Monday, December 12, 2011

Congratulations and Thank You!

It's been busy, busy, busy at the College!  It's the most wonderful but extremely hectic time of year!  The College Christmas recital is less than a week away!  Don't forget it's at 2pm at Summerside Intermediate School.  Also don't forget that classes are being held in Charlottetown on December 19th for all disciplines.  These will be the last classes held before the well deserved Christmas break!

Congratulations are in order for Carly MacKenzie!!!  She has recently been promoted to the Premier class for Highland Dancing!  This is a really big achievement!  Carly is one of the College's cross discipline students.  She is also in her first year of learning to play the bagpipes.  Well done, Carly!

Carly (on the left) competing this summer

Congratulations are also in order to Christopher Rogers!  Chris has been nominated for the 2012 Music PEI Awards.  His nomination is the Video of the Year category.  The Metro Credit Union Music PEI Week 2012 runs from January 13-21.  It is in it's eleventh year and has grown into island wide event.  The gala awards show will take place at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.  Chris is in his first year of teaching snare drumming at the College and is also a member of the Grade Three College of Piping Pipe Band.  Congratulations, Chris!!!

Chris Rogers (on the left) at the band barbecue this summer

Congratulations are also due to Mikayla Gallant and Alex Trail!  Mikayla is the newest chanter student to earn her bagpipes!  She passed her chanter test last week with flying colours!  Welcome to the wonderful world of Highland Bagpiping, Makayla!  Alex Trail received his goose this week!  The goose is a transitional instrument between the chanter and the bagpipes.  Alex is also one of the College's youngest bagpiping students.  Well done, Alex!

Alex with his set of mini bagpipes (not the goose!)

Finally...Thank you to everyone that attended the John Gracie concert this past Saturday night at Trinity United Church!  Both of the College's Pipe Bands are appreciative and grateful for the support.  The concert was a huge success and it promises to be an annual event that will put people in the holiday spirit for years to come.  If John Gracie can't put you in the Christmas mood, then nothing will!  On behalf of the bands, thank you!!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Weather Outside is Frightful...

but the College is so delightful and from practice the hands and feet are a fluster, Let it bluster!  Let it bluster!  Let it bluster!!!  While it may look more like fall outside than winter, the College has been madly preparing for our annual Christmas recital.  The halls at the College have been a flutter with students preparing for their chance to shine on the Summerside Intermediate School stage.  December 18th isn't that far off!  Don't forget that the recital starts at 2pm. It is encouraged that attendees make a cash donation to the College or bring a non perishable food item for the Salvation Army food bank as entry to the recital.  If you're in a particularly merry mood, you can do both!

Attention Pipers and Drummers!!!  Your Doug and Debbie Hall thank you letters are due soon!  Please turn them in to your instructor before or at the Christmas recital.  The Halls generously cover all the piping and drumming tuition under the Hall scholarship program.  They provide the College pipers and drummers with such an amazing opportunity.  The letter is one small way to show them your appreciation for their generosity.

Congratulations to Sarah MacDonald for earning her bagpipes!  Sarah completed her four tune requirement test with flying colours!  She is now on the exciting road to becoming a great Highland bagpiper!  Sarah is one of our multi-talented students.  She not only is learning the pipes but she is a competitive Highland and Step dancer as well!  Where does she find the time to do everything?!  Well done, Sarah!

  Sarah playing her pipes for the first time!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

'Tis the Season... be jolly AND generous!!!  Did you know that PEI is one of the most generous provinces when it comes to donating to charitable causes?  According to a CBC report, PEI has tied for second (with Alberta) for being the most generous region of the country (to see the rest of the article, follow this link:  Nunavut was considered the country's most generous region.  This suggests that no matter how small, how remote or what the economic standing is, there is never an excuse not to give!

The College has been busy with fundraising galore!  The two College Pipe Bands have been working hard to raise money for the upcoming season and the Grade Three Band has taken on the extra task of fundraising for a trip to Scotland to compete at the World Pipe Band Championships in 2012.  The Highland and Step Dancers are also fundraising for competitions and costumes.  Help support our students in their fundraising efforts!!!

The Highland and Step Dancers are selling tickets for a John Deere D130 Lawn Tractor!  It has a 22 HP engine, a hydrostatic drive and a 42" mower deck...what won't it do?!  Ask any College Highland or Step dancers for tickets or at the front desk at the College of Piping.  Tickets are 1 for $10 or 3 for $25.  The proceeds of this fundraiser go to The College of Piping Dancers' Fund.  The lawn tractor was generously sponsored by Green Diamond Equipment.  Check out their website at:

Have you circled December 10, 2011?!  John Gracie is coming to Summerside!  The Christmas concert is at Trinity United Church in Summerside and it starts at 7pm.  Tickets are available at the front desk at the College of Piping, any College of Piping band member and they will also be available at the door.  Come and spend an old fashioned Christmas with John Gracie.  This is a show for the whole family!   It will undoubtedly put you in the Christmas spirit as he sings his own Cape Breton Christmas Morn.  A not to miss event!  This evening of entertainment has been generously sponsored by the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts and the Quality Inn & Suites.  Come and support the College of Piping Pipe Bands while getting into the spirit of Christmas!

Have you been to a basketball game yet?!  Summerside's newest team has been being stirring up quite a storm!  Fast paced and family friendly, there's never a dull moment!  PEI's own Doug McKinney is on the team (he's number 20, if you are keeping an eagle eye out for him)!  Don't forget that you can purchase basketball tickets from our College of Piping Pipe Bands!  Here are the ticket prices:

Single Game Tickets:  $8.00
Family Single Game Tickets (one game, 4 tickets):  $20.00
One Person Season Tickets (18 home games):  $100.00
Family Season Package (4 tickets, 18 home games):  $200.00

There is a special rate for College of Piping Students and Families!!!  One person season tickets (18 home games) are $85.00 and family season tickets (4 tickets, 18 home games) are $150.00.  This is a steal of a deal!  Good family fun at a cost that is cheaper than going to a movie!!!  A family night out and helping the College Pipe Bands raise money...what could be better?!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Only one more sleep until the Christmas Ceilidh!  Are you coming?!  The College has exploded into the Christmas spirit thanks to the decorating talents of Jane and Elaine.  The tree has been trimmed, the presents wrapped and the halls have been decked.  The only thing left is YOU coming to celebrate the Christmas spirit in the form of a ceilidh!  Is there a better way to kick off the Christmas season?!

Admission is $5.00 at the door and those open at 6:30pm.  The official start time of the ceilidh is 7pm. There will be music, dance and much merriment!  Come and enjoy the talents of all of our hard working students.  There will also be FREE snacks (thanks to the efforts of our volunteers!) and the coffee has been generously donated by Samuel's Coffee House.  See you tomorrow night!      

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Are You Ready?!

Christmas is just around the corner!  Not counting today, there are 26 days left.  Did your stress level just elevate?!  The College has been trimmed and decked out in its holiday finest (courtesy of Elaine and Jane).  If Santa is looking for the perfect gift, look no further than the College gift shop.  There are lots of choices for all of our budding performers!  If you need any help in the decision making process, all of our knowledgeable instructors would be more than happy to help select the perfect gift!

Circle the following dates!  On December 2, 2011, the College will be hosting a Christmas Ceilidh at the College of Piping in Summerside!  There will be music, dancing, and tons of fun for everyone.  Admission is $5 at the door.  The doors open at 6:30pm and the entertainment will be from 7pm until 9pm.  There will be free snacks!

December 18, 2011 is an extremely important date at the College!  It's our annual Christmas Recital.  It starts at 2pm at the Summerside Intermediate School.  Come and see what our extremely talented students have been working on.  Last year was a blast and this year promises to be even better!  Like last year, a silent auction will be held as a fundraiser for both the Highland dancers and the College Pipe Bands.  It is encouraged that people either make a cash donation to the College or a non-perishable food donation to the food bank as entry to the recital. Or if you are in a particularly generous Christmas spirit, you can do BOTH!!!  Nothing says Christmas like giving!  We hope to see you there!

On December 10, 2011, John Gracie will be performing in Summerside!  He will be performing at Trinity United Church at 7pm.  Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the College of Piping or from any member of the College of Piping Pipe Bands.  Come and support the College Pipe Bands and get in the Christmas spirit while you're at it!  Do not miss out on this fabulous opportunity to take part in a night of good family entertainment!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Cornwall classes and the Grade Three pipe band practice have been cancelled.  All classes in Summerside are going ahead as scheduled.  Please take care when coming to classes.  If you do not feel comfortable travelling in the snow, please call or email your instructor to let them know that you are not coming.

It's Snowing!

Winter has arrived!  Classes are going ahead as scheduled for this afternoon and evening.  The Grade Three band practice is also still on.  Please take caution in these snowy conditions.  If you do not feel comfortable heading out in the snow, please call or email your instructor to let them know that you are unable to make it.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November at the College

The last couple of weeks have been tough at the College.  What never ceases to amaze me is the resilience of this place.  Not the College, itself, but the people who come here everyday.  When tragedy strikes, the College family (because everyone who comes through the College front doors is part of the College family) rallies and supports each other (no matter what discipline).  This is what makes a community.  The strength that each of us provides to each other in times of need.  When a shoulder is needed, a shoulder is given.  I am really proud to be part of the College family.  Thank you for letting me be a part of this community.

Congratulations to Trevor Profitt for earning his bagpipes!  Trevor only just started taking lessons this fall and has already graduated onto the pipes.  His hard work has certainly paid off.  Trevor is the first student to earn his pipes so quickly.  Welcome to the wonderful world of bagpipes, Trevor!  

Congratulations are also due to Kate Ross for her success at the Kate Gaddess Memorial Highland Dance Competition this past weekend.  Kate had the following results:  6th place in the Seann Triubhas and Hornpipe, 7th in the Blue Bonnet and 8th in the Village Maid.  Well done, Kate!  

Kate dancing the hornpipe

Don't forget to check out the results page for results in all our disciplines throughout the winter (  While browsing the results page, don't forget to check out the photo gallery page (  Proud parents are encouraged to send pictures into the College to be put up on the website.  Please remember that not all photos will make it onto the website due to quality and quantity (this will be left up to the discretion of our fabulous Executive Director, Karen Hatcher).     

For all those pipers who want to keep their fingers nimble during the winter months, the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association is offering winter mini meets.  The dates of these mini meets are as follows:  February 4, March 3 and March 31 (all in 2012).  These mini meets are a fantastic way to keep the dust off of the pipes during the long winter months!  Please see your piping instructor for an entry form.

As the days grow shorter and colder, hunker down and settle in to some winter practising.  It is the hard work that you put into the winter months that will make a difference later.  Steady practice makes for steady improvements.     



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Lest We Forget

On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour we honour our country's war veterans.  These are people who left home, often under age, to defend not only their own country but foreign shores as well.  They made the ultimate sacrifice.  A lot of them had never been away but the sense of adventure and a chance to fight for one's country was too great.  Anxious families waited for news back home.  Letters were sent and it was a nervous sight to see the local minister approaching your home to give you news that your loved one was either killed or missing in action.  It was a very anxious time on Canadian soil.  In true Canadian spirit, Canadians rallied and made such a horrible time bearable.

Move ahead to 2011...Canadian families still wait anxiously for loved ones to return from war and dread the unknown.  Technology advancements mean that war is now brought into our homes whether from television or the internet.  Terrorism has struck fear into the hearts of many as war is suddenly being waged on North American soil.  Our troops are still making the ultimate sacrifice to fight for their country at home and on foreign shores.  War is still very much a reality.

The College of Piping is proud to play a part in the Summerside Remembrance Day Ceremony.  Both College Pipe Bands will be participating in Summerside's Remembrance Day service.  We hope that you join us as we celebrate our war veterans on November 11, 2011 at the cenotaph in Summerside.  We are honoured to pay tribute to our veterans and and salute those who have served and are serving our country.  As Canadians, we couldn't be any prouder.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Watch Out....

There's a storm coming to town!  Don't worry, it isn't a winter storm...yet!  It is Summerside's latest sports team, The Summerside Storm Basketball Team!  This is the only professional basketball team on the island and Summerside is proud to be its home.  The College of Piping Pipe Bands are playing an active role in the basketball team.  If you would like a ticket or even season tickets, the pipe bands are the ones to contact!  The tickets are being sold as a fundraiser for both the Grade 3 and Grade 5 bands.  Check out these great deals:

Single Tickets:

Single Game Ticket:  $8.00
Family Single Game Tickets (one game, 4 tickets):  $20.00

Season Packages:

One person season tickets, 18 home games:  $100.00
Family package (4 tickets each game), 18 home games:  $200.00

Special Rate for College of Piping Students and Family:

One person season tickets, 18 home games:  $85.00
Family season tickets (4 tickets for each game), 18 home games:  $150.00

Do not miss out on these fabulous deals!!!  The bonus of buying from the College of Piping Pipe Bands is not only savings but helping the bands raise money!!!  How much better can it get?!  Buy a ticket (or a season tickets!) and help the bands at the same time!  It's win-win!!!!  According to a recent poll in the Globe and Mail newspaper, PEI is Canada's most generous province per capita.  Let's show the rest of Canada why.  Buy a ticket from the pipe bands right now!!!! Buy a ticket and help the bands!

Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows Eve!!!

Happy Halloween!  May the weather co-operate and the public be generous in the candy that they give!  A reminder that classes are still on tonight in Charlottetown and Summerside.  If you have shown improvement since your last lesson, you may get a treat from your instructor!

Congratulations to all the Atlantic Pipe Band Champion Supreme winners!  The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Truro, Nova Scotia.  The College was well represented with a very large contingent of overall season winners!  Congratulations to:

Practice Chanter:  Sherra Rogers
Grade Five Piobaireachd:  Jordan Chowen
Grade Four Piobaireachd:  Shanae Rogers
Grade Four Light Music:  Sarrah Wood
Grade One Piobaireachd:  Sarah Simpson
Grade Four Drumming:  Frank Bowness
Grade Three Drumming:  Caitlin Campbell
Junior Amateur Hornpipe/Jig (Drumming):  Caitlin Campbell
Grade Four Pipe Band:  College of Piping

Congratulations on such a successful season!  The hard work done throughout the winter and spring was well worth the effort!  Please remember though, the greatest reward when competing is having fun.  It is not always about the result but about putting out your best performance and being happy with how it went.  The College is very proud of ALL of our students!

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the online piping competition!  The last day to submit your video is November 20, 2011.  To register, please follow this link:  Good luck to all that enter!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Odds and Sods

It is the time of year where the dust seems to have settled.  Summer holidays are but a distant memory, the Thanksgiving turkey has finally been digested and Halloween costume decisions are being finalized.  It's the lull before the Christmas storm!

The winter Highland Dancing competitions have started!  To keep up to date on all the contests, please check out our results page (  While browsing the results page, you should head on over to the photo gallery ( to check out our dancers in action!  All photos and results are greatly appreciated from proud parents!  Although please remember that not all photos can make it into the photo gallery (depending upon quality and quantity).  

The Monday after the Christmas concert (December 19, 2011) there will be classes in Charlottetown!  Since so many Mondays fall on holidays, our Charlottetown students seem to be out some lessons.  The rest of that week will fall under the Christmas break.  Classes will resume on January 3, 2012.

Did you know that Bob Dylan has taken up the bagpipes?!  The famous singer purchased a set of bagpipes while he was in Glasgow recently.  Dylan has shown a great appreciation for all things Scottish as he has cited Robbie Burns to be a huge influence and he also has an honorary degree from St. Andrews University.  Scottish folk tunes have a had a major impact on his songs including his hit, "The Times They Are A-Changing."  Perhaps will see Bob Dylan make an appearance at Highland Storm...we can only hope! is offering an online piping competition!  This is the third online contest that has offered.  The College's own Director of Education, James MacHattie is one of the world-class judges that will be adjudicating the contest.  The last day to sign up for the contest is November 1, 2011 and the videos must be submitted by November 20, 2011.  To enter the contest, follow this link:  Good luck to all who enter!  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Friday!

It has been a big week at the College!.  The College has won the Community Enhancement Award (see previous blog for all the exciting details!)!!!  Karen Hatcher, our fabulous Executive Director, accepted the award on behalf of the College.  We now have pictures of this momentous night!  Please see below for all the excitement!

Karen and award sponsor, Greg Burton (Medicine Shoppe)

Karen with College Board Members Emily Schurman and Sharon O'Halloran

Karen with Summerside Mayor, Basil Stewart

All the award winners!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Well done!!!

I think it is a well known fact that the College has had its fair share of ups and downs the past couple of years.  That all changed in the winter of 2010 with the hiring of our current Executive Director, Karen Hatcher.  Karen has managed in just over a year and a half to steer the College into calmer waters and onto better destinations.

Last night The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce held their 18th Annual Excellence in Business Awards.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada was nominated in the Community Enhancement section.  The other nominees in this category were:  Habitat For Humanity PEI, Central PEI CBDC, Community Connections Inc., PEI Business Women's Association, East Prince Family Violence Prevention and Jars of Cafe.  When you look at the importance of the work that these other organisations do, it was an honour just to be nominated.  The College, it turns out, was the big winner!  Karen, in her College uniform, was there to accept the award which was presented by Greg Burton (bagpiping student and father to Kate Ross and Robyn Burton, respective College students!). 

This award made me think of how far the College has come in such a short time.  Recently I came across the commencement speech that the late Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005.  He had me mesmerized for the entire address.  The speech is broken in up into three sections.  The first part is about connecting the dots.  Steve had dropped out of College and decided to take the courses that he wanted to take instead of taking the ones that he had to for his program.  In the concluding passage of this section he says this, " can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference." 

How is this relevant to the College?!  This is exactly what Karen has done to make the College a better and more vibrant place.  She has taken something and turned it around by looking back and trusting in herself to make the right decisions.  This year has been huge for the College.  There was the return of the Summerside Highland Games, a brand new Highland Storm, winter ceilidhs, new staff...the list could go on and on.  Karen has definitely made the College a better place to be.  It is now somewhere where people want to hang out even when they do not have to be here.  She has made it exciting to come through the front doors again.

Congratulations, Karen from all of us at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada!  Thank you for taking the reins and guiding us through the ups and the downs.  Thank you for not giving up.  Enjoy this award.  It is well deserved!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Trick or Treat!  Did you know that Halloween has Celtic roots?!  Some folklorists believe that Halloween has its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain.  Samhain is roughly translated as "summer's end."  This is derived from Old Irish and the name is historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles.  Halloween, this year, falls (no pun intended!) on a Monday night.  Classes in Charlottetown are still on!  Perhaps if you have practiced extra hard this week, you may get a treat from your instructor!

Once Halloween is over, Christmas is not that far off, the date!  December 18, 2011, the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts Christmas Concert is taking place!  It will be held at the Summerside Intermediate School at 2pm.  Come out and support the students as they show off their amazing talents!!!  Last year's concert was a fabulous show and this year's promises to be even better!

A Happy Belated Birthday to our very own Executive Director, Karen Hatcher!!!  Karen celebrated her birthday this week and everyone at the College hopes that she had a fantastic day!  On behalf of all the faculty, staff and students at the College, Happy Birthday Karen!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's in a name?

This past summer, Summerside gained a new inhabitant by the name of Samuel's Coffee House.  I often wonder if there is an actual Samuel behind the name.  Is it named after a favourite uncle, a father, a son, a favourite pet?!  Naming something or someone is a very big responsibility.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada is sometimes confused with a plumbing school.  People tend to look just at the College of Piping and neglect to read the rest of the title.  I am often shocked that people think that this is where people go to learn about plumbing but to someone who does not know that piping is taken from the word bagpiping, it could be an easy mistake to make.  Choosing a name is something that is not to be taken lightly! 

So.....we are you to help us with the responsibility of naming the monthly newsletter!  Since the newsletter is for you, the reader, you are the perfect person to come up with the name!  Please email your submissions to our fabulous registrar, Jane Dunn at by October 27th.  The winner will receive two tickets to next year's fantastic production of Highland Storm!  A decision will be made in time for November's edition of the newsletter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where is the time going?!

What a gorgeous month September was!  It is hard to believe that it is over already.  The colours are changing and Thanksgiving is next weekend!  A reminder that classes will NOT be held in Charlottetown on Thanksgiving Monday (October 10th).  A good way to get over the lethargy that turkey causes....practicing!!!

A big congratulations to Catherine and Sandy MacDonald.  Catherine is the newly appointed Pipe Major of the College of Piping Grade Five Band and Sandy is a snare drummer in the band.  Catherine and Sandy both received awards at the 24th Annual Island Literary Awards which were presented by the Prince Edward Island Writer's Guild in Charlottetown this past weekend.  These are the awards that they won for their literary contributions:

In the English category:
  • Senior High Honourable Mentions-The Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty Young People's Creative Writing Award
In the French category:
  • Secondaire 10e, 11e, 12e Mention Honorable - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
  • Secondaire 10e, 11e, 12e Deuxieme Prix - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
In the French category:
  • Secondaire 7e, 8e, 9e Deuxieme Prix - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
Check out the blog at the College of Piping Glasgow!  A picture of the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts Founding Director, Scott MacAulay is posted.  Our very own Director of Education, James MacHattie, is mentioned as well.  Scott may be gone but he is definitely not fogotten in the piping, drumming and pipe band world.  Here is the link: (scroll down to the September 19, 2011 entry). 

A very special thank you to Sandra Bald-Jones for coming to the College to teach classes when Kearsney was in South Africa.  Our highland dance students really benefited from her experience and enthusiasm!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Fall!

Well, the leaves are turning, the days are getting shorter and the amphitheatre roof has been dismantled and put away for the season.  It is decidedly fall and summer is definitely over.  It is now time to hunker down for the shorter days and practice, practice, practice!

Mark your calendar for the Volunteer Appreciation Reception!  It is on Wednesday, September 28th from 7 to 8:30pm.  It will take place in the Main Hall of the College.  The College is indebted to the many volunteers who donate their time to such events as the Highland Gathering, Highland Storm or to simply come and mow the lawn in their spare time.  The College could not operate without the support of our many volunteers.  The reception is our small way to say "Thank You!"  We could never adequately show how much we appreciate the hardwork and countless donated hours that the many volunteers put in at the College.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

The Grade Three College of Piping Pipe Band will have their annual meeting on September 29th at 7pm.  It will take place in the Main Hall at the College of Piping, Summerside.  The meeting is open to band members of the Grade Three band and their parents and spouses.  The focus of the meeting will be fundraising, goals, band travel, committees and commitment.  Please come with lots of ideas!

On September 24, it was South African Heritage Day.  Since our very own Highland Dance Instructor, Kearsney Smith, comes from South Africa, the College thought it was appropriate to celebrate such an occasion.  Kearsney is currently in South Africa, so in her honour the staff at the College dressed in South Africa's official colours and changed the sign out front in support of South African Heritage Day.


Everyday within the College walls we celebrate the Celtic Arts.  Take some time and study something new.  You would be surprised at how much influence the Celtic Arts have had on some cultures! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Attention ALL Highland Dancers and Parents!!!

Some reminders about Highland Dancing for the next couple of weeks.  Kearsney is currently in South Africa and while she is gone the College is very lucky to have Sandra Bald Jones here to teach.  Some classes have been cancelled while Kearsney is away, please read below and record the dates that apply to you.  An exciting Highland Dancing workshop has also been added to the calendar.  Read the rest of this blog for details!

There will be NO lessons on the following Thursdays.  Listed below are the dates that are cancelled and right beside these dates, the make up dates are listed:

September 15th will be caught up on Friday, October 21st.
September 22nd Sandra Bald Jones will be at the College to take classes.
September 29th will be caught up on Friday, October 28th.
October 6th will be caught up on Friday, November 4th.

As mentioned above, while Kearsney is away, Sandra Bald Jones will be at the College to take classes.  Please stop by the dancing studio and say hello to Sandra while she is here.  The College is confident that the Highland Dance parents and students will make Sandra feel right at home at the College.  To get to know more about Sandra, please read her bio below.  Kearsney will be back to teach classes on Monday, October 3rd.

Sandra comes from Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and now resides in Hamilton Ontario, Canada.
Before emigrating to Canada, she was a competitive Highland Dancer, winning many awards and Championships including two World titles, Junior and Adult. As a dancer, she has been featured on Scottish TV programmes and touring shows, and was presented to the Queen following a Royal performance at Holyrood Palace in Scotland, and again at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2002.

Over the years, Sandra has choreographed for many groups, both amateur and professional. Her own “Schiehallion Dancers” have carried the banner of Highland Dancing with performances across Canada, United States, Great Britain, Macau and Europe in such venues as the Edinburgh Tattoo, Berlin Tattoo, and Brittany’s L’Orient Celtic Festival. Sandra is a Founder and one of the Directors of the professional dance ensemble, “The Scottish Dance Company of Canada”.  Their production of “Immrama” (Adventurous Journey) received rave reviews wherever they performed. She was also a choreographer for the show “Needfire” where she worked with Director Kelly Robinson. This choreography was chosen for the 1998 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, and was also nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award. In 2002 Sandra Directed a Canadian Highland Dance Team who performed with other Dancers representing Commonwealth Countries at the 2002 Edinburgh Military Tattoo. She was invited to return to the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2003 with her Schiehallion Dancers, and since then the dancers have danced in Bermuda, Virginia U.S., France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, and again in the Edinburgh Tattoo 2008. 

Sandra Bald Jones is a Fellow and Examiner of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance, Fellow and Life Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing, and an adjudicator with the Scottish Official Board’s panel of Judges. Judging, teaching, and choreographing have taken Sandra all over Canada, the United States, Scotland, Australia, Europe, South Africa and New Zealand. She is also an Independent Member of ScotDance Canada and Life Member of ScotDance Ontario.

The Sandra Bald Jones Dance Studio have over the years, produced many Champion Highland Dancers, who have won major Highland dance titles including the Juvenile, Junior and Adult World Championships. North American and Canadian Championships and the Grand Australasian Championship.

Sandra was recently awarded “The Atholl Clasp” from the SOBHD for her services to Highland dancing Worldwide.


On Wednesday, October 12th at 7:30pm in the Main Hall, there will be a paren workshop done by Kearsney's mother, Melaney Smith.  It is the "need to know" for all parents involved in Highland Dancing and a great way to meet other parents.  There will be coffee and snacks served afterwards.  Melaney Smith has been involved in Highland Dancing for over 40 years as a dancer, adjudicator, teacher, parent and is also the Secretary of the Official Board of Highland Dancing (South Africa).  Be sure to save this date!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Welcome Back!!!

What a summer to remember!  The return of the Summerside Highland Gathering, the brand new production of Highland Storm and the success of the College's students on the competition circuit.  It was anything but dull on the island!  Now it is September and classes have begun once again.  New goals, new dreams and new challenges lay ahead but the hard work and effort are worth every second of it.  Trust me.  As we saw this past year, if you put your mind to it, you can succeed. 

Our Director of Education, James MacHattie, had a successful trip to Scotland this summer.  James was the winner of the coveted Braemar Gold Medal.  The Braemar Gathering is considered to be the Queen's Highland Games because every year she attends them while spending her summer at Balmoral Castle.  College alumni, Andrew Hayes and Iain Speirs, were also quite successful on the solo piping circuit in Scotland.  Andrew Hayes won the prestigous 'A' MSR at the Northern Meeting in Inverness.  This win now enables Andrew to compete in the Former Winners Silver Star MSR for the rest of his life.  Iain Speirs was not to be outdone!  Iain won one of the premier piping prizes at Oban this year.  He won the Senior Piobaireachd and came third in the Former Winners MSR.  Congratulations to all three on their hard earned prizes.  The photos below are of James receiving his Braemar Gold Medal, of Andrew Hayes winning the overall trophy at the Glenurquhart Games and Gathering and James dropping his trophy at Blairgowrie...For full results, please check out the results page:

The first week is now over and by next week everyone should be settled in.  Here's to a great start and a great year!  Practice hard, come to classes on a weekly basis and most importantly, have fun!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

We are the Champions!!!

On the 28th of July, the Grade 4 and 5 College of Piping Pipe Bands set out on a fifteen hour bus ride to Maxville, Ontario to compete in the North American Championships.  The excitement on the bus never waned even as the hours and kilometers passed.  The kids were prepared and ready to show Maxville that a little island like Prince Edward could compete on the North American stage and be a definite threat.  The hours of practice, dedication and fundraising paid off when it was announced that the Grade Four band had won!  Not to be outdone, the Grade Five band came fifth out of eighteen bands and the Grade Five piping had won the overall for their grade.

Sherra Rogers and newly appointed board member, Andrew Hayes led the band off of the field.  In their hands was the Maxville Grade Four trophy.  Both the Grade Four and Five bands played off together to the cheers of fellow bandsmen that were assembled in the massed bands and the massive crowd that filled the grandstands.  Tears and whoops of joy were the order of the day once the band stopped playing.

Not only did the bands do well but the solo players had some fantastic plays. Jordan Chowen took home a first in his section of the grade four piobaireachd.  Sarrah Wood came second in her section of the grade four piobaireachd.  Sarah Simpson won her section of the grade two jig and Frank Bowness came fourth in the grade four march for drumming.  For further Maxville results, please follow this link:

It was a very quiet bus ride back to Montreal after two very long days at Maxville.  After a stop at Boston Pizza for a band supper to refuel, bed was the next order of business.  Day three of competing saw both bands at the Montreal Highland Games.  This contest was set up a little differently with the bands performing in concert formation on a stage.  The Grade Four band won their grade and the Grade Five band came third in grade five.  Much celebrating was once again done at the hotel after the games but this time in the form of a pizza party! 

Early Monday morning both bands once again boarded the bus.  This time it was to make the long trek home.  The bus ride was not nearly as noisy as the first one as it was filled with some exhausted kids.  Little did they know that the excitement would not end on the competition field!  The bus was met by our very own Executive Director, Karen Hatcher and Piping and Drumming benefactors, Doug and Debbie Hall just across the bridge in Borden.  After they climbed on board it share in the exuberance, it was back to the College.  Just outside of Summerside, the bus was met by a police car and fire truck to escort the bus back to the College!  As the College came into sight, a huge group of proud parents, supporters (including Mayor Stewart) and board members welcomed the very tired but excited bands home.  It was a trip that many will not soon forget!

Please follow these links for more coverage on the Grade Four College of Piping Maxville win:

CBC news (skip ahead to minute 17:50):

The Journal Pioneer:

Some photos from the momentous trip to Maxville (for more photos, please follow this link:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dog Days of Summer?!

Well, the calendar shows that it is more than half way through the summer but the weather has been anything summer like.  The dog days of summer have yet to hit Atlantic Canada.  The Summerside Highland Gathering has been the only Highland Games so far that have yet to be rained out.  The fall like weather has not brought anything to a halt at the College!  This past week the College was visited by the George Watson's College Pipe Band from Edinburgh, Scotland and the Brian Boru Band from Falmouth, Massachusetts.  Highland Storm is in its second week (have you been yet?!) and the competition season is in full swing!  Whew...

The Antigonish Highland Games were held this past weekend but the week leading up to it was the Canadian Highland Dance Championships.  The College and PEI were well represented by Kate Ross in her first appearance at these Championships.  Her results for this contest were as follows:  Highland Events:  Sword 4th, Fling 7th and Reel 8th.  National Events:  Blue Bonnets 5th and Village Maid 8th.  Check out Kate below representing Team PEI:

The College was also well represented at the Antigonish Highland Games by our Pipers, Drummers and Pipe Bands.  Check out the College's results page for results from these games (as they become available):

As mentioned before, the College was visited this week by the George Watson's College Pipe Band.  This is a group of very talented students from Edinburgh, Scotland.  They graced our stage in an outstanding concert this past Friday night.  The Grade Four College band had the privilege of joining them on stage as the two bands performed together at the end of their concert.  It was an excellent evening of piping, drumming and making new friendships.  An evening that the College will not soon forget!  Check out some highlights below:

The College was also visited by the Brian Boru Band from Falmouth, Massachusetts.  The band came for a three day workshop where they worked with our piping instructors, James and Kylie MacHattie, drumming instructor Chris Coleman and mid-section expert, Jillian Ramsay.  A great time was had by all and at the end of their three days here, the band performed at a mini concert that the College holds every day.  After the concert they band had their picture taken in front of the College:

And one more link from the Royal visit 2011.  The College of Piping was mentioned in a news story regarding the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.  Click here to read all about it: