On April 23, Kevin Watkins’10 returned to Ship to perform at the annual Luhrs Center Circle of Friends, which honors those dedicated to supporting programs at the Luhrs Performing Arts Center. The evening featured a meet and greet with the Piano Guys, who spoke on the importance of music education and the art’s ability to combat mental health issues. This was then followed by a performance by the Piano Guys along with a bagpipe demonstration by Watkins and several members of the Ulster Scottish Pipe Band.


Watkins has come a long way since his time at Ship, and the university is honored to recognize his performance at the Luhrs Center and his journey to success.

Watkins began his musical background at the age of four with the piano and eventually went on to learn how to play around 30 different instruments. He was an active member of Ship’s drumline in the SU Marching Band and had a strong interest in learning how to play the bagpipes, although he didn’t start learning how to play until eight months after graduating from Ship.

Initially, Watkins trained with the Prince George’s County Police Pipe Band, and from there he transitioned to playing in the MacMillian-Dunn grade five competition pipe band. During his time in both bands, he played as a snare drummer while learning how to play the pipes. Watkins progressed quickly and started fully playing the bagpipe within four short months. Now, he instructs the Fire Brigade Pipes and Drums of Greater Baltimore and the Montgomery County Firefighter Pipes and Drums, all while playing for the Ulster Scottish Pipe Band, a grade two band that is one of the top five in the US.

His craft has taken him to acclaimed events, including WWE Wrestle Mania. Notably, Watkins performed with his band at the National Pipe Band Competition in Glasgow, Scotland, where they earned the highest rank for an American band.


Ship is proud to have had Watkins perform at the Luhrs Center, and in addition to his musical achievements the university is equally as proud to recognize his professional success. He earned his bachelor’s degree in geography with a concentration in geography information systems (GIS) and worked as an aeronautical information specialist at the Federal Aviation Administration. Watkins stated that he “would not be where he is today” without the mentorship of Ship’s faculty. He gave a special shout out to professors Scott Drzyzga and George Pomeroy, for helping him find a passion in geography and for enriching his worldview.

His musical and professional achievements, highlighted by his performance at the Luhrs Center exemplify the success at Ship education can help to create.

Check out The Ulster Scottish Pipe Band’s winning medley run and winning MSR run (March, Strathspey and Reel) from the American Championships in Norfolk, Virginia.

Click here to see the Luhrs Center’s upcoming events.