The Macdonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh was founded by members of the Carnegie Tech University Pipe Band in 1966 when this student organization under the direction of Lou Davidson decided to reform the band outside of the University community.
The late C. K. Macdonald, then-owner of Idlewild Park, agreed to sponsor the band, and it officially became the Macdonald Pipe Band of Idlewild Park, Pa. in September 1967.
In the early 1980s, the band changed its name to Macdonald Pipe Band of Pittsburgh, Inc. and was incorporated as a nonprofit organization. It fielded an award-winning Grade 3 band.
The band has opened for Pittsburgh performances by Rod Stewart and British Regimental Bands, such as the Black Watch and the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. The band also performed for HRH Prince Charles at Pittsburgh’s Benedum Center.
In 1994, 2000 and 2006, the band toured Scotland, performing for clan dignitaries and competing at several Highland Games, including the World Pipe Band Championships.
In 2011, after a period of renewed growth, the Macdonald Pipe Band was able to field a grade 5 and grade 4 competition band. The bands went on to achieve much success under the tutelage of CMU grad and Open piper Nick Hudson, Grade 1 snare drummer Miles Bennington & tenor drummer Ali McLeod, and with a lot of hard work from its members.
The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the band, although rehearsals continued via Zoom exclusively, and then in a hybrid format throughout 2020 and 2021. The band was not able to compete in 2020 (no games were held), 2021 or 2022 (diminished roster). Never once, however, did the band consider calling it quits. And it’s a good thing! In 2023, we joined forces with another local band, the Pittsburgh Firefighters Memorial Pipe Band, to form a competition band called the Avalon and District Strathspey and Reel Society. We performed well enough in grade 5 to earn an upgrade to grade 4. Back under the name of Macdonald, we are excited to field both a grade 4 and grade 5 corps in competition in 2024.
Fundraising is constant as we rebuild and require more instruments and uniforms. To donate to the band, click on our fundraising page.
For information on joining the band, go to our recruitment page.