George M. Bell, 1926-2010 (updated)
We regret to report the passing on January 16, 2010, of George M. Bell, one of the most important piping figures in the North America, at age 83, after several years of intermittent illness.
Originally from Glasgow, Bell started with pipe bands as a drummer in the local Boys’ Brigade band, but then progressed to the pipes, studying with Robert Hardie and Donald MacLeod. He immigrated to the United States, settling in New Jersey where he started the Kenmure Pipe Band in 1953. The band went on to win nine Eastern United States Championships in Grade 1.
He was an active and successful competitor in the United States for many years, and served with the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association, which he was directly involved in starting in 1964. He worked in various capacities with the EUSPBA, including Chairman of its Judges’ Committee. He worked to establish and implement the assocaitaion’s judging accreditation program.
George Bell was perhaps best known for his teaching, and leaves behind a long list of accomplished pipers, including his sons, Jimmy and Duncan, and Derek Midgley and Bobby Durning, two rising stars on the solo scene. His other two sons, Gordon and Donald are prominent pipe band drummers.
The Metro Cup piping competitions, held annually in New Jersey, instituted the Pipe-Major George M. Bell Amateur Championship several years ago in tribute to his impact on the eastern U.S. piping and drumming scene.
The viewing will be on Thursday, January 21, 2-4 pm 7-9 pm at Rezem Funeral Home, 457 Cranbury Road, East Brunswick, New Jersey. The funeral will be on Friday, January 22, in South Amboy, New Jersey.
Our condolences go to George Bell’s family and many friends at this sad time.