Friday, September 21, 2012


Happy Friday!  It's a wet and drizzly Friday but a Friday no less!  Today also marks the first day of fall.  That's right...the days are getting shorter and the dog days of summer are most certainly gone.  Leaves turning, cooler temperatures and the season of gourds is no reason for despair.  At the College of Piping we rejoice in the return of classes.  Students old and new passing through the doors, the start of new friendships and expanding the mind in learning a Celtic art.  This is the best time of year!

A reminder that four of your beloved highland, piping and drumming instructors (Kearsney, James, Kylie and Chris) will be away until Wednesday evening of next week (September 24th-26th).  Classes are still on in Charlottetown (September 24th) but Tuesday (September 25th) and Wednesday (September 26th) classes in Summerside are cancelled. Please check with your instructor about make up sessions for those missed lessons.  Classes will resume as normal on Thursday, September 27th.  If you are in the Grade 5 band, the pipe corps is still practising on Tuesday night but drum corps practice has been cancelled for that evening.  Grade 4 band practice on Wednesday will still go ahead as scheduled (both corps).  Thank you in advance for your cooperation regarding lessons and band practices!  Happy practising!  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Fit as a...

Did you know that in a report released earlier this year (March 2012) by PEI's chief public-health officer, it found that "more Islanders are more likely to be obese than Canadian counterparts."  58 percent of Islanders are classified as overweight or obese compared to the rest of Canada which weighs in at a leaner 52 percent.  The report found that Islanders are more likely to be less physically active than other Canadians and have poorer eating habits.  It also shows that Islanders have higher instances of not just obesity but asthma, diabetes and cancer than the rest of the country.

What does this have to do with the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada?  We can help!  Did you know that a six step fling is the equivalent to running a mile?  If that doesn't have your heart racing, did you know that a dancer jumps vertically 192 times while dancing that six step fling?  I'm starting to sweat just thinking about it!  If a dancer is jumping that many times during the fling, I wouldn't want to count the number of times a Step dancer click their heels and toes in any of their dances!

Did you know that a snare drum weighs anywhere from 16 to 20 pounds?  Imagine carrying that in a long parade with hills!  Did you know that the Highland bagpipe is one of the most physical instruments to play?  Did you know that you have to keep four reeds going in the once?!  All four of our core disciplines are not only physically demanding but mentally as well (which is good to help stave off Alzheimer's disease!).  Did you know that all of the piping and drumming music is memorized?  Dancers (Highland and Step) have to have their steps memorized?

Did you know that the Highland dancing program at the College offers an open class?  This class is designed for retired or recreational dancers to stay fit and have some fun in a non competitive atmosphere.  Did you know that the College offers a fitness class?  This is a targeted fitness and exercise class designed to improve conditioning for both Highland and Step dancers.  The College piping and drumming courses are offered to anyone who wants to learn how to play regardless of age.  Once you're on your chosen instrument, come and sweat it out at band practice once a week!

While the College may not seem as conventional as a gym or fitness institution, it offers a lot of courses to promote good health.  It's a fun and relaxing atmosphere.  What better way to stay in shape than showing off your new moves or technique at a ceilidh (watch this blog for the upcoming 2012-2013 ceilidh dates)!  We accept registrations all year round.  Call or email our wonderful registrar, Jane Magee, NOW!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Happy Friday!

Congratulations on the completion of the first week of classes at the College!  The College has been bustling this week with new and returning students.  All of the instructors look forward to getting to know the new students and recognizing the returning students since so many have had growth spurts over the summer months!  There is still time and space to register for the 2012-2013 year.  Please call or email our fabulous Registrar, Jane Magee, and she will happily assist you.  Her email address is: and the phone number to reach her is:  902-436-5377.  Sign up today and start your journey in the Celtic performing arts!

This weekend don't miss Kendra MacGillivray and Bruce Rainnie with special guest Kevin "Boomer" Gallant.  They'll be performing on September 15th at Harbourfront Theatre.  The show starts at 7:30pm.  It promises to be an evening of award winning East Coast and Celtic fiddle, engaging stories and songs, and sidesplitting comedy by three of the Island's favourite personalities.  Tickets are $21.00.  Here is a sneak peek of Boomer's attire for the show (you may recognize Boomer's kilt as the kilt and his accoutrements (including pipes) are provided courtesy of the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts): 

Don't fret!  Boomer has since been told that he put on his kilt backwards.  This is how not to wear a kilt!  Not to worry, I promise that it will be put the right way on for the show tomorrow evening!  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Welcome Back!

It's halfway through the first week of classes and what a week it's been!  New students beginning their journey in their chosen disciplines and returning students ready to face the challenges of a new year.  Exciting times here at the College!  There is still time and space to sign up for classes.  If you are interested in piping and drumming, you might be eligible for the Hall  Scholarship.  Call the College now and find out!  Sign up by calling 902-436-5377 and our fabulous registrar, Jane Magee, will assist you.  Don't miss out on an opportunity to learn a new skill in the Celtic performing arts!

A few years ago an audience member took a video of the act "Duelling Pipers" from Highland Storm and posted it on YouTube.  It has become an internet sensation!  Duelling Pipers now has over a million hits!  Too say it's amazing is an understatement!  Follow this link to check it out:

Thank you to all the countless volunteers who have helped at the College this summer (and throughout the year!).  The Highland Gathering, Highland Storm, various fundraisers and countless other tasks would not get done without your help.  As Winston Churchill once aptly put it, "we make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."    


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Return of another year!

Well, it's been a time but our time in Scotland has come to an end. Tomorrow marks the return journey across the pond. With a long layover in Iceland, these weary travelers will get back to the bright red mud early Sunday morning. To say it's been a blast is a huge understatement. We've seen the Grade Three band come in the top six in their respective grade on the world stage, Sarah Simpson won the Piobaireachd in the CLASP competition held during worlds week, taking part in the PipingLive! Festival, solo success in the Gold medal competition at Oban for our Director of Education, James MacHattie and countless other memories and experiences.

The Royal Gathering in Braemar was held last weekend. James MacHattie took fourth in the piobaireachd competition. It was a cold and windy day in the Highlands. By the time the last competitor had played in the piobaireachd contest, the games had pretty much been packed up! The gathering was attended by royalty as the Queen, Prince Philip, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall took in the events from the royal box. Alas, there were no pictures taken with the royals but some zoomed in paparazzi style photos will make there way on to the blog next week--watch this space!

The Northern Meeting is currently taking place as I write this from Eden Court Theatre in Inverness. The Northern Meeting is the one of the most prestigious piping contests held. This marks the end of the piping season for us North Americans.

In more local College news...a huge congratulations to Sarah Simpson for being invited to two of the most prestigious amateur piping contests this fall. Sarah will be attending the Nichol Brown contest in Albany, New York and the George Sherriff contest in Hamilton, Ontario. Only the top North American amateur players are invited to compete. Well done, Sarah!

 It's not too late to register for classes! Sign up now for your chance to expand your horizons and learn the Celtic Arts! Do it now!!!