilmington DE.
In 2022, the band is looking forward to getting back to appearing in many parades and concerts once the pandemic is over. Many of the band’s more accomplished pipers and drummers regularly compete at Highland Games across the U.S. WMPB is currently registered with the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association at the Grade 4 Level.
The Band's Vision & Mission
The Washington Memorial Pipe Band is dedicated to presenting the very best in Highland bagpiping and drumming, as well as to the preservation and promotion of this wonderful musical form, and to the cultivation and teaching of new players of all ages and abilities.
The band works hard to be inclusive by welcoming musicians of all abilities and talent levels without sacrificing quality of performances. The more accomplished players compete in the Grade 4 competition band. They encourage and mentor up and coming pipers and drummers, who have joined the band, to strive to be better and play at the highest level.
Washington Memorial Pipe Band is 501(c) (3) charitable organization and welcomes tax deductible donations to continue its endeavors and service to the community.
President: Colin Patrick Drummond
Colin P. Drummond started his piping career with The Isle of Mull Pipe Band in Denver Colorado 32 years ago.
Colin moved to Central Jersey in 1992 and played with CuChullain Pipe Band and honed his piping skills under the instruction of Joe McGonigal and Seamus Coyne. In 1998, Colin moved to Philadelphia and joined WMPB and continued his development as Pipe Sergeant under the tutelage of Pipe Majors Col. Phil Townsend and Derek Midgley. Colin was promoted to Pipe Major in 2003 and has led the band to dozens of awards and commendations.
Colin appointed Dan Emery to take over as Pipe Major in 2017 so he could focus on growing the band and working on community outreach.
Piping Major: Dan J. Emery
Dan started playing as a member of the Grove City Highland Pipe Band in 1979. His first instructor of note was Pipe Major and piping judge, Tom Hinchey. Dan developed into a top-notch piper learning from piping notables such as PM Chris Hamilton, PM Scott Walker, Sir James MacIntosh, MBE; PM Alasdair Gillies, Norman Gillies, PM Brian Donaldson, PM James McGillivray, PM Al MacMullan, Mike Rodgers and June Hanley. Dan was the Pipe Major of the Cameron Highlander’s PB Grade 3 Competition Band (Philadelphia) in the mid-2000s.
As a soloist, Dan has competed at the Grade 2 Level, amassing 13 first places, 10 second places; 9 third; 3 fourths. Dan is a retired highland dancer and often plays for highland and country dancing and can be heard on several country dancing CDs. In addition to highland pipes, Dan also plays border pipes, small pipes, flute, and fiddle.
Piping Sergeant: Rich Hall
Rich began playing the bagpipes at the age of 8 years old in Rockledge, Pennsylvania. He followed in his father's footsteps, who emigrated from Northern Ireland. Rich was taught by world renowned pipers such as Donald Leslie, John Rae Miller, and Robert Gilchrist. Starting his solo career at the age of 11, Rich quickly elevated grades and earned the distinction of Grade 1 status by the time he was 17 years old.
Rich has played in numerous prize winning bands over 4 decades, including City of Wilmington, Olgilvie Highlanders, Lehigh Valley PB, and Delmar and District PB. Recently, he was the pipe major of First Highland Watch and the Philadelphia Emerald Society PB where he led the bands to numerous prizes in Grade 4. Rich became Pipe Sergeant of Washington Memorial PB in 2017, and also lends his talent to private lessons to pipers of all ages and abilities.
Drumming Instructor: Sophia McConnell
Sophia McConnell began playing when she was 8 years old under the instruction of Jon Quigg. During this time, she played with Guilford and Glencoe out of Towson, Maryland and competed in solo competition throughout the east coast and in Scotland at the World Solo Drumming Championships in the under 13 category. She then played with the Balmoral Highlanders Pipe Band out of Pittsburgh, PA for a season before moving to the Ulster Scottish Pipe Band of Philadelphia, PA in 2011. With Ulster, Sophia has competed at the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland twice, has traveled to the North American Championship in Canada several times, and has competed throughout the east coast. She has had the opportunity to play solos throughout the east coast and in Kansas City at the Winter Storm contest. She currently plays with Ulster Scottish which competes in Grade 2 and takes instruction from Reid Maxwell. She has been teaching for three years.
- Charlotte Hannagan – Downingtown, Pa.
- Miles Hannagan – Downingtown, Pa.
- Jim Hunter – Wilmington, DE
- John Norman – Downingtown, PA
- Larry Paden – West Chester, PA
- Joe Sanderson – Crumpton, MD
- Phil Townsend – Ireland
- Ben Wilkinson – Gilbertsville, PA
- Sam Montgomery-Wayne , PA
- Jim Taggart – Wayne, PA
- Angus Wallace – Malvern, Pa.
Interested in learning more about Washington Memorial Pipe Band?