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:  http://www.collegeofpiping.com/competitionresults.php

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!!!