Friday, March 30, 2012

Circle these dates!

"How did it get so late so soon?  It's night before it's afternoon.  December is here before it's June.  My goodness how the time has flewn.  How did it get so late so soon?"  The way that 2012 seems to be flying by, this quote from Dr. Seuss seems very timely. Before we know it the Highland Gathering will have been and gone (only 83 more days!) and Highland Storm will be in mid run.  Keep your calendar handy through the next three months as some very important events are upcoming.  The way that time is zooming by, you don't want to miss out!

Tonight is the March Ceilidh Fundraiser.  Doors open at 6:30 and the festivities start at 7pm.  There will be music, dance and general merriment!  This month we are joined by Scottish Country Dancers who promise to get your heart rate up.  There is a $5 admission fee but there are FREE snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.  After the scheduled programming, there will be an open mic session.  Start warming up your vocal chords, start tuning your instrument and limber up.  This is not to be missed as the next ceilidh isn't until May 4th.  All proceeds from the ceilidhs go toward the College of Piping Dancers and Pipe Bands.  Come out and support our students and have a time while you're at it!

The College of Piping Pipe Bands are hosting a concert on April 21st.  They will be joined by acts such as Kendall Docherty, Ward MacDonald, our own multi talented Jordan Chowen and others to be announced.  The concert will be at the New London Community Complex and it will start at 7pm.  Not only will there be fabulous performances but there will also be a silent auction, quilt raffle, cake auction and more!  Everybody loves good music and cake!  Come and support the College of Piping Pipe Bands!

It's not too late to purchase your John Deere Lawn Tractor tickets!  Tickets are 1 for $10 or 3 for $25.  Please see any College dancer or dance instructor to purchase your ticket. The draw date is June 17th.  Just think, on the scorching days of summer, would you rather be pushing a lawn mower or comfortably riding your lawn tractor?!  One arm on the steering wheel and the other holding a nice cool drink (of the non alcoholic variety, of course). Please support the College dancers and make your summertime chores a little bit easier!

It's not too late to sign up for the College of Piping Pipe Bands 50/50 "Gold Rush" style draw.  The draws take place every Thursday.  You can enter as many times as you like (with a new number) to increase your chances of winning!  For a toonie you can enter at any of these participating locations:  

  • College of Piping, Summerside
  • Samuels Coffee Shop, Summerside
  • Gateway Petroleum Esso, Borden-Carleton
  • Gass's Store, New Haven
  • Book Mark, Confederation Court Mall (Charlottetown)
  • Beanz Coffee Shop, Charlottetown
  • Gallant Clover Farm Store, Rustico
  • Kensington Food Basket, Kensington
Congratulations to this week's winner, Bea Stewart !  Bea took home $550.00 this week. Not a bad return on a toonie!  Enter now for your chance to win!!!  It's never too late!

Congratulations to Briana Pineau!  Briana competed at the Halifax Highland Dancing Association Spring Competition on March 25th and represented the College extremely well and made us all very proud!  She placed 4th in the Fling, 3rd in the Seann Triubhas, 4th in the Lilt and 1st place in the Flora.  Briana competes in the Beginner category.  Well done, Briana!

Good luck to all our pipers making the jaunt to Halifax this weekend to compete at the Halifax Citadel Mini Meets.  Our own Director of Education, James MacHattie is judging as well.  Last month, piping instructor, Kylie MacHattie was honoured to judge at this terrific event.  Keep your eyes peeled to the results page for the very latest results (

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Winter Storm Cancellations

Well, after March break's gorgeous weather, there are a lot of confused buds out there!  Today, old man winter hit the island with a vengeance.  This storm reminds us that while it's technically spring on the calendar, good ol' Canadian winter weather is having one last gasp.  ALL classes at the College have been cancelled today.  Grade Five band practice has also been cancelled this evening.  Please stay home, stay safe and stay warm!    

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Well done, Karen!

Dr. Seuss once aptly wrote, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not."  Working for a not for profit organization comes with a lot of ups and downs.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears goes into making sure that it trundles on under any circumstance.  Why?  Because the person at the helm is passionate and believes a 110% in what they are doing.  They surround themselves in a team of believers and trudge on.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts does just that after some really big highs and some not so great moments in the past few years.  The person who believes in it so much?  Karen Hatcher.  Our fearless leader made the front page of The Guardian this weekend!  Karen has been at the wheel of the College for just over a year.  What a year it's been!  The College has taken off under her watchful eye and thoughtful guidance.  Its trajectory is now up and she's not looking back!

Not only is the College privileged to have such a fantastic person in charge but with the largely female demographic of the College, it's nice to have such a positive female role model to look up to. Karen is also one of the newest members of the College of Piping Grade Five band where she has already established herself as a role model to all of the other players.  Her experience in life and piping is second to none!

To read the article on Karen, follow this link:  The College is very proud of Karen and her achievements!  We're all very excited for the future of the College with such an amazing mentor, leader and person in charge!  Well done, Karen!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Well, I just looked at the weather forecast for the next couple of days and it looks like old man winter is having one last kick at the can.  Snow fall is expected this week and as always, keep your eyes posted to the blog for all weather related announcements.  Just when we thought it was safe to put away the snow shovels and winter tires, we are reminded that Canadian winters tend to take a little bit longer than other spots in the world.

A reminder that next week is spring break at the College (yes, spring...even with snow on the ground!).  There are no classes next week (March 19th-23rd).  Classes will resume on March 26th.  I hope some are escaping to warmer and sunnier climates!  

Speaking of warmer climates, Kearsney Smith is headed back to South Africa for two weeks.  Do not worry that classes will be cancelled!  Hayley Porter has generously agreed to run Kearsney's classes the week after spring break.  Kearsney will then make up those classes the week after the June recital (the week of June 18th). The College is wishing Kearsney safe travels back home.

An ENORMOUS thank you to Mac and Rosemary MacIsaac from MacIsaac Kiltmakers.  The MacIsaacs were at the College on the weekend to measure and outfit our newest members.  They are the sole reason why the College bands look so spiffy.  The College Bands are honoured that the MacIsaacs care and believe in them so much!  THANK YOU!!!!


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Thank You!

According to the spring countdown clock on the internet, there are exactly 12 days until spring.  For this blogger, that can't come fast enough.  As I sit at my desk writing this, I am currently bundled up in my winter jacket and have a heater blaring at my feet.  Granted I'm battling a cold but the yearning for double digit temperatures is starting to become unbearable.  Speaking of warmer temperatures and spring, on Sunday March 11th don't forget that the clocks "spring forward" an hour to begin daylight savings time.  The promise of light a little later has me positively glowing!  Now, how many days until summer...

A BIG thank you to everyone that came out and supported the College of Piping Pipe Bands at their whiskey tastings.  A HUGE thank you to Frank Scott and his wife, Jackie for making the trek to the island from Fredericton to host the informative and entertaining events.  A great time was had by all and the evenings were a success by all accounts.  For photos of the Friday evening whiskey tasting, follow this link:  Watch this space for future whiskey tasting dates!

An ENORMOUS thank you to Kelly MacArthur for making the journey from one island to the other for the Step, Highland and Choreography workshop that was held on March 4th.  Kelly braved the elements on Saturday and travelled from Cape Breton to teach at it.  There were a lot of very happy Highland and Step dancers after the day was finished!  A fantastic day of learning was had by all who attended!  To see the days events, follow this link for photos:

Congratulations to all the pipers who took part in the second of three Halifax Mini Meets.  A smaller contingent made the crossing  this month but they certainly left their mark!  For complete results, follow this link: and for photos from the first mini meet, follow this link:  Well done to all that attended!

Matthew leading the corps in Antigonish

Congratulations are also in order for Matthew Downey!  Matthew is the latest student to earn his bagpipes.  Matthew is not only a talented piper but is also the Drum Sergeant in the Grade 5 band.  He passed his four tune test and will receive his bagpipes at his next lesson!  Well done, Matthew!

Save the date!  March 30th is the next ceilidh!  There will be a $5.00 cover charge but there will be FREE snacks!  Watch this space for more information as it becomes available.  There are rumours of Scottish Country dancing happening at this ceilidh...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Just A Friendly Reminder!

I hope everybody stayed safe and hunkered down on Tuesday!  The hatches were certainly battened with the latest storm.  Yikes!  Winter on our fair isle has once again reminded us that it's not quite over.  Having said that, there are only 19 days left of old man winter!  Not that we're counting down...

This coming weekend is proving to be an exhausting one!  Whiskey tastings, a second Halifax Citadel mini meet, Highland Storm Highland dance auditions and a Highland, Step and choreography dance workshop.  Phew!  It's going to be busy, busy, busy!

Mark your calendars!!! HIGHLAND STORM Highland Dance auditions will be taking place on Saturday, March 3, 2012 from 10:00 am – 11:30 am with Kearsney Smith and Karen Hatcher.  Auditions will take place in the Main Hall at The College of Piping, 619 Water Street East, Summerside.  A sign up sheet and registration form will be available upon arrival.

Casting Priority will be given to students registered at The College of Piping

Highland Storm will be running Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, opening on July 3, 2012 through to Thursday, July 26, 2012.  There will be no shows July 31, August 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 or 14.  The show will resume on Wednesday, August 15th and will run through to Thursday, August 30, 2012 (Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday).  If selected for Highland Storm – all rehearsals are mandatory

The following is the preliminary rehearsal schedule for June (subject to change as required):
Monday, June 18 – Thursday, June 21 3:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Summerside Highland Gathering takes place June 22, 23 & 24
Monday, June 25 – Thursday, June 28  3:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Friday, June 29 – Afternoon Rehearsal – Evening Dress Rehearsal
Saturday, June 30 – Afternoon Rehearsal – Evening Dress Rehearsal
Sunday, July 1st – Day Off
Monday, July 2 – Afternoon Rehearsal – Show Preview 7:30 pm
Tuesday, July 3 – Afternoon Rehearsal - Opening Night

Selection criteria for Highland Storm Highland Dancers:

  • Age: Must be 13 / 14 or older this year
  • Dancer must be of Intermediate / Premier standard. This standard must be maintained throughout the membership.
  • Dancer must be available for rehearsals where the entire cast is included.
  • Dancer must be able to endure copious amounts of dancing. 

This Sunday (March 4th) is the Highland, Step and choreography workshop.  The instructor is Kelly MacArthur and it includes lunch, a craft and a t-shirt.  The cost is $25 or $40 for both (there is no charge for College of Piping students).  If you would like to register for the workshop or if you have any questions, please contact Kearsney Smith at:

It's not too late to purchase tickets for the whiskey tasting!  The College of Piping Pipe Bands are hosting two whiskey tastings which will be led by whiskey expert Frank Scott.  The first one will be held on March 2nd at the College of Piping in Summerside in the main hall and the second will be held at The Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown in the penthouse suite.  Both events start at 7pm. Our whiskey guru, Frank Scott,  co-owns and manages the Lunar Rogue Pub in Fredericton, New Brunswick which received "one of the best whiskey bars in the world" awards from The Whiskey Magazine, a UK publication.  His knowledge is second to none as he is chair of Canada's oldest Whiskey, Spirits and Liqueur Festival for the past 16 years.  Let Frank take you on a magical whiskey tour!  Tickets are limited and a steal at only $50 each.  The tasting also includes pairing food that compliments each whiskey.  Please call the College at 436-5377 to reserve your ticket! 

The winter competition season is starting to heat up!  This past weekend our dancers were busy at the February Fling Competition in Riverview, New Brunswick.  For all results and pictures (under the heading of 2011/2012 Fall and Winter Dance Competitions) follow these links: and  Congratulations to our victorious dancers in New Brunswick!  Keep your eyes posted for results and new photos for our pipers as they partake in the second of three Halifax Citadel Mini Meets this weekend.  Good luck to everyone making the trek off of the island!

Congratulations to Morgan Dehmel for earning her pipes last week!  Morgan is a second year chanter student who successfully passed her four tune "audition."  Not only is she well on her way to a fabulous piping career but she is also an accomplished biathlon athlete.  Well done, Morgan!      

In my internet travels, I came across this quote from one of my most favourite authors, Oscar Wilde.  He says, "a work of art is the unique result of a unique temperament."  I think this is most apt when it comes to the College.  No matter what your journey is in piping, drumming or dancing, what you put out in terms of your chosen discipline is unique to you.  You are your own artist.