MMA cadet takes first place in pipe band competition

MMA cadet takes first place in pipe band competition

On April 7, Cadet Pipe Major Clayton Nelson was announced the winner in the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association Ohio Valley Virtual Piping Competition.

Through the competition, Nelson three won first place in the piobaireachd, 2/4 march, strathspey and reel, and the jig, all at grade 3 level. He also took third place in the 6/8 march.

For the EUSPBA Ohio Valley Virtual Piping Competition, Nelson submitted video recordings of his piping performance on the weekend of March 26, prior to spring break.

“Cadet Nelson won the overall in his grade against formidable opposition on the East Coast,” said pipe major Brian Donaldson, MMA’s bagpipe instructor, who previously ran the pipe and drums program at St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Wisconsin. “He is a talented piper.”

Nelson is a member of the Midwest Pipe Band Association (MWPBA) and is the former Midwest junior champion, and grade 4 champion supreme. He is also a member of the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band in Toronto, Canada.

He is the son of Dr. Sylvia Minnis-Woelbing and Eric Woelbing of Franksville, Wisconsin.

“Cadet Nelson’s performance was quite impressive and his leadership has inspired other cadets to join our pipe program under the direction of Pipe Major Brian Donaldson. Our goal is to develop and sustain a nationally recognized program while giving our cadets diverse opportunities to grow and learn,” stated MMA president, Brigadier General Richard V. Geraci, USA (Ret).

Nelson has been a member of MMA’s bagpipe program since 2020. One of MMA’s newest additions to the music curriculum, the bagpipe program teaches cadets to master the art of playing the Great Highland Bagpipes.

Cadets begin by learning the intricate finger discipline, the theory of bagpipe music, and how to read and write music in staff notation. Eventually, cadets progress onto familiarizing themselves with the instrument, mastering the blowing technique and playing the bagpipes.

Donaldson leads the bagpipe course with over 40 years piping experience.

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