Mark lands dream job on airwaves

Mark Wilson, the new presenter of Pipes & Drums.
Mark Wilson, the new presenter of Pipes & Drums.
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Waringstown drummer Mark Wilson has landed his dream radio job, presenting a programme he used to listen to in hushed reverence as a child.

Mark is at the helm for the long-running BBC Radio Ulster programme Pipes & Drums having taken over from the legendary Tommy Millar.

He said: “For me, in terms of radio this is the dream job - to present a programme I’ve listened to for 30 to 40 years.

“It was kind of like a religion in our house. When Tommy Millar’s show came on a hush fell over the house. We all sat quietly and listened to the show.

“A measure of my success will be if I can get people to sit quietly and listen.”

He continued: “Tommy’s are very big boots to fill. I’ve known him for a very long time. And before I met him I was listening to him on the radio every week.

“He presented the show for over 30 years. To get to follow in his footsteps is a real feather in the cap.”

Mark continued: “The show focuses on music of Scottish origins. It features a combination of live recordings from competitions that have taken place this year and album tracks.

“In order to bring my own thing to the show I’m hoping to have some studio guests further down the line.”

Mark has been involved in competition pipe bands for over 30 years, spending the majority of that time playing in the very top echelons of Grade One with the Royal Ulster Constabulary Pipe Band and the Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band.

During that time he won numerous championships, including five Scottish, four British, three European, four Cowal and five World Championship titles along with nine Ulster and five All Ireland Championships.

More recently Mark has been involved in the adjudication side of the pipe band competition scene, judging throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA. He is a full time professional drummer and percussionist who travels the globe performing, teaching, recording and adjudicating.

Mark is one of the busiest drummers you’re ever likely to meet. He recently returned from Switzerland where he was taking part in a tattoo and after recording a couple more radio shows he’ll be heading to the US, Austria and Germany for more drum-related activities.

He said: “I have a house in Waringstown and I call it home, but I spend more time on the road that I do there.

“I’m very lucky to be able to make a living doing the thing that I love and present a programme about it.”

Pipes & Drums is on Radio Ulster on Sundays at 4.30pm and repeated on Tuesdays at 7.30pm.