Nicholson Pipes & Drums

PIPE MAJOR: Robert Hackney
DRUM SARGEANT: Malcolm Willis
FOUNDER: Kathleen Nicholson Graham

Clan MacNicol is very proud to have the Nicholson Pipes & Drums as the official pipe band of our Clan.  They are an award winning organization and have attended events as far away as Scotland in support of Scottish heritage and Clan activities.

The Nicholson Pipes and Drums, founded in 1981, is Orange County’s own Scottish bagpipe band. Based in Westminster, California, this all-volunteer 501-C3 non-profit musical organization has earned a reputation for excellence, in both performance and demeanor, at Scottish festivals and special events locally and abroad.

The Nicholson Pipes and Drums band was founded in 1981 by Pipe Major Kathleen Nicholson Graham. The band was named in honor of her father, Pipe Major Malcolm Nicholson, by her bagpipe students who wanted to carry on his legacy. From 1937 through the early 70s Pipe Major Malcolm Nicholson founded many championship pipe bands in Vancouver B.C., Canada. In 1978 he was awarded the highest civilian award, the "CANADA MEDAL" by the Prime Minister of Canada.

The Nicholson Pipe band is kept busy carrying on the Nicholson legacy. performing at conventions, weddings, birthdays, memorial services, golf tournaments, and community events. The band also has the distinction of winning numerous awards at parades and pipe band competitions throughout California.

Some of the events the band has performed at since their inception in 1981 include:  the introduction of the Tiger Shark fighter jet at Northrop/Grumman Aircraft; the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics; the Grand Re-Opening of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA; and an LPGA Golf Tournament. The band represented the United States at the 1986 World Exposition in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. In 1996 the band was honored to be chosen by the City of Westminster to represent them in Fort Worth, Texas, where the band’s performances helped the city win the honor and selection as an "All American City" by the National Civic League. The band's television and screen credits include appearing on a nationally televised game show and with Mike Myers on an MTV promo for the movie "So I Married an Axe Murderer". The band had the honor of performing for former President Ronald Reagan and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

The Nicholson Pipes and Drums is the official pipe band of Clan MacNicol, and proudly wear the red MacNicol tartan. In 1992 the band was honored by an invitation of the Clan Chief, Iain MacNeacail of MacNeacail and Scorrybreac to perform at the clan gathering in Portree on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. The band was invited again to represent the Clan MacNicol at the 1998 Stone Mountain Highland Gathering near Atlanta, Georgia.

The band went to Scotland in 2006 and competed at the World Pipe Band Championships. Since 1985, the band has been under the direction of Pipe Major Robert Hackney and Drum Sergeant Malcolm B. Willis (Son of Pipe Major Kathleen Graham).

The Nicholson Pipes and Drums recording credits include two CDs that they have produced themselves. Nicholson Pipes and Drums and By Request are both fan favorites and top-selling pipe band recordings throughout Southern California.

The Clan regrets the recent loss of the founder of the Nicholson Pipes and Drums, Pipe Major Kathleen Nicholson Graham who passed away on August 30, 2012. The band has produced two acclaimed CD's and will always be a positive living memorial for Kathleen as her former student, Pipe Major Robert Hackney and her son, Drum Sergeant Malcolm Willis will carry on this band's positive winning legacy.