"God-like sounding bagpipe"; "best on the field today"; "best sounding bagpipe by far". These are what top judges of bagpipes have said about Jon. Whether it's the late world class teacher and piper Ed Neigh, world class piper and judge, Colin MacLellan, or Sandy Jones: all agree that Jon's bagpipe itself is world class.
Jon Shell has piped for celebrities such as Rod Stewart, Mrs. Bing Crosby, Kathy Lee Gifford, Bob Hope, Michael Jordan, Pat Boone, Jose Ferrar, Elizabeth Taylor and John Warner among others. The Biltmore House, Pinehurst, Spoleto and the Bing Crosby Golf Tournament are among the places and events that he has performed in addition to two World's Fairs. He has appeared on national television on the Turner South Network on Liars and Legends, Portrait of America and other programs. Jon has appeared in countless publications including the Wall Street Journal, who named him a "virtuoso grade 1 piper"; Mississippi Magazine, Newsweek, Time, US News World Report, USA Today and others.
Timmy Krintz and Harvey Ritch started Jon out locally near Banner Elk, NC in the late 70's. Jon moved to the Washington, DC area in order to take private lessons with Pipe Major Sandy Jones at age 11.
He also received instruction from Sandy Jones and John MacFayden at the North American Academy of Piping. He also was taught by Ed Neigh, Duncan MacFayden, Hamilton Workman, Captain John A. MacLellan, Ed Krintz and Roddy MacDonald.
He has either won or been in the prize list for piping contests in EUSPBA sanctioned games throughout the east coast, in grade 2 and 1, as the overall season winner in grade 2 and runner up in grade 1, overall season runner-up in Grade 1 for several years running.
Jon has won major events including the MacCrimmon Quaich and countless Piper of the Day trophies. Jon won a full scholarship to Belhaven College for his piping.
He was the grade 1 Piobaireachd (classical music) winner at Grandfather Mountain for several years running.
Jon has been the Pipe Sergeant of the Grandfather Mountain Highlanders, who just won the 2011 Champion of Champions Grade 4 Pipe Band in the EUSPBA. He was also the Pipe Sergeant of the band when they won Champion of Champions in Grade 2 in 1986. Jon has been the Pipe Sergeant of the GMH on several runs to Maxville, Ontario in both grade 2 and 3, where band won 2nd to St. Thomas, among other prizes. Jon has been in the prize list for solos at Maxville, Ontario in grade 1 also.
Jon also helped lead the Grandfather band to compete in the World Pipe Band Championships, where the band won their qualifier in 2010. While the band didn't win the final, the band went on to place among the top 11 in the World in gr 4A. In 2015, Jon also won the Over 50 Championship for the Southeastern Branch of the Eastern United States Pipe Band Association.
Jon most recently piped with the St. Andrews University Pipe Band as a guest piper for 2 years with his friend Bill Caudill. Jon teaches private piping lessons and teaches piping at the North American Academy of Piping and Drumming during the summers. Jon is vocationally a teacher in public schools and teaches handgun carry classes in Tennessee.