Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Classes are Cancelled for January 30th


Due to freezing rain and the slippery conditions that come with it, all classes and Grade 4 band practice have been cancelled for today and tonight at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside and Cornwall.  Please stay home, stay safe and stay off of the slick roads!  We'll see everyone tomorrow!  Happy practising!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Support Your Local Highland Dancers!!!


Thank you to everyone who came out and supported the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada at our second annual Robert Burns Gala!  It was a fantastic evening full of music, laughter, good food (including yummy island made haggis) and fabulous entertainment.  It saw the d├ębut of our College of Piping Dance Company, our third College of Piping Pipe Band (Grade 4) and our newest instructor, the extremely talented Brittany Banks, who performed twice during the evening's festivities!  Keep your eyes peeled to the College's photo gallery page for photos from the fun filled evening. Robert Burns would have been proud and flattered to have been celebrated in such a festive and elegant way!  Thank you!



Save these dates!  The College of Piping Highland Dancers are in full fledged fundraising mode so that they can compete at the Canadian Highland Dance Championships in Montreal, Quebec in July.  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!  The hours that this is happening are between 10am to 4pm.  It's that easy!  


On February 9th, the dancers will be hosting an evening of fine dining.  It will take place in the hospitality room of the Atlantic Superstore at 6pm.  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.  I'm salivating while typing!  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 dancers so that they can reach their goal of competing at the Canadian Championships!    


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! 

   

Thursday, January 24, 2013

FREE HAGGIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well, maybe it's not technically free but you can have all the haggis you can eat at the College of Piping Robbie Burns Gala on January 26th at Credit Union Place.  Tickets are $100.00 (with each ticket receiving a $75.00 tax receipt) and the event promises a fantastic bang for your buck!  Entertainment will be provided by College staff and the extremely talented students of the College of Piping.  The event will see the debut of the newly formed Grade 4 Pipe Band and it will also unveil the College of Piping Dance Company.  There will be the traditional three course roast beef dinner (along with the famous address to the haggis).  It starts at 6:30pm and tickets are limited, so please call the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts NOW to reserve your ticket at  (902) 436-5377.  To read more about this stellar event, follow this link from the Journal Pioneer: http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2013-01-23/article-3162552/Robbie-Burns-remembered/1.  You don't have a good enough reason not to come!!!!


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!!!


More Summerside Storm tickets have arrived at the College!  You can purchase tickets for $5.00 and there are no processing fees or taxes!  Come in to the gift shop, pick up your flex tickets and then turn them in at Credit Union Place for the date and seat of your choice.  How easy is that?!  Friday night's game (January 25th) will feature the College of Piping pipe bands and dancers!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Happy Friday!


Don't forget!!!  Tomorrow (Saturday, January 19th), Meghan Bowen will give a workshop on our place in the Celtic tradition of performing arts.  She is an ethnomusicologist, and one of our mature students in the Highland Dance studio.  This session will be informative, interactive and quite simply a lot of fun!  It is designed for all students of The College but the general public is welcome to attend.  The cost is only $5 to participate.  See you there!


Congratulations to our extremely talented Highland Storm director, Ryan MacNeil and the rest of the Barra MacNeils!  They just received an East Coast Music Award nomination in the Roots/Traditions Group Recording of the Year category for their album "The Barra MacNeils with Symphony Nova Scotia".  The Barra MacNeils opened up the 2012 Summerside Highland Gathering with a stellar concert on the Friday night before the games.  Ryan and Boyd MacNeil will once again play in the beer tent at the Highland Gathering this year.  A well deserved nomination!  Good luck!


They didn't know it at the time but the Grade 3 College of Piping Pipe Band was being filmed during their practice at the National Piping Centre in August as part of the PipingLive! festival. They were honoured and flattered to find this video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdoAutDt2_Y.  A huge thank you to the National Piping Centre for inviting the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts to be a part of the award winning festival.  We had a blast!


Here's a fun Friday video.  For all of you Celtic music enthusiasts who have always wondered how they tie a bagpipe chanter reed, here is your chance to find out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpyBuY8OEhw&feature=plcp.  This is a short videshowing the Original McAllister reed being first tied on original machinery by Jamie Troy at JWT Reedmakers workshop, located in Victoria, BC, Canada. This method was passed down to Jamie by Bill McAllister of Shotts, Scotland.  Jamie Troy was a piping, drumming and band judge at the 2012 Summerside Highland Gathering!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday!

For auld lang syne, my dear
For auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o'kindness yet
For auld lang syne!

Are your vocal chords warmed up?  It's less than two weeks until the College of Piping Robbie Burns Fundraising Gala!  Traditionally the event ends with a rousing round of Robert Burns' most well known song, Auld Land Syne.  If you haven't gotten your ticket yet, there is still time!  Tickets are $100.00 (with a $75.00 tax receipt) and can be purchased from the College of Piping. There is a reception at 6:30pm with a traditional roast beef supper at 7pm.  Entertainment will be provided by faculty and our extremely talented students. Do not miss out on an evening celebrating Scotland's beloved national poet and supporting the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada at the same time!



Save the date!  This Saturday, January 19th, Meghan Bowen will give a workshop on our place in the Celtic tradition of performing arts.  She is an ethnomusicologist, and one of our mature students in the Highland Dance studio.  This session will be informative, interactive and quite simply a lot of fun!  It is designed for all students of The College but the general public is welcome to attend.  The cost is only $5 to participate.  See you there!



Grade 3 College of Piping Pipe Band member, Carsen Campbell, is starting to become quite the celebrity in these parts!  This past weekend Carsen was featured in a Journal Pioneer article.  To read about Carsen's return trip to the world junior biathlon championships, please follow this link:  http://www.journalpioneer.com/Sports/2013-01-11/article-3155029/A-return-trip/1.  Good luck, Carsen!  We're cheering you on from the College!


Try to see if you can spot College of Piping alumni and current board member, Andrew Hayes, in this pipe band video.  Hint:  He's wearing an Ottawa Police uniform!  These "Outside the Circle" videos started in New Zealand and became pipe band world sensations with different countries like Britain and Australia following suit.  This is Ontario's version:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ayj0sZk64F0.  Perhaps we'll see a Maritime one this summer?!  


Friday, January 11, 2013

What time is it?!



It's ceilidh time!  Tonight is the first ceilidh of the 2013 season.  It starts at 7pm but doors open at 6:30pm.  There is a $5 admission but there is FREE food and non-alcoholic beverages once inside!  Come and support the highland, step, pipers and drummers at tonight's festivities.  Ryan Simpson will be back as the host and he is even going to give us tune!  The College of Piping Grade 3 Pipe Band will debut their new drums and Briana Pineau will be highland dancing this evening.  We will also be joined by Scottish Country Dancers.  Come and learn Strip the Willow and other fun dances.  It's a great way to burn off those Christmas calories!  The next ceilidh is on February 15th. Come out support your local dancers and pipe bands and have a time while you're at it!    


If the lack of haggis at the ceilidh gets you down, never fear, you can have all the haggis you can eat at the College of Piping Robbie Burns Gala on January 26th at Credit Union Place.  Tickets are $100.00 (with each ticket receiving a $75.00 tax receipt) and the event promises a fantastic bang for your buck!  Entertainment will be provided by College staff and the extremely talented students of the College of Piping.  The event will see the debut of the newly formed Grade 4 Pipe Band and it will also unveil the College of Piping Dance Company.  There will be the traditional three course roast beef dinner (along with the famous address to the haggis).  It starts at 6:30pm and tickets are limited, so please call the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts NOW to reserve your ticket at (902) 436-5377.  You don't have a good enough reason not to come!!!   

Chris at the World Pipe Band Championships

January 7th marked 5 years of "inspiring excellence" for drumming instructor Chris Coleman! Thank you, Chris, for all that you do for your students, the pipe bands, and the entire College of Piping family! Your tireless work ethic and passion for teaching are so valuable to our mission here at the College!  

Dean at the Antigonish Highland Games

Dean MacDonald is not only a talented piper with our grade four pipe band but he is also very talented at making posters (like the pipe band 50/50 posters), videos (http://www.collegeofpiping.com/pipebands.php) and making photo books.  His latest video is his best one yet!  It highlights the travels, contests and practices of the grade 3 and 5 bands over the summer.  To take a gander at the video, please follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMQYTIZZT3Q.  Thank you, Dean, for all of your hard work and stellar work!  We really appreciate it!     

Carsen at the New Brunswick Highland Games

A huge congratulations to Carsen Campbell.  He is not only an accomplished piper but he is also a very successful biathlete.  Last year he competed in two world championships:  the world pipe band championships and the world junior biathlon championships.  Carsen has just secured a spot on the 2013 Youth and Junior World Championship Biathlon team AND he won gold his pursuit race at the World Biathlon trials in Canmore, Alberta!  Way to go, Carsen!  We’re all extremely proud of you and cheering you loudly on from The College!



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Dance News!


As Niccolo Machiavelli once said, "One change always leaves the way open for the establishment of others."  This past January we said goodbye to our beloved  head step dance instructor, Samantha MacKinnon.  Samantha has left the College in order to pursue her career in communications.  The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts wishes Samantha nothing but the best of luck and much success in her future endeavours.  With the absence of Samantha, comes the exciting announcement that Brittany Banks has been hired as the new head step dancing instructor.  Brittany brings a wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm and experience to the College.  We are extremely lucky, excited and privileged to have her join the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts family.  

Brittany Banks

A College welcome sign for Brittany!

In case you aren't familiar with Brittany and what she brings to the College, please let me introduce her!  Brittany Banks (ABATD) is a choreographer/director/singer/actor/dancer, born and raised on PEI. She recently graduated from the University of Prince Edward Island with her Bachelor of Music degree where she majored in vocal performance with a minor in theatre studies.  She has been dancing for twenty years; beginning with step dancing, she then branched out to also train extensively in tap, highland, ballet, jazz, lyrical, hip hop and clogging. Traveling across Canada for competitions and dance training with various instructors, past awards include Provincial Step Champion, Eastern Canadian Tap Champion, Eastern Canadian Character Champion and overall Eastern Canadian Senior Dance Champion. Brittany has also traveled to New York City to train with Dance Caravan, Orlando, Florida to perform and train at Disney World’s Epcot, Tokyo, Japan, where she represented the Atlantic provinces as the popular red head, Anne Shirley, as well as performing with the Charlottetown Festival Young Company at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.  She is also well known for her involvement with the musical Anne & Gilbert at Summerside’s Harbourfront Theatre, most recently portraying the role of Diana Barry and also serving as the production’s choreographer in 2010 and 2011. She has also been featured as a director and choreographer for productions such as Grease, High School Musical, Fame and Footloose (Bluefield Stage).  Welcome Brittany, to the College family!


Also joining the College team for a wee visit is Kelly MacArthur.  Kelly is teaching highland dance for the week of January 14th-16th while Kearsney is in South Africa renewing her visa.  Please let me introduce her:
Kelly MacArthur

Kelly MacArthur is a champion dancer from Cape Breton, who has competed and performed all over the world for over 30 years, with nearly every musician and band that has come out of Nova Scotia. She was the Nova Scotia Dance Ambassador for tourism for 10 years, has danced in several commercials and television specials, and was also featured in the Barra MacNeil’s video, “My Heart’s in the Highlands”. She has been teaching Highland Dance and Cape Breton Step Dance for the past 25 years, including 15 years at her own Dance Studio in Sydney, the MacArthur School of Dance. The school also has a professional performance troupe called the CapeLand Dancers, which is under Kelly’s direction and choreography, and consists of top level dancers from all over Cape Breton. She has also taught workshops all over Canada and the United States, and has taught at the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts for the past 24 years.

Kelly has won the Nova Scotia and Atlantic Canadian Highland Dance Championship titles repeatedly, as well as many Runner-Up titles all over Canada. She has won outstanding student awards at her former dance school and the Gaelic College of Celtic Arts. Kelly was awarded, by the Governor of Maine, with an ‘Ambassador of Tourism & Culture’ Award for her work within the school systems from 1997-2004. She won the prestigious ‘Nova Scotia Woman in Business’ Award in the Arts & Culture field in 2006, and was nominated for 3 other Woman In Business awards locally and within the Province, in the Arts & Culture sector, over the past 10 years. Kelly has successfully competed and performed all over Canada, the United States and Europe, and continues to perform, both solo and with her Dance Company, at events all over the Maritimes. She has her BA in Psychology and English from UCCB. She and her husband, award winning recording engineer, Michael Shepherd (Lakewind Sound Studios) reside in Sydney with their 7 year old daughter, Drea, and their toddler son, Jera. Drea is already competing and performing in Highland & Step Dance, singing Gaelic, and taking lessons in piano and fiddle. Jera has mastered his ‘stomp’. Kelly continues to promote the preservation of the culture of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and Scotland. Through instruction and performance of music, dance and history, she hopes to keeps the traditions alive and thriving for many more generations to come!  Welcome, Kelly!

Lacey dancing in Highland Storm this past summer

Hayley dancing in Highland Storm this past summer

A big thank you to College alumni, summer staff and Highland Storm dancer, Lacey Fischer for filling Kearsney's dance shoes for the week of January 2nd-4th.  Lacey kindly stepped, er, danced in while Kearsney is away.  For the rest of the weeks that Kearsney and Kelly aren't here, Hayley Porter has generously agreed to fill in (January 7th-10th and 17th-24th).  Kearsney will be back at the College on January 25th.  



Thursday, January 3, 2013

Welcome Back!

Happy New Year!  It's that time where the promise of a new, untouched year has us giddy with excitement.  The possibilities are endless and the slate is the cleanest it will be.  We look back at the past year and reflect and learn from our mistakes, our trials and our tribulations.  At the College we are beyond excited at the coming year and looking back, we can't believe what was accomplished in one year.  We couldn't have done it without our students, our volunteers, the community, the province and YOU!  Thank you for such a fabulous year and here is to looking forward, moving ahead and marching, stepping and dancing our way to another great year.

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts ended the year with some great publicity. We were featured twice in newspaper on on-line articles.  While it's a well known fact that the College went through a pretty tumultuous time after Founding Director, Scott MacAulay passed away, the College is now turning a corner and we are now headed in the right direction under our extraordinary Executive Director, Karen Hatcher.  Without Karen, the College wouldn't be on the mend and on the road to recovery.  Thank you Karen for all of your hard work, dedication, patience, guidance, support and your love of everything Celtic arts.  We could have not have done this without you!  To read the article in the Journal Pioneer, please follow this link: http://www.journalpioneer.com/News/Local/2012-12-23/article-3146500/Rolling-out-the-welcome-mat/1.  To read the CBC article, please follow this link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/story/2013/01/03/pei-college-piping-funding-584.html?cmp=rss.  

We couldn't agree more with the Fraser Institute's latest findings.  According to them, Islanders continue to be among the most generous in the country.  Canada's smallest province proves to have one of the biggest hearts.  PEI ranks second (we tied for second with Saskatchewan) behind Manitoba for charitable giving.  As a non profit organization, the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts relies heavily on the generosity of others. It comes as no surprise to us that the province ranks among the top.  The one thing that the poll doesn't take into account is the generosity of time.  We have so many volunteers who donate their time to the College without a mutter or complaint.  Without our countless volunteers this past year, we couldn't have conquered half of what we did. To read more about this, please follow this link:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/prince-edward-island/story/2012/12/13/pei-charitable-donations.html.