Band Member Bios

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Mike Watson

Retired from Ag Sales and now work part-time in my woodshop and handyman business.  I enjoy fishing, kayaking and visiting 12 grandchildren.  I've been in the pipe band since 2005 and served as the Pipe Major the last few years.

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Joshua Poencet

Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band Snare Sargent

Husband, Dad, Bad Pun Coinsurer, Drum & Bicycle Enthusiast, Kilt wearer, Justice Advocate, Mixtape Officianodo, I'm not smart, I just wear glasses. 

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Steve Franks

Steve is our current band manager.  He was born and raised in Rochester and retired as a sergeant from the Rochester Police Department.  He became interested in piping as a member of the departments’ Honor Guard and has been piping for 20 years.  

"The pipes have a long history in the military, police and fire and it’s an honor to be preserving it."   

When he’s not mowing around his 140 black walnut trees he enjoys hunting, fishing, cycling and a little bit of woodworking.

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John Thistle

Began the band with The Mantorville Grenadiers 1971. Joined Mayo Gastroenterology-Hepatology staff 1969. Retired as Emeritus Professor of Medicine 2000 but continued to see my established patients until 2009.  In addition to piping, hobbies include sailing (built a 16’ sailboat), old cars (have 1931,37,& 47), fly & spin fishing, history, medicine/science. Participation in the band has provided invaluable comradeship and the opportunity to play and enjoy great music, all major sources of pleasure in my life!

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Bob Schmidt

Bob retired from IBM in 2012 (40 years) and has not looked. back.  He began piping in 2007 and joined the Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band the following year.  Besides piping, Bob enjoys pheasant hunting with his pointer Dixie, fishing, golfing, woodworking and volunteering with his wife Virginia.  Bob and Virginia have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.  Bob appreciates the camaraderie of RCPB and seeing new members grow into skills and adaptation to the band.

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Ryan Keller

My name is Ryan and I've been with the band since January 2021 as the bass drummer.  I am a supervisor in the healthcare industry and I have lots of side hustles.  In my spare time I spend time with my wife, two daughters, drive limo, crew for hot air balloons, officiate high school basketball, and am President of the Bolder Options advisory Board, which mentors youth in Rochester, Minneapolis and St. Paul.  I'm just living the dream to get involved with everything to create memories and experiences.  I'll sleep when I'm dead.

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Dave Driscoll

Dr. Driscoll is Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and practiced pediatric cardiology for 42 years.  David has played the bagpipes for 30 years.  He enjoys the camaraderie of the band.

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Ewan Ferguson

I grew up in Canada, and learned to play the pipes starting in 1974 at the age of 10, through an organization called the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.  Played with Grade 3 pipe bands in Ontario before taking a 16 year hiatus from band piping.  Moved to Minnesota in 1996, and resumed playing in 2002 with Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band, and Minnesota Pipes and Drums.  When I'm not piping,  I teach middle school for a living, and enjoy nature photography and outdoor activities.   Playing with the pipe band is a great social activity that also affords  opportunities to go places and meet people that I might not otherwise.  I find playing the pipes is catharsis for our sometimes hectic world.

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Carol Jaquith

I'm retired from the Healthcare Industry.  Been with the band since 2013.  My interests are: officiating high school volleyball and girls fast pitch, boating, kayaking, cycling, fishing and photography.  I'm also the Quartermaster for the band.

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Jeff Ihrke

Band member since 2013.  Retired after 37 years at a small local utility.  I enjoy piping with the band (of course!), hunting, fishing, camping, 1950's sci-fi movies, reading books on history and science and occasional fiction, astronomy, the North Shore, working in the yard, woodworking, putzing around the house and garage.

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Jim Pittenger

I’m retired after 32 years with the Rochester Police Department. I’ve lived in St. Paul since 2015, but continue to play with RCPB.  I took my first chanter lesson in 2001. I played briefly with RCPB starting in 2003. After taking several years off, I re-joined the band about 10 years ago. What I’ve enjoyed most about playing with RCPB is the band camaraderie. Although we each get our share of “helpful suggestions,” everyone is accepted as part of the Rochester bagpipe family.  When I’m not playing with the band or practicing bagpipes, I enjoy playing and listening to other music. I also spend time hiking, biking, and kayaking.

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Ted Schmidt

Ted has been a drummer with the Pipe Band since 2012. He’s the morning and noon meteorologist on the local NBC affiliate KTTC. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Cara, and his two daughters. When he’s not trying to keep up with the girls’ many activities, he enjoys home brewing.

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Dee Voldal

Applied Math major, retired computer programmer, and current multi-faceted volunteer. In addition to pipes, I like to hike, garden, read, make cards, make soap, and play piano. My husband and I used to attend a parade based on whether the RCPB was marching because we so enjoyed their music. I’m tickled to now be part of that band! I took chanter class in 2017 and joined the circle in 2019.

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Grace Walterman

I started lessons with the Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band in 2015 at the age of 11 playing the tenor drum. I’ve continued with my lessons and participating in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, Parades and Cancer Telethon. I also had the opportunity to participate at the Minnesota Scottish Festival and took 1st Place in tenor drumming in my division. I’ve also play the flute with my high school band, play softball and am a member of the FFA. I have enjoyed playing with everyone for many years and I can’t wait for many more years to come!

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Jim Hoyer

I have been with the band for almost 4 years, since the chanter class of October 2017. I am a physician at Mayo Clinic in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and have been there for 28 years. In addition to bagpipes, my hobbies include traveling, guitar, judging figure skating, golf, and reading on a variety of topics. I am Scottish on my mother’s side and so have always loved hearing the pipe bands in parades.

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Kim Harris

My love of double reed instruments started with the oboe in high school. Naturally, when a friend told me she was taking the 2017 Community Ed chanter class, I decided to join her. I was excited to buy my pipes in 2018 and have loved making music with others. There’s nothing quite like the experience of playing tunes in the circle.

I spend my days as a Technical Specialist in the division of Laboratory Genetics and Genomics at Mayo. I have two sons who keep my husband and I quite busy, but I still make time for horseback riding, reading and cycling.

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Robert Joyce

I am a retired healthcare executive with over 40 years of service in healthcare systems including the Mayo Clinic.  In addition to the saxophone, my musical interests also includes blues/rock guitar and classical Spanish guitar.  For me, the bagpipes offer a truly enjoyable musical exploration of my Celtic heritage while playing with a wonderful group of new friends!

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John Flesner

Started bass and tenor in 1972 with Omaha Pipes and Drums. Moved a lot, played with a number of different bands over the years. Grade 1 competition band member and grade 1 individual.
Alternate on the US javelin catching team, enjoy long walks on the beach, favorite color is clear.

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Jay Schmoll

No Bio Available

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Craig Mann

NO BIO Available