Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Notes

As I look out my window and crank my heater up, it's hard to believe that it's the end of May but this weekend will mark the start of June.  Where is time going?!  Even if Mother Nature isn't being very cooperative, the summer season is starting and that's when The College kicks into high gear.  Full cast Highland Storm rehearsals have begun and we're in the final planning stages for the Highland Gathering. Hang on to your hat, it's going to be a busy month!  

It's End of Year Recital time at The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada!

We are excited about the year end recital that will be held on Sunday, June 15th at 2pm in the Mary Ellen Burns Amphitheatre at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside.  It is free, so bring all your family and friends to see what everyone has accomplished this year in class!  The weather is going to be marvelous, so it will be a great start to a season of fun outside at the College of Piping!

On June 1st, the College of Piping Pipe Bands are holding a "Run to Scotland" running race.  It will be comprised of a 5km and a 10km race.  The 5km race will take place on the Confederation Trail and is walker friendly.  The 10km will take place on the streets and trails of Summerside.  Registration on the day of the race starts at 4:15pm and the race starts at 5pm. Come and support a great cause and enjoy a great race while you're at it!

The Quilt Raffle

 The Bench Raffle

The pipe bands are holding two separate raffles!  The first one is on a beautiful quilt made lovingly by one of our band family’s grandmother!  Tickets are $2.00 each or 3 for $5.00.  The draw will take place on August 6th at our last show of the 2014 Highland Storm season.  The second raffle is on a gorgeous bench made by Myron Taylor.  Tickets are $5.00 each or 3 for $10.00.  The draw for the bench will be held on the Sunday of the Highland Gathering.  Tickets can be purchased through the College of Piping gift shop.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Victoria Day Long Weekend Activity Recap!

It's been a busy, busy long weekend at The College.  The amphitheatre roof has been put on, the back has been mowed, weeded and pruned, the Highland Storm set has been assembled and we even had time to rub shoulders with royalty!  All in a couple of days work for our staff, volunteers and students!

Victoria Day Monday saw members of our Grade 5, 4 and 3 College of Piping Pipe Bands welcome Prince Charles and Camilla to the island.  They were there to greet them at the bottom of the plane stairs as the royal couple disembarked. Some lively 6/8s were played to welcome them and then the royal couple were whisked into Charlottetown for their first engagement of their island visit.  To watch video of the royal arrival, please follow this link: http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/Canada/PEI/ID/2458002722/.  To see photos, please follow this link: http://www.collegeofpiping.com/photogalleries.php?id=537b627e37d28 (photos courtesy of Susan Topping).  To see if you can spot Grade 3 piper, Sarah Simpson, at Prince Charles' visit to Holland College today, please follow this link (and click on the video):  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/prince-charles-wields-a-big-stick-1.2648273.

A huge thank you to all of the volunteers who came out and helped prepare the field and amphitheatre for the Highland Gathering and Highland Storm.  Your hard work and enthusiasm was greatly appreciated and the grounds are looking fabulous!  Thank you!!!    

Friday, May 16, 2014

Volunteers Needed!!!

This weekend The College is looking for volunteers!  We are assembling team captains and teams of volunteers for this Saturday (May 17, 2014) with a start time of 9 am.  We need to prepare the field and the amphitheatre for the Highland Gathering and Highland Storm.  Spread the word – many hands make light work – any power tools that people can bring will be helpful.  Come for an hour or the whole time.  Whatever you are able to offer in the form of time and talent would be greatly appreciated.  There are jobs for everyone and people of all ages!   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Highland Storm

In just over a month Highland Storm will be previewing for the 2014 season!  The June 27th preview show will start our 2014 Homecoming Highland Gathering with a bang!  Rehearsals have started and music and steps are busy being rehearsed. We are extremely fortunate to have Ryan MacNeil back as our director. Please see below for his message about the 2014 production of Highland Storm!    

It’s hard to believe this coming season of “Highland Storm” will be my third year of directing the show.  It has been a rewarding experience to say the least. It offers me a creative outlet to work with the best talent that Prince Edward Island has to offer. I am honored to be involved.

Our cast this year has many positive first time additions in all of our disciplines and some of our seasoned veterans will also be returning to the show.  I truly believe that Highland Storm not only offers a musical performance experience for our cast, but also provides memories that last a lifetime. For many, this is their first employment experience.  How many people have a summer job that they are passionate about at an early age…or any age for that matter!

Our creative team have sat down this fall and brought the question to the table once again, “How will we top last year's show?” Let’s just say, this one takes the cake! The Highland Storm brand of Celtic music and dance broadens the horizons while keeping the traditions that have kept the culture in existence. To quote the late Godfather of Celtic Music, John Allan Cameron, “We play the hits from the last 300 years!” Whether it’s dance choreography to reels and jigs of old and new or a Celtic version of The Beatles song, there is some thing for everyone in this year show. It is a show that is not to be missed! Bring friends and family and celebrate what 25 years of The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts has to offer.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It's Islander Choice Time!

Please vote for us in Ocean 100's Islanders Choice Awards, sponsored by PEI Tourism!  To vote for Highland Storm, please follow this link:  http://www.ocean100.com/index.asp?mn=14&cc=2&id=10556. Thank you very much for your support!  We really appreciate it!  

Monday, May 12, 2014

It's Clean Up Time!

It is that time of year again and we are assembling team captains and teams of volunteers for Saturday, May 17, 2014 (if Mother Nature cooperates) – start time is 9 am.  Jobs that will need to get done are the following:

  • Roof on the amphitheatre
  • Half shell assembled in field
  • Bleachers in the field moved to accommodate new field set up for highland gathering
  • Stage repositioned to accommodate bigger entertainment tent for gathering
  • Cut back bush
  • Raking
  • Lawn mowing
  • Clean out buildings
  • Lots more lawn mowing
  • Sides put on theatre
  • Set assembly in theatre
  • Sides and additional tarps on the theatre
  • Back panel on the theatre
  • Concession stand tent assembly in theatre
  • Concession stand equipment in theatre –refrigerators and sink installed
  • Highland Storm banners on light posts
AND – all other stuff that just needs to get done J

Spread the word – many hands make light work – any power tools that people can bring will be helpful.  Come for an hour or the whole time.  Whatever you are able to offer in the form of time and talent, would be greatly appreciated.  There are jobs for everyone and people of all ages!!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014


This past weekend was a full one for our pipe bands and highland dancers.  As the summer season rapidly approaches and the teaching year winds down our students are busy, busy, busy!  May through to the end of August is an exceptional time at The College as our students, in all disciplines, are performing, teaching and competing all over not only the Maritime but the World. Check back often to our website and the blog to check up on what's going on at The College!

Grade 3, 4 and 5 Combined Band Photo

A huge thank you to everyone who attended the College of Piping Pipe Bands fundraising concert in New London this past Saturday night.  It was an awesome night and an enormous thank you to Karen Slater, Jason Campbell, Bridgette Blanchard and Morgan Hill for taking part in the evening's entertainment line up. Our fabulous Executive Director, Karen Hatcher, was not only the event's Master of Ceremonies but also performed with the Grade 4 Pipe Band (Karen is the Grade 4 band's Pipe Sergeant).  The live cake auction and silent auction were also huge successes.  To see photos from this concert, please follow this link:  http://www.collegeofpiping.com/photogalleries.php?id=5369385b8b49d.  All photos were taken by Susan Topping.  The bands are extremely grateful for the support from the community. Thank you!    

Danielle Norris-Chiarotto receiving her McSorley bagpipes from Director of Education, James MacHattie

This past fall The College had a very special and generous donation in the form of a set of RG Hardie Bagpipes.  The stipulation was that this particular set of pipes were to be given, and not loaned, to a deserving piping student.  The people who made this very generous donation are Hemant Srivastava and Maureen McSorley.  Maureen was a student at The College this past summer and took lessons from our Director of Education, James MacHattie.  This set of pipes will be known as the McSorley bagpipes with the number of 1970.  The deserving piper who received this beautiful set of bagpipes was Danielle Norris-Chiarotto.  Danielle started three years ago and has continually impressed her instructors with her hard work, dedication and fantastic attitude. In the short time that she has been playing she has risen rapidly through the band system and is a current member of the Grade 4 College of Piping Pipe Band and competes in the Grade 5 solo category. For more photos of Danielle receiving her pipes, please follow this link: http://www.collegeofpiping.com/photogalleries.php?id=5367b08fc94e9 (photos courtesy of Susan Topping).  Congratulations, Danielle!

Highland Dance Instructor, Kearsney Smith (centre) with Shelby Lynne (left) and Allanna Dalziel (right)

Congratulations to sisters, Shelby Lynne and Allanna Lee Dalziel for their choreography "Going Home" which got them first place at the BATD Festival of Dance in Halifax, Nova Scotia this past weekend.  They were then eligible to compete in the Rose Bowl Competition for this dance.  Also congratulations to Brae Myers who was the high aggregate trophy winner for the Novice 11 Years and Over category and winner of a BATD scholarship.  For more results, please follow this link: http://www.collegeofpiping.com/competitionresults.php.  Well done to all of our Highland dancers who competed at the BATD Festival of Dance!     

Thursday, May 1, 2014

What Time Is It?!

It's concert time!  The College’s three pipe bands will be performing in a fundraising concert at the New London Community Complex this Saturday May 3rd.  The concert will also feature performances from North Shore talent, including Bridgette Blanchard, Morgan Hill, Jason Campbell, and Karen Slater will perform a short skit – she brought the house down last time!  There will also be a silent auction, a cake auction and a concession stand as well.  Tickets are only $10.  All the fun starts at 7pm.  Don't miss out on a fabulous evening of entertainment!

Mikaila Murray performing in the 2013 production of Highland Storm

Our pipe bands aren't the only ones performing in the next couple of weeks!  Step dancing instructor and aspiring piper, Mikaila Murray, will be performing in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Harbourfront Theatre May 8, 9 & 10, 2014 and Emma Doucette, our new vocalist for Highland Storm 2014, will be performing in Grease in Charlottetown Rural’s Production at the Confederation Centre May 8, 9 & 10, 2014.  The College wishes them lots of success in their respective shows! 

Allanna (on the left) performs at the 2014 College of Piping Robbie Burns Supper along with her sister Shelby Lynne (on the right).  Photo credit:  Susan Topping.

Congratulations are in order for Allanna Dalziel who has been awarded the first annual College of Piping Post Secondary Scholarship.  She was selected from a group of applicants by a committee made up of instructors, staff, board members and volunteers.  The scholarship will be presented to her at her graduation from Bluefield High School on June 23, 2014 by Executive Director Karen Hatcher at her graduation ceremony that will take place at UPEI. Allanna will be attending UPEI next year and will be in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.  Allanna is currently a competitive Highland Dancer and has been competing at the highest levels, Premier and Championship, for a number of years. Apart from competitive Highland, Allanna is also one of our strongest dancers in the Senior Dance Company which is strictly focused on performance, and she is a member of our team for Highland Storm 2014. She is an accomplished Step and Tap Dancer and has been performing since she was little. Allanna is interested in doing her Associates exam in 2015 under the British Association of Teachers’ of Dancing, which means she will be able to teach. Congratulations Allanna! 

L-R:  Bruce Gandy, Brady Webb, Gillian Blaney, Calum Brydon, Robert Caldwell and Jack Taylor

A huge thank you to the Bruce Gandy Bagpiping Development Society for awarding our own Calum Brydon, along with three other lucky recipients, with a tuition scholarship to attend the workshop with Dr. Jack Taylor this past Sunday at The College.  These were the inaugural scholarships to be handed out by the society.  The society's mission statement is "to promote and enhance bagpipe music through educational funding and partnership."  Bruce has certainly done that with these scholarships!  To learn more about Bruce's foundation please follow this link: http://brucegandyfoundation.org/.