Davidson Scottish Arts Academy educates and inspires performing artists toward personal growth through commitment to excellence in the musical and dance traditions of Scotland.
Robert Paul Robertson was born in Scotland and emigrated to the United States on August 15, 1917. Having begun his education at Queen Victoria School, an independent school in Dunblane, Scotland, it was only natural for him to continue his education at a private institution. On September 19, 1917, Colonel Royal Page Davidson recorded the enrollment of Cadet Robertson at Northwestern Military and Naval Academy in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Robbie, as he was known, was a bagpiper and Headmaster Davidson, being a proud Scottish descent himself, immediately invested Cadet Robertson as a conspicuous part of the academy’s field music program. From then on, piping became a fixture at the academy and all of its functions. The program continued to flourish and in 1995, when Northwestern Military and Naval Academy merged with St. John’s Military Academy on the campus in Delafield, Wisconsin, the tradition of the pipes moved as well. Known today as The Pipes and Drums of St. Johns Northwestern Military Academy, the centenary year will begin in the fall of 2017.
With a rich tradition of piping and drumming on campus as a fully accredited music education program, it was natural for this to extend into offerings beyond the cadet courses of the academic terms. After hosting a number of other camps, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy established its own piping and drumming extension in the fall of 2015. Upon the determination of the founding directors, with the assistance of President Jack H. Albert, Jr., D.Min., and the approval of the Board of Trustees, the new program was named to memorialize the family who had initiated the program nearly a century before. The aptly named Davidson Scottish Arts Academy honors the headmaster who saw in a young man the opportunity to celebrate the rich musical traditions of their shared homeland as part of the fabric of their American academic institution.
The history of piping and drumming is a long and storied one with many tales like the one of our founding. The continued dedication to educating people in these Scottish arts will ensure that this history continues to flourish and create new stories to be recorded with centuries of those gone by, most especially the one which has brought us here to this program and our cultural educational community.