Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows Eve!!!

Happy Halloween!  May the weather co-operate and the public be generous in the candy that they give!  A reminder that classes are still on tonight in Charlottetown and Summerside.  If you have shown improvement since your last lesson, you may get a treat from your instructor!

Congratulations to all the Atlantic Pipe Band Champion Supreme winners!  The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, October 29, 2011 in Truro, Nova Scotia.  The College was well represented with a very large contingent of overall season winners!  Congratulations to:

Practice Chanter:  Sherra Rogers
Grade Five Piobaireachd:  Jordan Chowen
Grade Four Piobaireachd:  Shanae Rogers
Grade Four Light Music:  Sarrah Wood
Grade One Piobaireachd:  Sarah Simpson
Grade Four Drumming:  Frank Bowness
Grade Three Drumming:  Caitlin Campbell
Junior Amateur Hornpipe/Jig (Drumming):  Caitlin Campbell
Grade Four Pipe Band:  College of Piping

Congratulations on such a successful season!  The hard work done throughout the winter and spring was well worth the effort!  Please remember though, the greatest reward when competing is having fun.  It is not always about the result but about putting out your best performance and being happy with how it went.  The College is very proud of ALL of our students!

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the online piping competition!  The last day to submit your video is November 20, 2011.  To register, please follow this link:  Good luck to all that enter!  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Odds and Sods

It is the time of year where the dust seems to have settled.  Summer holidays are but a distant memory, the Thanksgiving turkey has finally been digested and Halloween costume decisions are being finalized.  It's the lull before the Christmas storm!

The winter Highland Dancing competitions have started!  To keep up to date on all the contests, please check out our results page (  While browsing the results page, you should head on over to the photo gallery ( to check out our dancers in action!  All photos and results are greatly appreciated from proud parents!  Although please remember that not all photos can make it into the photo gallery (depending upon quality and quantity).  

The Monday after the Christmas concert (December 19, 2011) there will be classes in Charlottetown!  Since so many Mondays fall on holidays, our Charlottetown students seem to be out some lessons.  The rest of that week will fall under the Christmas break.  Classes will resume on January 3, 2012.

Did you know that Bob Dylan has taken up the bagpipes?!  The famous singer purchased a set of bagpipes while he was in Glasgow recently.  Dylan has shown a great appreciation for all things Scottish as he has cited Robbie Burns to be a huge influence and he also has an honorary degree from St. Andrews University.  Scottish folk tunes have a had a major impact on his songs including his hit, "The Times They Are A-Changing."  Perhaps will see Bob Dylan make an appearance at Highland Storm...we can only hope! is offering an online piping competition!  This is the third online contest that has offered.  The College's own Director of Education, James MacHattie is one of the world-class judges that will be adjudicating the contest.  The last day to sign up for the contest is November 1, 2011 and the videos must be submitted by November 20, 2011.  To enter the contest, follow this link:  Good luck to all who enter!  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happy Friday!

It has been a big week at the College!.  The College has won the Community Enhancement Award (see previous blog for all the exciting details!)!!!  Karen Hatcher, our fabulous Executive Director, accepted the award on behalf of the College.  We now have pictures of this momentous night!  Please see below for all the excitement!

Karen and award sponsor, Greg Burton (Medicine Shoppe)

Karen with College Board Members Emily Schurman and Sharon O'Halloran

Karen with Summerside Mayor, Basil Stewart

All the award winners!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Well done!!!

I think it is a well known fact that the College has had its fair share of ups and downs the past couple of years.  That all changed in the winter of 2010 with the hiring of our current Executive Director, Karen Hatcher.  Karen has managed in just over a year and a half to steer the College into calmer waters and onto better destinations.

Last night The Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce held their 18th Annual Excellence in Business Awards.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada was nominated in the Community Enhancement section.  The other nominees in this category were:  Habitat For Humanity PEI, Central PEI CBDC, Community Connections Inc., PEI Business Women's Association, East Prince Family Violence Prevention and Jars of Cafe.  When you look at the importance of the work that these other organisations do, it was an honour just to be nominated.  The College, it turns out, was the big winner!  Karen, in her College uniform, was there to accept the award which was presented by Greg Burton (bagpiping student and father to Kate Ross and Robyn Burton, respective College students!). 

This award made me think of how far the College has come in such a short time.  Recently I came across the commencement speech that the late Steve Jobs gave at Stanford in 2005.  He had me mesmerized for the entire address.  The speech is broken in up into three sections.  The first part is about connecting the dots.  Steve had dropped out of College and decided to take the courses that he wanted to take instead of taking the ones that he had to for his program.  In the concluding passage of this section he says this, " can't connect the dots looking forward.  You can only connect them looking backwards, so you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.  You have to trust in something--your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever--because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference." 

How is this relevant to the College?!  This is exactly what Karen has done to make the College a better and more vibrant place.  She has taken something and turned it around by looking back and trusting in herself to make the right decisions.  This year has been huge for the College.  There was the return of the Summerside Highland Games, a brand new Highland Storm, winter ceilidhs, new staff...the list could go on and on.  Karen has definitely made the College a better place to be.  It is now somewhere where people want to hang out even when they do not have to be here.  She has made it exciting to come through the front doors again.

Congratulations, Karen from all of us at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada!  Thank you for taking the reins and guiding us through the ups and the downs.  Thank you for not giving up.  Enjoy this award.  It is well deserved!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy, Happy, Happy!

Trick or Treat!  Did you know that Halloween has Celtic roots?!  Some folklorists believe that Halloween has its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain.  Samhain is roughly translated as "summer's end."  This is derived from Old Irish and the name is historically kept by the Gaels and Celts in the British Isles.  Halloween, this year, falls (no pun intended!) on a Monday night.  Classes in Charlottetown are still on!  Perhaps if you have practiced extra hard this week, you may get a treat from your instructor!

Once Halloween is over, Christmas is not that far off, the date!  December 18, 2011, the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts Christmas Concert is taking place!  It will be held at the Summerside Intermediate School at 2pm.  Come out and support the students as they show off their amazing talents!!!  Last year's concert was a fabulous show and this year's promises to be even better!

A Happy Belated Birthday to our very own Executive Director, Karen Hatcher!!!  Karen celebrated her birthday this week and everyone at the College hopes that she had a fantastic day!  On behalf of all the faculty, staff and students at the College, Happy Birthday Karen!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's in a name?

This past summer, Summerside gained a new inhabitant by the name of Samuel's Coffee House.  I often wonder if there is an actual Samuel behind the name.  Is it named after a favourite uncle, a father, a son, a favourite pet?!  Naming something or someone is a very big responsibility.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada is sometimes confused with a plumbing school.  People tend to look just at the College of Piping and neglect to read the rest of the title.  I am often shocked that people think that this is where people go to learn about plumbing but to someone who does not know that piping is taken from the word bagpiping, it could be an easy mistake to make.  Choosing a name is something that is not to be taken lightly! 

So.....we are you to help us with the responsibility of naming the monthly newsletter!  Since the newsletter is for you, the reader, you are the perfect person to come up with the name!  Please email your submissions to our fabulous registrar, Jane Dunn at by October 27th.  The winner will receive two tickets to next year's fantastic production of Highland Storm!  A decision will be made in time for November's edition of the newsletter.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Where is the time going?!

What a gorgeous month September was!  It is hard to believe that it is over already.  The colours are changing and Thanksgiving is next weekend!  A reminder that classes will NOT be held in Charlottetown on Thanksgiving Monday (October 10th).  A good way to get over the lethargy that turkey causes....practicing!!!

A big congratulations to Catherine and Sandy MacDonald.  Catherine is the newly appointed Pipe Major of the College of Piping Grade Five Band and Sandy is a snare drummer in the band.  Catherine and Sandy both received awards at the 24th Annual Island Literary Awards which were presented by the Prince Edward Island Writer's Guild in Charlottetown this past weekend.  These are the awards that they won for their literary contributions:

In the English category:
  • Senior High Honourable Mentions-The Rotary Club of Charlottetown Royalty Young People's Creative Writing Award
In the French category:
  • Secondaire 10e, 11e, 12e Mention Honorable - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
  • Secondaire 10e, 11e, 12e Deuxieme Prix - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
In the French category:
  • Secondaire 7e, 8e, 9e Deuxieme Prix - Prix Jeunesse de Creation Litteraire Du Club Rotary De Charlottetown Pour Jeunes Ecrivains
Check out the blog at the College of Piping Glasgow!  A picture of the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts Founding Director, Scott MacAulay is posted.  Our very own Director of Education, James MacHattie, is mentioned as well.  Scott may be gone but he is definitely not fogotten in the piping, drumming and pipe band world.  Here is the link: (scroll down to the September 19, 2011 entry). 

A very special thank you to Sandra Bald-Jones for coming to the College to teach classes when Kearsney was in South Africa.  Our highland dance students really benefited from her experience and enthusiasm!