Leaders of the Pack: the Notre Dame Bagpipe Band

Author: Sarah Rodts

It is a distinct, unmistakable sound that can be heard all across campus just over two hours prior to kick-off on home game Saturdays. The Notre Dame Bagpipe Band’s rendition of “Scotland the Brave” has become Notre Dame’s battle hymn in a way, as it is the song played to lead the Fighting Irish Football team into the Stadium.


The kilt clad group of fourteen who plays this song to clear the path from the Library to the gates of the Stadium is unique not only in its collective ability to play the ancient bagpipe and accompanying drums, but also in that it is composed of both Notre Dame students and Faculty. The Bagpipe Band is an important and loved part of Game Day (especially by the Game Day Operations staff!) and we think it is about time you meet this kilted crew:

Colin Patience

Year: Senior, 2014

Hometown: Apple Valley, MN

Colin is the Captain of the Bagpipe Band and he has 7 years of playing the bagpipes under his belt. His favorite part of Game Day is piping the football team into the stadium and heading out to the tailgates with family and friends.

Dan Gezelter

Department: Chemistry & Biochemistry

Hometown: South Bend, IN

Dan is an Associate Professor in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at Notre Dame. He has been playing the bagpipes for 30 years and is able to offer his experience and expertise to his fellow pipers. For Dan the best part of Game Day is when the Bagpipe Band warms up outside of Washington Hall before the performances begin.

Aedan Cannon

Year: Junior, 2015

Hometown: Ridgewood, NJ

With a name like his, he was destined to play the bagpipes. Aedan has been piping for 10 years and this is his third season with the band. He most enjoys marching in the player walk, a beloved tradition at Notre Dame that has been enhanced with the addition of the Bagpipe Band.

James Burke

Year: Freshman, 2017

Hometown: East Islip, NY

Although he is one of the youngest members of the band, James still brings 6 years of experience playing the bagpipes to the band. In his first season as a student, James has found his favorite part of Game Day to be the vibrant spirit that can be found throughout the campus.

Jacob Ricci

Year: Freshman, 2017

Hometown: Brookfield, WI

When you hear the snare drums roll just before the bagpipes begin the play, one of them is being played by Jacob. He has been playing the snare drum for 6 years and this is his first season with the Bagpipe Band. He most enjoys celebrating an Irish win with family and friends on Game Day.

Dan Brown

Year: Senior, 2014

Hometown: Ashburn, VA

Dan began to play the snare drum 2 years ago and he is key member of the Bagpipe Band. His favorite part of Game Day is the Player Walk, which makes us at Game Day happy to know the band enjoys this tradition as much as we do!

James Elliot

Year: Sophomore, 2016

Hometown: Bellmore, NY

James has been playing the bagpipes for 9 years and this is his second season with the Bagpipe Band. Similar to many of his fellow band mates, the Player Walk is James’ favorite part of Game Day.

Dan Suma

Year: Sophomore, 2016

Hometown: Rochester Hills, MI

Having played the bagpipes for only one year, Dan has had some excellent teachers in his fellow band mates. Dan’s favorite part of Game Day is the Glee Club pregame concert.

Dan Lynch

Year: Sophomore, 2016

Hometown: Perkasie, PA

Dan has also had great leadership and teaching for his first year playing the bagpipes. Who better to learn from than the Notre Dame Bagpipe Band? Dan’s favorite Game Day tradition is the Marching Band concert on the steps of Bond Hall. After you catch the Player Walk, make sure you make your way over to see Dan’s favorite Game Day activity.

Dylan Klee

Year: Sophomore, 2016

Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Dylan has been playing the bagpipes for 3 years. For him the best part of Game Day is waking up to his dorm mates running through the hallways at 8 AM screaming, “WAKE UP, IT’S GAMEDAY!” Dylan, we think you should join them in their wake-up ritual by adding in the sweet sound of the bagpipes.

Brandon Peterson

Year: 2007, MTS 2009, PhD 2014

Hometown: Cedar Rapids, IA

Brandon, who is on his way to becoming a triple Domer, plays the snare drum in the Bagpipe Band. Having been a Notre Dame student first in the Fall of 2003, Brandon has seen the enhancements that have been made to Game Day AND he is part of one. Brandon has been playing for the past 10 years and his favorite part of Game Day is experiencing ND touchdowns. Spoken like a true Domer, Brandon!

Joseph Hess

Year: Law School 2nd year, 2015

Hometown: Dayton, OH,

To add to the group’s diversity, Joseph is one of two Law students in the Bagpipe Band. He has been playing the tenor drum for 2 years and he most enjoys the excitement and enthusiasm of the fans on Game Day.

Graeme Quinn

Year: Law School 2nd year, 2015

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Graeme is the second Law student in the Bagpipe Band. When you feel yourself shake a bit as the Bagpipe Band passes by playing, that is thanks to Graeme! He plays the bass drum, which he has been doing for the past two years. Graeme’s favorite part of Game Day is the Player Walk.

Dominic Vachon

Department: M.Div, PhD: Ruth Hillebrand Center for Compassionate Care in Medicine, Preprofessional Studies Department

Hometown: Ft. Pierce, FL

Rounding out the group is Dr. Vachon who brings the most years of bagpipe playing experience to the band, as he has been playing for 31 years. His favorite part of Game Day is joining with his band mates to lead the team into the Stadium.

To the Notre Dame Bagpipe Band:

On behalf of the entire Game Day Operations team, thank you for you dedication to and enthusiasm for Game Day! We are incredibly grateful for the opportunity to work with such a fantastic crew. See you on Saturday!

-The Game Day team

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