About the Atlanta Pipe Band

 

More than just bagpipes

Having recently entered its 51st year, The Atlanta Pipe Band continues to further the great tradition of Scottish music and culture through performance and education.

The APB is the pioneering Scottish cultural organization in Atlanta that provided inspiration and leadership for other local Scottish organizations that followed.

The Atlanta Pipe Band prides itself on shaping young players into accomplished musicians and encouraging new players to join and learn the art of Scottish music. The band provides instruction for learners, aged 8 and above, in piping and drumming, including snare, tenor and bass.

The Band performs frequently for civic, commercial and private celebrations, adding its unique flair to a wide range of events across Georgia and the Southeast. In 2018, the APB performed on two occasions with the renowned Irish supergroup, The Chieftains, in Atlanta and Athens. The band has two IMDb credits, for soundtrack in the motion picture, Into the Wild, and for documentary in Celtic Women: Believe, recorded at Atlanta’s Fox Theater.

The Band’s long winning history includes such titles as US Open Pipe Band Champion (Grade 3), Eastern US Pipe Band Champion (Grade 3 and 4), Southeast Pipe Band Champion (Grade 3 and 4), Southern Pipe Band Champion (Grade 3) and Midwest Pipe Band Champion (Grade 3).

Under the leadership of Pipe Major John Recknagel and Drum Sergeant Patrick Osborne, the APB’s two competition units are a major force on the competitive circuit. The APB finished first in the Grade 3 season standings in the Eastern U.S. Pipe Band Association in 2013 and 2016, straddling two third-place finishes in the intervening years. As a result, the APB’s premier unit advanced to Grade 2, competing at that level in 2017 and 2018.

Following the departure of its longtime pipe major, Bobby Minnear, at the end of the 2018 season, the band sought and received approval to return to Grade 3, beginning in the 2019 season.

The APB’s competition band in Grade 4, a feeder unit for the senior band, under the leadership of Bob Sloan, has finished fourth, second and sixth overall out of 41 Grade 4 bands in the Eastern U.S. Pipe Band Association since 2016. The Grade 4 unit graduates skilled and experienced musicians each year to the Grade 3 unit.

While competing primarily in the Southeast, the bands’ competition schedule has taken them across the U.S., from the East Coast to the West, and even into Canada at Maxville, Ontario, and Montreal, Quebec.

Both competition units draw members able and desiring to compete and perform at a higher level, both from the metro Atlanta region and across the Southeast. Individual members of the band have competed at the highest levels in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., and many are prize-winning soloists. All, however, take special pride in the ensemble performance, producing a technically challenging and musically satisfying experience for the listener.

The Band has recently introduced the APB Academy. The APB Academy is a structured learning environment that allows pipers and drummers to develop through intermediate (Grade 4) and advanced (Grade 3) levels. Interested individuals should visit the join us page for membership information.

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Meet Our Leaders


The Atlanta Pipe Band is proud to have some of the best leaders and instructors in the Southeast guiding the organizations competitive spirit and education.

John Recknagel

Pipe Major

John first took up the pipes in 1962 in Toledo, Ohio.  He began as a student of George Killen from Dearborn, Michigan, taking lessons through high school and into college, before later entering  solo competitions in the U.S. and Ontario. He has been a member of Erskine Pipe Band in Hamilton, Ontario, and Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band in St. Catharines, Ontario. For 24 years, John conducted the piping and drumming program for the Ohio Scottish Arts School. John moved to Atlanta to be come the pipe major of the Atlanta Pipe Band, the band he has been affiliated with ever since. He has been a respected adjudicator since the 1980s, originally as a member on the judges panel of the Piper’s and Pipe Band Society of Ontario, and currently for the Eastern U.S. Pipe Band Association.  John regularly performs for highland dancing competitions and is a highly respected teacher of the highland bagpies, currently tutoring students online.

 

Robert Sloan

Pipe Major, Grade 4

Bob has been an active member of the Atlanta Pipe Band since 2003, playing with our Grade 3 and Grade 4 units.  Over his piping career Bob has played with bands at every competitive level in the US and Canada including Clan MacFarlane in Canada, Clan Sutherland in Boston (including the World Pipe Band Championship) and The Cleveland Caledonian Pipe Band in Ohio.  In 2015 Bob took over as Pipe Major/Instructor of our Grade 4 unit.  Under his leadership the G4 band has consistently ranked as one of the top competitive bands in the Southeast EUSPBA.

Patrick Osborne

Drum Sergeant

As a finalist in the grade 1 World Pipe Band Championships and professional class solo competitor, Patrick brings nearly two decades of successful experience in competitive pipe band drumming  to the Atlanta Pipe Band. His mastery of technique and unison execution/integration  brings an uncommon level of insight into the  performance of a corps which helps him effectively teach and inspire drummers at home in the APB and nationwide.

 

Jason O’Donnell

Drum Sergeant, Grade 4

Jason came to the Atlanta Pipe Band as an experienced drummer, but completely new to pipe band drumming. Not being one to back down from a challenge, Jason quickly took up the style, proving his abilities throughout several seasons of competition and subsequently assumed leadership of the grade 4 drum corps in 2020.