Wednesday, September 18, 2013

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 (and don't forget, you can sign up for more than one discipline).  If you are interested in piping and drumming, you might be eligible for the Doug and Debbie Hall Pipe Band Scholarship.  Call the College now and find out!  Sign up by either calling or emailing our registrar, Jane Magee, at 902-436-5377 or  Don't miss out on an opportunity to learn a new skill (or skills!) in the Celtic performing arts!

Matt MacIsaac

One alumnus that is putting their Celtic Arts training to good use is the extremely talented, Matt MacIsaac. Not only is he one of the top pipers in the world but Matt is also multi-talented when it comes to other instruments.  He also Natalie MacMaster's piper when she is on tour.  Why not check out and subscribe to his YouTube channel?  You can find that here:  Here is a snippet of Matt in action:  If you want to catch Matt live, you're in luck! On September 21st at the Uxbridge Music Hall, Matt will be joined by his wife, Kate Quinn, Mac Morin, Timi Turmel and Marie-Jeanne Brousseau and it will be hosted by Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy.  It promises to be a fantastic night of music!

Bruce Rainnie, Kendra MacGillivray and Kevin "Boomer" Gallant

On September 28th, don't miss Kendra MacGillivray and Bruce Rainnie with special guest Kevin "Boomer" Gallant as they celebrate 10 years.  They'll be performing at the Harbourfront Theatre and the shenanigans start 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 and are available through the Harbourfront box office.  Keep a close on Boomer as he is sporting a kilt and a set of bagpipes which were loaned to him by The College.  It promises to be a time!

Bruce Gandy

Fresh off of his second place finish in the Senior Piobaireachd contest at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, Bruce Gandy is holding a Silver Medal Piobaireachd Workshop on September 28th at the Halifax Citadel. It will be held from 10am-12pm and then from 1:15pm to 3:45pm.  The day will be spent discussing the 2014 Silver Medal set tunes on their merit, skill levels required to play them and the technical aspects needed to achieve this.  The tunes will also be broken down through their construction and melodies.  The cost for the full day of instruction is a steal at $30.00.  For more information and to register please contact Bruce at 426-3116 or      

A fantastic article was written by Canadian Highland dancer, Ross Armour, for the ScotDance Canada website (  It recounts the success of the Canadian Highland Dancers at the 2013 Cowal Highland Games.  He also talks to the current world junior champion (and Canadian!), Maegan Sweeney about her big win and what it takes to become a world champion.  To read his account of the world highland dance championships, please follow this link:     

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Friday!

"No great thing is created suddenly"

I ran across this quote on one of those quote-a-day calendars and thought it was quite fitting as we head into the 2013-2014 season at The College.  As we head into the darker, colder days of fall and winter, the days and months can stretch on for what seems like an eternity.  Practicing can seem like a chore and motivation can sometimes lack but it's the practice that we put in on a consistent and persistent level that will pay off in the end.  Everyone's goals are different and it's up to you how much you want to challenge yourself. Whether it's performing overseas in international competitions, tattoos or shows, competing, performing or just dancing or playing in your living room for fun.  Maybe it's to master that one dance you've always admired or that tune that you've always wanted to play.  Perhaps it's just for fitness.  Whatever the reason, have patience, practice regularly and have fun! 

Doug and Debbie with Sarah Simpson in Scotland 2012

Doug and Debbie Hall generously invited all three of our pipe bands into their home this summer for nights of pizza making, team building and fun!  An absolute blast was had by everyone and some very unique pizza creations were taste tested. To commemorate all the fun Grade 4 piper, Dean MacDonald, made a video. To watch all the pizza making action, please follow this link:  Thank you for all you do, Doug and Debbie!

Good luck to College alumnus, Iain Speirs!  He has qualified to play at the Glenfiddich Invitational Solo Piping Championship which takes place at Blair Atholl Castle in Scotland in October.  It is the 40th anniversary of the prestigious contest and only ten of the world's best pipers are selected to play based on their success at major qualifying competitions over the past year.  To read more about the contest, please follow this link:  Well done, Iain!

For all of you Highland dancers out there who are keen to find out a bit more about the 2013 Cowal World Champions, here is an article on the newly crowned adult world champion, Morgan Bamford from New Zealand. To read more about Morgan and her elation for winning the worlds, please follow this link:  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Are You Ready?!

Less than one week until classes start back up!  We can't wait to see new and returning faces walk through the doors of The College.  If you haven't signed up yet, it's not too late!  Are you interested in Highland or Island step dancing?  Or maybe the Highland bagpipes or Scottish snare drumming have been tempting to learn?  There is still time and space to register for the 2013-2014 year!  Did you know about the Doug and Debbie Hall Pipe Band scholarship?  If you are an Islander between the ages of 8-18, you qualify for it!   Doug and Debbie will generously cover your tuition for bagpiping and drumming lessons.  Did you know that you can sign up for more than one discipline?  You can dance and learn a new instrument!  Did you also know that there is no age limit when it comes to learning a Celtic art?  If you are an adult, we will gladly sign you up (for any of our disciplines!).  Did you know that dance is a great way to stay in shape?  A six step Highland fling is the equivalent to running a mile and a dancer vertically jumps 192 times while performing it!  I can’t even imagine the calories burnt while step dancing!  Please call or email our 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!

Lots of congratulations are in order to alumni, board members and judges!  Alumnus and board member, Andrew Hayes, had a successful trip to Scotland this year.  Andrew was second in the hornpipe and jig competition at the prestigious Northern Meeting contest in Inverness and he place fourth in the march competition at the Royal Braemar Highland Gathering (that's the highland games that the Queen attends!).  This is after he placed first in the jig contest at the notable Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, Scotland.  Our Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge judge, Jack Lee, also had a success Scotland trip.  Fresh off of his win of the Senior Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering, Jack took third place in the Clasp Piobaireachd competition and fifth place in the Silver Star competition at the Northern Meeting in Inverness, Scotland.  Well done to both Andrew and Jack!  

Congratulations are also in order to the Barra MacNeils for their two nominations from Music Nova Scotia for their album, "The Celtic Colour Sessions".  The Barra MacNeils were the headlining show which kicked off our 2012 Highland Gathering. Good luck to our extremely talented Highland Storm Director, Ryan MacNeil and the rest of his famous family.  We all have our fingers and toes crossed (which makes dancing and playing a bit hard!) for you guys! Well done and good luck!  

Don't forget to check out our photo gallery page on our website.  It has been updated throughout the spring, summer and now fall with photos from various competitions, recitals, fundraising ventures, Highland Storm and all other events that The College has been involved in.  A huge thank you to all of the parents and volunteer extraordinaire Susan Topping for taking the photos. Thank you! Please follow this link to find the photo gallery: While you're perusing through the photos, why not stop by our results page and find out how the students of The College did at the various competitions over the summer.  You will also find out how our alumni are doing on the competition boards as well.  Please follow this link to find the results page: