The University of Mary Washington is one of the few institutions of higher learning in the United States that can boast of an in-house bagpipe band.
The original seed which would ultimately produce the Eagle Pipe Band began in 1992 when the City of Washington Pipe Band was planning a trip to Scotland to compete in the World Championships. Dr. Raymond Scott, then Associate Professor of Chemistry at Mary Washington College, was a member of this organization and approached the Dean with a proposal that MWC hire the band to play at the 1992 Commencement for a small fee. This was a world class, spectacular band and they gave the ceremony a sparkling performance. That band played for five graduation events here in Fredericksburg, but in 1997 the date conflicted with the East Coast Pipe Band Championships, so the City of Washington band did not come to campus that year.
In May 1997, a group of local pipers and drummers got together and played that commencement, calling themselves the Fredericksburg Piping Club. Shortly thereafter, President William Anderson proposed to the Board of Visitors that the College adopt the group as the Eagle Pipe Band, which occurred in September 1997. By October of that year, the band had grown to twenty five members, and included not only pipers and drummers, but also highland dancers. Many of the early members were from the greater Fredericksburg community, but we were also training MWC students. The band performed at several public functions in a kaleidoscope of different tartans using many borrowed kilts. However, by 1998 the college purchased uniforms for the band. Using the services of Geoffrey Tailor, Ltd., Edinburgh, the Eagle Pipe Band designed what is now registered in Edinburgh Scotland as the Mary Washington College tartan reflecting the then school colors of blue, gray, white, and red.
From 1997 until 2019, the band competed up and down the east coast, performed all over the Middle Atlantic, and trained countless pipers, drummers, and dancers- all under the direction of Dr. Raymond Scott (Professor Emeritus- Chemistry). Dr. Scott retired in 2019, at which time Dr. Lauren McMillan (Assistant Professor- Historic Preservation) took over the band. Dr. Scott continues to play in the band and serves as the Eagle Pipe Band’s ensemble director and music guru.
We offer bagpipe, drum, and highland dance lessons to students and community members of all ages. As we move into our second decade as a band, we look forward to growing, teaching, and making beautiful music. If you are interested in joining the band or hiring the Eagle Pipe Band to perform at your event, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org