Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Canada Day!

Photo Credit to Susan Topping

June is almost done and dusted!  Tomorrow will see the start of July and it will get off to a bang with our pipe bands participating in the Canada Day celebrations in North Rustico at 10am.  It is a fantastic parade that brings out the whole North Shore community!

The Highland Storm cast has been diligently rehearsing these past few weeks and preview night is this Sunday and opening night is this Monday!  Paul Simon and Glass Tiger make appearances as well as some contemporary twists on some classic tunes!  To get your tickets to one of the island's best shows, please follow this link:  Don't miss out on the all new production for 2016!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Where Has Time Gone?

It's hard to believe that it is almost the end of June...where has the time gone?  There have been some big changes at The College and as we switch gears into our summer season, it looks like it is full steam ahead. On July 11th, The College will have a new member added to its team.  Roger Downie will be joining us as he takes on the role as Business Manager.  Fun fact:  Roger lives in the next bay over from piping instructor, Kylie MacHattie's parents.  Roger and his wife, Madeline, are moving from Blind Bay, BC to live on our fair isle.  Welcome to the team, Roger!

As mentioned before, there have been some changes at The College.  Here is a message from The College's Principal, James MacHattie:

Change is tough.  But change is inevitable.  We are sad to see Karen Hatcher take off her Executive Director hat and take a rest.  What a fantastic job she has done, though!  The College was in stormy seas before she came, and she leaves us having righted the ship and put us on a course to smoother sailing.  I want so extend a massive thanks to Karen for putting us in a position to move forward, to keep on improving, to do new things, to go new places.  She put our group of instructors and staff together and created a strong and united team.  Together we’ll carry on to make this College as strong and vibrant as it possibly can be.  I am excited about my new role.  It is an expansion of my previous position as Director of Education.  A business manager will be joining our team soon so that I can keep my focus on our educational mandate and look at the big picture, and the future.

This is your College.  I will do everything I can to the best of my abilities in my evolved position to make it everything you want it to be.  I’m here for you, just as Karen has been, and as all the other instructors and staff are too.

It's been a while since there has been a blog but that doesn't mean that there hasn't been anything going on!  We've had a joint fundraising concert with the dancers and pipe bands, the year end recital has come and gone and the start of the highland games season is upon us with the Moncton Highland Games.  Photos and results from all these events can be found by following these links: and  

Highland Storm rehearsals are now in full swing, er, step!  Ryan MacNeil has returned as Director of the all new 2016 production.  He has travelled all the way from South Africa where he now resides with his wife and our former highland dance instructor, Kearsney MacNeil, to make sure that it is the best show yet!  Here is a message from Ryan:

It's hard to believe that another year has passed already and another exciting season of Highland Storm will soon be starting.  This will be my fifth season of Highland Storm. How time flies.  I've watched many of our beginner performers turn into world class musicians and entertainers.  Last September, my wife Kearsney and I flew to the Southern Hemisphere and made South Africa our home. It has been an inspiring place to create music to say the least.  Throughout the winter months in Canada, I made our creative team a little jealous of the lovely weather from my new country of residence.  It's amazing how small the world has become with technology on our side. I have to thank the creative team for their tireless efforts, even with a full teaching schedule.  This year's show has great new surprises and traditional favourites as well.  The excitement is building each and every day! Bring your family and friends to the best Highland Storm to date!

Preview night is fast approaching on July 3rd and the show will run through until August 18th.  For the full Highland Storm schedule and to purchase tickets, please follow this link:  

Monday, June 13, 2016

Request for Proposals

The College is planning ahead.... Here is a request for proposals for consulting services for a Specialized Celtic Performing Arts Venue!

Request for Proposals

Consultant Services
for the
The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada
Specialized Celtic Performing Arts Venue
Summerside, PEI.
Date for Submission of proposals: 
Prior to 2:00 p.m. AST, June 24, 2016
Prepared by:
The College of Piping and Celtic Performance Arts of Canada
619 Water Street East
Summerside, PE
C1N 4H8

Date:  June 13, 2016

1.                  Background

2014 was the 25th anniversary of The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada as a registered Canadian charity and a non-profit organization. It has developed a world-class reputation as an international school of excellence in Highland bagpiping, Scottish-style snare drumming, Highland dancing, Island step dancing and it is the only year round school of its kind in North America. At The College of Piping we are committed to inspiring interest and excellence among youth in the performing arts, enhancing appreciation of culture and heritage, and encouraging active community engagement and in 2015 we will continue that endeavor. Today, more than ever, young people need opportunities to discover and nurture their artistic talents with the support of positive adults and peers.  The College of Piping provides that support.
The College of Piping’s mission is to “inspire excellence in Celtic performing arts through quality educational programming”; therefore the instructors have been selected for their outstanding abilities and credentials as educators, performers and competitors. They engage, inspire and respect students and build a positive environment where they can flourish.
Highland Storm will be on stage again this summer in The College’s outdoor 350-seat covered “Mary Ellen Burns” amphitheatre. This is where the students of The College take their talents to a real stage in front of a live audience.  Highland Storm is the culmination of talent and practice for students as well as hundreds of volunteer hours from parents and people dedicated to the Celtic arts. They do it for their children and for their love of music and dance. 2015 will see another ALL-NEW production, involving the very best in Island talent featuring a cast of thirty – most of which are College students and alum! For the third year in a row, artistic and music direction will again be provided by Ryan MacNeil, a world-renowned keyboarder, piper, bodhran player, tin whistler and member of the Barra MacNeils, it will once again be the “must-see” show on PEI!
The current aging seasonal theatre is in need of replacement.  The College of Piping building and theatre sit on the property PID #’s 72785 and 707919.  The size of these lots are approximately 78 feet wide and 320 feet deep.  The College of Piping is looking to replace the seasonal tent venue with a fixed roof, year round facility for use in Celtic Performing Arts. 

Programmatic needs of the Specialized Performing Arts space.
·         Theatre for our annual main stage production of Highland Storm – 24 performances each July and August

·         Concession Area

·         Coat Check

·         Retractable stadium seating – theatre style seats – 300

·         Male and Female change areas
o   Vanity space for 6
o   15 Lockers/Storage Units – similar to football locker rooms
o   One wall with mirrors
o   Carpet on the floor
o   Sound proof
o   Toilets and sinks – perhaps 2 of each per dressing room

·         Performers lounge area
o   Sound proof
o   Carpeted

·         Tuning room - individual
o   Sound proof

·         Storage Room – A/V
o   Area to storage additional A/V equipment and supplies

·         Large multipurpose tuning room with dividing door
o   Area for pipe band to tune during the show
o   Area for dancers to warm up
o   Dividing door for the space to be used by both
o   Wall of mirrors
o   Sound proof

·         Tech space – at the top of the seating area looking down towards the stage
o   Space to accommodate lighting and sound board
o   Minimum 3 person utilizing space
o   Must be able to be secured/locked

·         3 lighting trusses will be permanently hung
o   2 will be over the stage and easily accessible by ladder
o   1 will be hung over the seating – a cat walk would be convenient

Each year for Highland Storm – a cast and crew of 30 students, instructors and guests utilize the space.  In addition, 15 volunteers work each performance in various jobs from ticket taking, fundraising, concession stand and program distribution.
Other uses planned for the venue:
·         Pipe Band practice space
·         Pipe Band Competitions (winter competitions)
·         Dance Rehearsals
·         Annual Recitals – Christmas and June
·         Christmas Show – Christmas at the College/Highland Storm Christmas
·         Performance venue for touring musicians – Barra MacNeils, John Gracie, etc.
·         Fundraisers

The client is seeking recommendations to replace the existing seasonal facility with a fixed roof venue that can be used for educational purposes, performance purposes, to increase the audience comfort while they experience the performance (audience seating, temperature control and shelter from the elements), to attract new business and to improve efficiencies to reduce operating costs.

2.         Objectives

It is our intention to begin construction in the end of August 2016 and complete construction and be ready for occupancy for April 2017.

3.         Scope of Work

The responsibilities of the successful consultant are summarized as follows:

·         Proposals submitted for Consulting Services for the new project shall include architectural and engineering consulting services in accordance with the schedule of standard services per RAIC Document 6.
·         Proposals are NOT to include costs associated with the following:

.1     Printing tender documents
.2     Project scheduling during construction
.3     HST
                        .4     Site survey
                        .5     Geotechnical investigation
                        .6     Full time site inspection
                        .7     Environmental and hazardous materials assessment.
                        .8     Acoustic consultant (acoustic modelling)
4.         Contents of Submission

The information below should be included in the Consultant’s proposal.

a)      Demonstration of an understanding of the project and a clearly articulated methodology to be employed for completing the work within the required time frame.

b)      An outline of the consultants experience with similar or related consultation exercises.

c)      A Proposed Cost providing a fixed quotation for the work. The fixed quotation must include fees and expenses but can exclude HST. Quotation must include fixed lump sum fees and anticipated expenses related to the assignment.

5.         Evaluation of Proposals

The Client will evaluate the proposals based on a variety of factors as shown in the chart below (total maximum score = 100 points). The evaluation criteria and points assigned identify the weighted importance of each factor to be used in the evaluation process.

Evaluation Criteria and Maximum Points Assigned
Comprehension (15 points)

A clear understanding of the intent of the process and a description of how the Consultant will gather information as it relates to the scope of the work and the CAS project.
Methodology (25 points)

A description of the overall approach and methodology to be followed in completing all aspects of the assignment in detail sufficient to permit the Steering Committee to understand and evaluate how the work will be carried out.

Schedule (15 points)

An outline to complete the work as it has been defined.

Company/Project Team Experience (25 points)

A description of the capabilities, relevant experience and overall qualifications of the Project Manager and other team members, specifically in relation to experience with government funding, programs and services, rural businesses, and regional economic development agencies.                                                  

Submission (5 points)

General format and appearance of submission.
Financial Proposal (15 points)     

The financial proposal must include a firm total cost for the project and be within budget.

6.         Budget

The construction budget for the project, including construction, site work and contingencies is approximately $2.5 million.

Budget control will require accurate cost estimates at appropriate stages of design.  In addition the Prime Consultant should have in-house expertise to review, validate, and approve any proposed change orders without the aid of the Cost Consultant.

7.         Time Frame

Subject to provision of funding it is anticipated the project will be implemented to meet the following milestones, where possible target dates are to be improved:

Consultant Selection
June 24, 2016
Consultant familiarization with project requirements, Program and user groups

Complete construction Tender Packages
June 24, 2016 2:00 p.m.
August 2016 – April 2017
Commissioning and Training

May 2017

The assignment will be awarded on June 24, 2016. 

8.       Professional Liability Insurance

Firms or individuals submitting proposals are required to maintain Commercial General Liability Insurance subject to limits of not less than $2,000,000 inclusive per occurrence for bodily injury including death and property damage.  Such insurance shall have wordings at least as broad as the standard Insurance Bureau of Canada working for Commercial General Liability.

In addition firms or individuals submitting proposals are required to maintain Professional Liability Insurance for errors and omissions, with limits of not less than $2,000,000 per occurrence and a $2,000,000 aggregate.

Both insurances required above shall be with insurers licensed to do business in Prince Edward Island and reasonably satisfactory to College Certificates of Insurance for both these liability insurance policies must be submitted immediately subsequent to acceptance of the proposal and at least prior to any fee payments.  It shall be the Owner’s right, but not obligation to request certified copies of both the insurance policies or originals for review, but such review shall not be interpreted that the Consultant has complied with the requirements of the RFP (Agreement)

9.       Instructions for Submission of Proposals

One electronic copy in MS Word Format is to be received by The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada  no later than 2 p.m. AST on Friday, June 24, 2016 at the following email address:

Attention:  James MacHattie, Principal
Phone:      (902)436-5377

Subject lines are to be clearly marked "Proposal for the Specialized Celtic Performing Arts Venue.”

10.       Conclusion

The client reserves the right to award the contract to the consultant of their choice based on the above noted criteria. The lowest bidder, nor any bidder, has any entitlement to award other than through the process. The client accepts no responsibility for expenses incurred in connection with the bid.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Executive Director, Karen Hatcher and Director of Education, James MacHattie

To my College of Piping family,

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada is the most incredible organization that I have ever had the privilege of being associated with. I am so proud of the team that is in place, the students who work so hard to achieve their goals and inspire excellence and of the parents, volunteers and supporters that make every dream come true for each and every individual that walks through our front doors.

It is hard to believe that I have been at The College of Piping for over 6 years.  I had a five year plan when I arrived in 2010 and my enthusiasm and passion for the organization stretched that 5 years into 6 years.  It is now time for me to bid farewell. 

To each and every one of you I say thank you.  Thank you for your support, your time, your energy and for your dedication to this truly unique facility.  As you all know, every time I talk about The College of Piping, I either start or end my conversation with the fact that this is the only facility of this kind in North America and here we are in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. How exciting is that?!!

The College of Piping has been in operation for coming up to 27 years.  There have been rocky times over the years.  That is understandable for any organization.  What lays ahead for The College of Piping is exciting and I truly believe that the path that has been laid will become worn and travelled as more and more people become engaged.

James and I have worked side by side for the past 6 years.  With the entire team, we have made many changes.  Changes that have improved and strengthened our programs, our connections and our support within the community, across the province, across the country and even internationally.  I took on a project 6 years ago to fix something that was in need of being repaired and I did just that. I am now handing over the reins to one of the best pipers in the world who is so incredibly passionate about this organization and will take The College of Piping to the next level.

We have decided to re-structure the organization to capitalize on James’ strengths by creating the new role of Principal.  He will assemble the team and support that he requires to ensure the vision will continue. I encourage all of you to support James as you have supported me, so that The College of Piping can continue to grow and prosper.

With a heavy heart, I bid farewell but not good bye. I am a piper and will always be a piper.  That will keep me connected with The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada for the rest of my life.  I look forward to staying touch, to continue to support James and his team in any way that I can, to receive newsletters and updates and watch The College of Piping expand and develop in the coming years.

Thank you again for believing in me, supporting me and ultimately making The College of Piping a world class organization where anyone, regardless of age or musical ability, can come to learn Highland Dancing, Step Dancing, Bagpipes or Drums and play in a band!

With great thanks, to one and all,


Monday, May 9, 2016

Great Results from BATD Competition!

Congratulations to the College of Piping Step and Highland Dance Companies who had a successful first day of competition at the BATD Festival of Dance in Halifax today! All of our dancers had great performances and are having lots of fun. A special congratulations goes out to our step dancers: MacKenzie Stewart (gold, solo), Mikaila Murray (silver, solo), Eithne Brydon and Alizée Cyr-Corneault (silver, duet), Jacqueline Moase and Kaylee Howes (bronze, duet), the Junior Step Dance Company (silver, group), the Senior Step Dance Company (gold, group); highland dancers Sherra Rogers and Maggie Burns (duet gold, highest pre-premier mark trophy) and their highland dance instructor (teacher choreography award).

Day 2 was another successful day for our dancers at the BATD Festival of Dance. All of our highland dancers are going home with medals/ribbons! Congratulations to Shelby Lynne Dalziel (trophy winner and Rosebowl competition invitation for traditional highland); Alysha Trenholm (scholarship winner for traditional highland); Brae Myers and Shakira Gallant (silver, duet); Shelby Lynne and Allanna Lee Dalziel (gold, duet); Sherra Rogers (gold, celtic cabaret solo); Senior highland dance company (silver, pro-am/professional group division); Sherra Rogers and Chelsey Sanderson (bronze, pro-am/professional group division); and Chelsey Sanderson (gold, pro-am professional solo division). Thank you to the organizers of this event, and congratulations to all competitors this weekend! Our dancers had a wonderful time!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Town Hall Meeting

“Making your College of Piping Voice Count”

Our Executive Director, Karen Hatcher, would like to invite all parents, students, volunteers and supporters of The College of Piping to a Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 6 pm in the main hall at The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada.  Topics of discussion will include education programs, College fundraising, pipe band fundraising, dance fundraising, pipe band and dance travel, College of Piping events and just an overall discussion on The College of Piping. 
This will be a great opportunity for everyone to engage in conversation on where we have been and where we are going, to share ideas and to help make plans for the future.

Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge

Danielle Chiarotto competing in the Grade 3 Piobaireachd contest with judge, Alan Bevan (right) and reader, Tiber Falzett (left).

Congratulations and thank you to everyone who competed, supported, listened and took part in the workshops at the 2016 Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge this past weekend! A huge thank you to Alan Bevan for adjudicating the contest and then facilitating the workshops. A big thank you also to Tiber Falzett for reading for Alan in the piobaireachd contest, to Ryan Simpson and Shanae Rogers for doing such an awesome job stewarding and Rick Crawford for being the fabulous chief steward that he is! Another huge thank you to the contest's sponsors.  Without your support the contest wouldn't have been able to take place. The associations and businesses that generously contributed to our competition were:  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, The Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association, MacIsaac Kiltmakers, MacLeod Highland Outfitters, L&M Highland Outfitters, the PEI Police Associaton and Dr. Angus MacArthur.  Thank You!  Below is the complete list of winners. Keep your eyes peeled to our website for photos from the event!
Grade 5 Piobaireachd: 1st place: Dalton Faulkner, 2nd place: Carly MacKenzie
Grade 5 March: 1st place: Dalton Faulkner, 2nd place: Carly MacKenzie
Grade 4 Piobaireachd: 1st place: Carl Brydon, 2nd place: James Gendron, 3rd place: Calum MacKinnon
Grade 4 March: 1st place: James Gendron, 2nd place: Calum MacKinnon
Grade 3 Piobaireachd: 1st place: Danielle Chiarotto, 2nd place: Chris MacKnight, 3rd place: William Duncan
Grade 3 MSR: 1st place: Danielle Chiarotto, 2nd place: Doug Hamilton, 3rd place: Chris MacKnight
Grade 2 Piobaireachd: 1st place: Calum Brydon, 2nd place: Brady Webb
Grade 2 MSR: 1st place: Calum Brydon, 2nd place: Brady Webb
Grade 1 Piobaireachd: 1st place: Sarah Simpson, 2nd place: Kaitlin Kimove, 3rd place: Peter Allen
Grade 1 MSR: 1st place: Kaitlin Kimove, 2nd place: Sarah Simpson, 3rd place: Peter Allen
Professional Piobaireachd: 1st place: James MacHattie, 2nd place: Alex Gandy, 3rd place: James Dyson
Professional MSR: 1st place: Katie Buckland, 2nd place: James MacHattie, 3rd place: Alex Gandy