Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival

Saturday March 17, 2018 10:00AM

2018 Grand Marshal - Bill Leslie


Bill Leslie is an Emmy Award winning journalist and internationally acclaimed musician and composer.

Bill has won more 80 major news awards including two Peabody Awards, considered the Pulitzer Prize of broadcasting, along with five Emmys.  As a veteran anchorman and environmental reporter for WRAL Television in Raleigh, Bill has produced more than a dozen award-winning documentaries including "Troubled Rivers" which won the National Society of Professional Journalists Distinguished Public Service Award.  Bill's radio series and documentaries including "The Five Faces of Poverty" and "Victims" won The Edward R. Murrow Award, The Robert F. Kennedy Award, The National Headliner Award, the duPont-Columbia Award and the National Gavel Award.

Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma called Leslie "one of the greats in modern Celtic music." All eight of the CDs produced by Bill have hit at or near the top of the world music charts including the 2015 release Across the Water which was inspired by a trip to Ireland.  On May 17, 2014 in New Orleans Leslie's album Scotland:  Grace of the Wild was named world radio Album of the Year by Zone Music Reporter which tracks international air play.  Leslie's A Midnight Clear-Christmas in Mitford hit number one on the world music charts in December of 2011. In 2010 Leslie's Simple Beauty album hit the top of the charts in September and was named Best Acoustic Instrumental Album of the Year. Blue Ridge Reunion released in 2008 also peaked at number one on the world music charts in September and was also voted as the Best Acoustic Instrumental Album worldwide by international radio hosts.   Bill's first solo release, Peaceful Journey, hit number one on the New Age Reporter world music charts in December 2004, while his Christmas in Carolina and I Am a River albums peaked at number two in the international music rankings.  Christmas in Carolina album was also named 2005 "Best Holiday Album."  Leslie, who plays guitar, piano and Celtic whistle was named "Best New Artist" worldwide by the NAR in 2005.  Bill currently plays with the Raleigh based Celtic/Folk ensemble "Lorica." 

Bill's orchestral composition Tall Ships was named the official song of the 2006 America Parade of Sail featuring majestic ships from around the world.  Bill's music has been performed by the North Carolina Symphony and the Tar River Philharmonic Orchestra.

Bill is also a popular story teller and author of a book featuring his father's watercolors of Western North Carolina.  His hobbies include running, photography and visiting national parks.  He is an elder at Cary Presbyterian Church.

Bill is a graduate of University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.  His roots run deep in Tar Heel soil.  Bill's North Carolina ancestry spans five generations.  His great, great, great, great grandfather Charles McDowell was a hero in the Revolutionary War.  Bill lives in Cary, N.C. with his wife Cindy, a speech pathologist.  Their children are Lauren Wolf, an elementary school teacher and Will, a video specialist.