Thursday, February 28, 2013

Blah!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”  (Dr. Seuss)

Blah, blah, blah, blah.  At this time of year the winter blahs have set in.  Motivation to practice can be at an all time low and the summer months seem like a very long way off. Band practices can seem repetitive, lessons seem to be endless and performances and competitions seem nowhere in sight .  Canadian winters are long, hard and sometimes endless.  There is a light!  March begins tomorrow and that means spring is right around the corner (right?!).  Late winter/spring competitions are starting up, performances and recitals are being scheduled and the sun is getting its warmth back which means that summer is coming.  Instructors try their best to motivate students during this bleak time of year. Imagine how much easier the summer competition/performance season will be if the work in during these cold months!  If the hard work is put in now, come summer time, you'll be coasting....but it's up to YOU!!!  



One way to keep your motivation up is to come and participate in our March 1st ceilidh! Everyone is welcome no matter what your skill level.  We've had Scottish country dancing, bodhrans and even a tuba!  The doors open at 6:30pm and the festivities start at 7pm. There is a $5 admission charge but once inside there is FREE food and non-alcoholic beverages.  The next ceilidh will be May 10th and that will be the last one until the fall. Come out, have fun and witness some fantastic performances!  



If you check out the blog on the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association’s website you will notice that our very own instructor and Grade 3 band member, Sarah Simpson has written about her experience of attending the 17th Annual George Sherriff Memorial Amateur Invitational Competition.  To find her blog entry, please follow this link:  http://acpba.ca/acpba-blog/.  Only ten of the top amateur players in North America were playing at this prestigious contest!    



At this time of year a great escape is needed to get away from the dreariness.  If you can't actually go on holiday, why not take in the latest dinner theatre?  Why not go to New York for the evening?  If you have already made it out to New York After Dark you probably noticed a familiar face in the cast.  Our very own lead step dancing instructor, Brittany Banks, is part of the ensemble.  There is music, sketches, comedy and more!  Do not miss out on seeing this great show!  For ticket information and dates, please follow this link:  http://whiteroseentertainmentinc.ca/shows/revue/.  Brittany is also the choreographer for Anne and Gilbert, The Musical.  Earlier this year there was an announcement that the show will play in Charlottetown for the first time this summer at The Guild.  Is there anything she can't do?!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Congratulations!

Karen at the 2013 Robert Burns Gala

Our fabulous Executive Director, Karen Hatcher, has had a lot of good things happen in the past couple of weeks (the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal anyone?!) and today is no exception.  February 25th marks her three year anniversary at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada!  What a three years it's been!  She has done more for the College in the short amount of time that she's been here than most people do in a lifetime.  She's not only turned the College around but she continues to be a source of inspiration for her staff and the students (young and old) that attend.  We all look forward to her continued commitment to the College and the great things that will happen in the coming years!  These are exciting times and with Karen as our fearless leader, we can do anything!  Congratulations, Karen!  


This past weekend was quite a fun filled one with lots of laughs, lots of teamwork and lots of bonding.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada took part in the 2013 Rotary Mardi Gras Funspiel.  Two teams were entered and the one lead by our Director of Education, James MacHattie, won the tournament!  His team consisted of drumming instructor, Sam Ramsay, Grade 4 pipe band instructor, Sarah Simpson and piping instructor, Kylie MacHattie.  All were entered for the cover the button contest and Kylie MacHattie had her name drawn to participate in that (there were only three names drawn).  While she didn't cover the button and win the $50,000 grand prize she did manage to win the overall over two experienced curlers (she's never curled in her life!). She ended up winning a two week pass to the RBC Cup in May.  Congratulations to everyone who participated!        

 
     Team James MacHattie

Team Chris Coleman

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

All Classes are Cancelled for February 20th


Mother Nature is a bit cranky!  Due to the impending storm which is to bring us snow, rain, freezing rain and high winds, all classes have been cancelled in Summerside and Cornwall for today and tonight.  The Grade 4 College of Piping pipe band practice has also been cancelled.  We'll see everyone tomorrow!  Happy practising!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Well Deserved!

Last week our Executive Director, Karen Hatcher, was presented with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for her contributions to not only the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada but her community and province.  She is a tireless leader who, no matter what the circumstances, keeps a positive attitude where others might have given up long ago.  She is never without a smile or a cheerful greeting.  She makes time for everyone and is always willing to help out where needed.  No task is too big and none are too small.  As Dr. Seuss once wrote:  "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It's not."  She leads by example and has inspired those who work and learn at the College to be the very best.  

It's no secret that the College has had a bit of roller coaster ride the past few years. Some extremely great and unforgettable moments and some not so great moments.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears go in to making a not-for-profit organization succeed.  It's true that you need a community of committed people to make it work but you also need a strong, fearless leader.  We are extremely lucky and privileged to have such an amazing person, woman and mentor at the helm.  

Congratulations, Karen!  We are all very proud of you.  We are thankful that you chose to return to the island and we look forward to seeing where you take the College in the future!    


Karen (on the right) and College Board Member and Past Chairman, Ken Gillis (on the left)

Group shot of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients

Group shot of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal recipients




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy Wednesday!

Well, Mother Nature is just not ready to give up quite yet.  February is proving to be a bit of a stormy month and storm days seem to have been the norm as of late.  Remember to keep your eyes peeled to the blog for class cancellations.  We do not always follow school closures.  While you're tucked at home keeping warm and staying safe from all the wintry weather, why not take those opportunities to practice?!  February can sometimes feel like the longest month of the year and motivation to practice can sometimes be at an all time low.  The good news is that spring is just over a month away and then the summer months will be upon us in no time.  Why not take the wise advice of Aristotle: "We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit."  Happy practising!

Calvin Gallant

As Juliet once called down to Romeo from the balcony:  "Good night, good night.  Parting is such sweet sorrow."  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada bids a fond farewell to Calvin Gallant.  Calvin has left for basic training in Quebec to successfully become one of the youngest members of the Royal Canadian Air Force Band in Winnipeg. He has been a drummer at the College for the past eight years and he will be greatly missed by everyone.  We are extremely proud of Calvin and his achievements.  Did you know that he began his pipe band career as a tenor drummer at the age of eleven?! Please see below for that picture!

 Calvin's start to his pipe band career!


The date for the Highland dancers' evening of Fine Dining has now been changed to March 9th at the Altlantic Superstore in Summerside.  Chef Calvin Burt of Shipwright's Cafe will oversee the meal.  The menu is going to be absolutely delicious!  It consists of: chicken cordon bleu, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spring vegetable medley and dessert. Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased from any of our Highland dancers, Highland dance parents or from the College. There is limited seating so get your tickets now! Anyone who has eaten at Shipwright's will know that this is a meal not to be missed!  Help support our Highland dancers so that they can reach their goal of competing at the Canadian Championships inMontreal!   


A new location for the College of Piping Pipe Bands 50/50 Gold Rush has been added! The Water Street Bakery now has a 50/50 box.  It is located at 605 Water Street East in Summerside.  Why not support the College of Piping Pipe Bands while getting a tasty soup or tasty treat at the same time?  It seems like a win-win situation to me!  A huge thank you to the Water Street Bakery for allowing us to put a box in their store!

Friday, February 8, 2013

You Can Make Everyday Better!

Today I stumbled across the latest youtube sensation and took the time to watch it (okay, I watched it three times...).  Usually I tend to ignore the youtube trends but so many people had commented on or shared it, I was sucked in out of sheer curiousity (sceptically, I must admit).  It is called: "A pep talk from Kid President to You" (for your viewing pleasure, you can watch it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-gQLqv9f4o). One of the quotes that really struck me was, "You can make every day better for each other.  We're all on the same team."  So often we worry about ourselves and with technology and social media today, it's easy to become very isolated.  At the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada we strive to have a team/family atmosphere. Everybody has the same goal here:  We all love the Celtic arts and are trying to preserve and evolve them at the same time.  Everyone is welcome at The College, whether you are past student, a visitor, a current student or a Celtic enthusiast.  There is always an open door policy at The College.

Lindsay and Shelley at the 2012 World Pipe Band Championships

One person who is a major part of the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada team is Lindsay Rogers.  Do you know that Lindsay uses his holiday time to volunteer at the College?!  Lindsay, along with his wife Shelley, have volunteered at the College for many years.  They have three very talented children who play the bagpipes, highland AND step dance!  He (along with Shelley) helps to make the College a better place everyday.  Today Lindsay is being honoured with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.  He was nominated for this medal by the Prince Edward Island Police Association with the support from The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada for his commitment and volunteerism to the College.  To say we are proud of your honour would be an understatement!  Well done!


Please note a postponement due to the inclement weather due for this weekend!!!  Our Highland dancers were hosting an evening of Fine Dining on Saturday (February 9th) at the Atlantic Superstore in Summerside.  The date has now been changed to March 9th.  Chef Calvin Burt of Shipwright's Cafe will oversee the meal.  The menu is going to be absolutely delicious!  It consists of: chicken cordon bleu, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spring vegetable medley and dessert.  Tickets are $25.00 and can be purchased from any of our Highland dancers, Highland dance parents or from the College. There is limited seating so get your tickets now! Anyone who has eaten at Shipwright's will know that this is a meal not to be missed!  Help support our Highland dancers so that they can reach their goal of competing at the Canadian Championships in Montreal!    


If you haven't found that perfect gift for Valentines Day yet, the College Highland dancers have the perfect solution!  Why not buy a raffle ticket for a Valentines gift basket?!  The basket has all the essentials for the special day:  wine, wine glasses, chocolate, candles, cheese ball, crackers and a serving platter.  The tickets can be purchased from the gift shop at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada.  Ticket prices are as follows:  1 for $1.00, 3 for $2.00 and 5 for $3.00.  The draw date is February 10th.  Good luck!  

For all of you competitive Highland dancers, here is a great read for your stormy weekend ahead.  It's called, "With success comes sacrifice:  An insight into the life of a competitive Highland dancer."  It's a great read and offers sage advice from people like highly sought after teacher and judge, Bill Troock (who will be judging at the 2013 Summerside Highland Gathering).  To read the article, please follow this link: http://wanderersports.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/with-success-comes-sacrifice-an-insight-into-the-life-of-a-competitive-highland-dancer/.  Hunker down, stay warm and enjoy some great reading material...not a bad way to spend a storm day!  




Monday, February 4, 2013

ALL CLASSES CANCELLED AND THE COLLEGE IS CLOSED - STORM DAY!!

ALL classes at The College of Piping and Celtic Performings Arts of Canada will be cancelled for today in both Summerside and Charlottetown due to the snow and wind warnings.  As well, The College of Piping is closed in Summerside for the day - reopening at 9 am on Tuesday.  HAPPY STORM DAY!!!!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Happy February!

Ah, February...the longest shortest month of the year!  The days are getting marginally longer and the occasional warmish days are upon us.  It's the month of love, hearts and cupid.  Pink, purple and red dominate the stores as they peddle their Valentine wares. Here at the College, we're already gearing up for Highland Storm and the Highland Gathering.  Even though it's still five months away, time will go by quickly and we'll wonder how we got from Valentines Day to the Highland Gathering so fast!



Come and help support our dancers in their quest to compete at the Canadian Highland Dance Championships in Montreal!  On Saturday, February 2nd, at the Summerside M&M Meat Shop location, buy your favourite M&M products and let the cashier know that you are supporting the College of Piping Highland Dancers.  10% of all support sales will go towards sending our dancers to Montreal!  It's that easy!  Come and show your support and help our dancers reach their goal!!!



Our new lead step instructor, Brittany Banks, is not just an extremely talented dancer(tap, highland, ballet, jazz...) but she also choreographs, sings, has a music degree...I'm not sure there isn't something she can't do!  Brittany was featured today on the front page of the Charlottetown Guardian.  Brittany is the choreographer for Anne and Gilbert, The Musical.  It was the official announcement that the show will play in Charlottetown for the first time this summer at The Guild.  To read the article, please follow this link: http://www.theguardian.pe.ca/Arts/Entertainment/2013-01-31/article-3168058/Charlottetown-expands-as-Land-of-Musical-Anne/1.  Well done, Brittany!  

The newest surgeon to move to Summerside is Dr. Robert MacKay.  Did you know that he plays the bagpipes and is also the newest member of the College of Piping Grade 4 Pipe Band?!  Robert will be at his first practice next week and we are delighted to welcome him not only to Summerside but the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts as well!  To read about Robert's new position, please follow this link: http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2013-01-31/article-3167554/Summerside-welcomes-new-surgeon/1.