NCSU Pipes and Drums is a traditional Scottish bagpipe band associated with the Music Department of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since 1968, the band continues the long tradition of students and community members performing for community events, ceremonies and Celtic events throughout the area. In addition to performing, the award winning band competes in many highland games across the southeastern United States.


Currently the band is under the leadership of Pipe Major Darrell Thompson. The band competes in Grade V at several Highland games, marches in parades and plays concerts at various venues throughout the year. Check our events calendar for exact dates to come listen to the band.



  • Darrell Thompson – Pipe Major
  • Stanton Man – Instructor
  • Ken. Hanson
  • Chris Sullivan
  • John Saxon
  • Evelyn Judson
  • Pete Currie
  • Bruce Wright
  • Jack Dodd
  • Kelly Fringer
  • Nixon Alexander
  • Charlie Rutter
  • David Magill
  • Duncan Fraser
  • John McAlpin
  • Don Scott
  • Andy Liepens
  • Adrian McNeil



  • Lisa Wiehe – Drum Sergeant
  • Renee McHugh
  • Colin Lee


  • DeeAnn Cherveny
  • Steve Corrado
  • Lindsay Carlson
  • Greg Womack-Adams
  • Terese Camp
  • Kristen McCaffery
  • Joe Ryan


Thanks for your interest in NCSU Pipes & Drums. Band membership consists of both NCSU students as well as community players.  This mix has created the solid foundation for over 55 years of performing and competing while allowing for new players to blend into the band.

The band meets on Thursday nights from 6-9 pm at Fairmont United Methodist Church, 2501 Clark Avenue, Raleigh on Thursday evenings. Beginners meet from 5:30-6:00pm and are welcome to stay after. If you are interested in drumming lessons we can connect you with drumming instructors on-line.

Please contact Darrell Thompson at curidin@earthlink.net for more detailed information.

Beginning Bagpiping

A student begins learning on a ‘practice chanter’  before they attempt full pipes.  Once on full pipes the student can advance into the band.  

If you are committed to learning the Bagpipe you will need to purchase a practice chanter. Look for a Dunbar or a Gibson practice chanter.  They run about $80.  Included below are links to those. Avoid Practice Chanters that are cheaper than this as they are difficult to play, not made well, and don’t tune with what the rest of the band plays.

Dunbar Regular Practice Chanter

Gibson Long Practice Chanter

Experienced Pipers and Drummers: If you are an experienced player and are interested in learning more about joining the band, we would love to talk with you.  We practice on Thursday nights near campus in Raleigh, NC from 6-9pm.

Already a Drummer?  Snare drummers with experience in the rudiments of drumming will be taught the Scottish style.  Tenor and bass drummers should have a natural sense of rhythm.  

Please contact Darrell Thompson at curidin@earthlink.net  if you’re interested in joining the band.



Hire : Interested in hearing the pipes at your next event?  Bagpipe music adds a special flair to any occasion.  We have experienced pipers and drummers who can perform solo, as a mini-band or as a full pipe band.   We are based out of the Raleigh/Durham area, but can  travel out of the area for performances.  To learn more about how we can add to your upcoming event, please contact our Business Manager, John Saxon at ncsupandd@gmail.com

Band Membership: Interested in joining the band? Contact our Band Director; Darrell Thompson directly at curidin@earthlink.net.

Contact Us: Or fill out this contact form and tell us a little about you and your Pipe Band experience.

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In the fall of 1968, Ted Tonkinson, an NCSU graduate student, ran a small ad in the Technician seeking those interested in forming a bagpipe band.  Among those responding to the ad was another graduate student, Bob Howland, both an accomplished piper and an experienced percussionist.  Together, they started the NCSU Pipes and Drums as a student activity.

In 1977, the band opened up to people from outside the University which allowed several strong alumni pipers to continue playing. Under the leadership of John Sprague, the numbers rose from one band of 12 musicians in 1977 to three bands (Grades III, IV, and V) of 42 musicians by 1997.  During this period, the band was a consistent winner on the competition circuit.  In 2005, the City of Oaks Pipe Band merged with the NCSU Pipes and Drums, forming one strong band for the triangle area.  

By 2012, the band was made up of 50% students and NCSU alumni and 50% community members.  It consisted of about 60 musicians, divided amongst four groups:  a beginning chanter class; a performing group that did not compete; a Grade IV band; and a Grade III band.  The competing bands entered 7 to 8 competitions each year at highland games.  John Sprague retired from his role of Director at the end of 2012 after 35 years of dedicated service.

Currently the band is under the leadership of Pipe Major Ken Hanson and Band Director Darrell Thompson. The band competes in Grade V at several Highland games, marches in parades and plays concerts at various venues through out the year. Check our events calendar to come listen to the band.


Band Directors

1968-1970 – Ted Tonkinson
1970-1977 – Bob Howland
1977-2012 – John Sprague
2013-present – Darrell Thompson

Pipe Majors

  • 1968-1970 – Ted Tonkinson
  • 1970-1977 – Bob Howland
  • 1977-1986 – John Sprague
  • 1986-1991 – Joseph Seibert
  • 1991-2006 – Howard Sanford
  • 2006-2008 – John Sprague
  • 2008–2011 – Steve Fisher
  • 2011–2012 – Jerry Finegan
  • 2006-2021 – Ken. Hanson
  • 2022-present – Darrell Thompson

Drum Sergeants

1984-2012 – John Sprague
1986-1992 – Billy Payne
1992-2008 – Price Oman
2002-2005 – Logan Buck
2008-2010 – Carter Neely
2010-2011 – Brian Deimling
2011-2019 – Julie Southwick
2019-present – Colin Lee