Monday, March 31, 2014

Classes Cancelled For March 31st

O Spring, Spring, wherefore art thou Spring?

March goes in like a lion and out like a bunch of lions that ate the lamb for lunch?!  I'm starting to feel like a broken record but due to the freezing rain already falling and the snow and wind scheduled for this evening, all classes in Charlottetown and Summerside have been cancelled for this afternoon and evening.  Please stay home, stay safe and keep your fingers and toes nimble by practicing!

Please don't forget that the deadline for the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada Post Secondary Scholarship is tomorrow!  Please see your instructor for more information if you are interested! Good luck to all of those who apply!

Pipe Band flashmob in Australia

Here are a couple of videos that will warm your heart on this cold and dreary day.  The first one is from Perth, Australia where a bunch of pipers and drummers performed a surprise flashmob to bring attention to the State Pipe Band Championships.  This can be found using this link: The second video comes from the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships.  It's called "Outside the Circle" and is set to Pharrell's song, Happy.  Watch some of your favourite pipers and drummers strut their dancing stuff!  To watch this video, please follow this link:  

College of Piping alumnus, Matt MacIsaac

If you're feeling a little stir crazy from so many snow days, why not check out College of Piping's alumnus, Matt MacIsaac's new web page.  He is a very talented Celtic musician who currently tours with Natalie MacMaster and will take on the role as pipe major for the 400 Squadron Pipe Band of Ontario in the fall. To check out his fancy fingerwork, please use this link:

Friday, March 28, 2014

Scholarship Deadline is Coming Soon!

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada
Post Secondary Scholarship

The purpose of The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada Post Secondary Scholarship is to financially support the post secondary learning endeavors of a graduating high school student who is registered at The College of Piping & Celtic Performing Arts of Canada.   Awarding of this scholarship shall help to preserve the unique traditions and skills associated with performing the historic Scottish arts and to provide funding for continued study and development.  One $1,000.00 non-renewable scholarship is available to a graduate of any of the 11 high schools on Prince Edward Island.

Applicants must meet the following criteria:
  •       Applicant must be a registered student of The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada
  •       Applicants must have proof of acceptance at a recognized Canadian university or college
  •       Consideration will be given to extra-curricular involvement, leadership roles and education plans
  •       Consideration will be given for community volunteerism
  •       Short essay stating your educational plans and why you should be considered for The College of Piping and     Celtic Performing Arts of Canada Scholarship
  •       Demonstrate a commitment to learning and show excellence, or the potential for excellence, in their chosen     College of Piping discipline
  •       Be committed to using potential funding for further academic study

 Applicants must send the following, in addition to a submission letter
-          A letter of recommendation from their current instructor (should outline the applicant's skill level, frequency of instruction, progress made thus far, commitment, demonstrated proficiency, and anticipated development)

All awarded monies will be sent directly from The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada to the applicant’s accepted university or college.  No payments will be made directly to the applicant. 
Completed applications should be sent by April 1, 2014 to:
Karen Hatcher
Executive Director
The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada

Suggested requirements of submission letter:
-          Name, address, phone number and email address
-          Instructor’s name and contact information

-          Short essay (no more than 500 words) in which the applicant introduces themselves to the committee (indicating their background in their College of Piping discipline, personal accomplishments, future goals, extra-curricular involvement, volunteerism, etc.) and identifies how the funding will be used.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

More Cancellations for Thursday, March 27th.

Due to the severity of yesterday's winter storm, poor road conditions, continuing high winds which are causing hazardous white out conditions, all classes have been cancelled for today at the College of Piping. The College of Piping Grade 3 Pipe Band practice and The College of Piping Dance Company rehearsal have also been cancelled.  The College will open tomorrow, March 28th,  at 9am for regular scheduled business hours. Please stay safe, stay warm and happy digging!  

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Winter Storm Cancellations!

Due to a very cranky Old Man Winter and the severity of the storm that is predicted to hit the island, all classes in Summerside and Cornwall have been cancelled for tomorrow afternoon and evening.  The Grade 4 College of Piping band practice is also cancelled for tomorrow evening.  The College will be closed tomorrow but will open again on Thursday (March 27th) for regular business hours.  Please stay home, stay safe and keep warm by practicing!  

Highland Storm Announcement!

Introducing the Cast of our Summer 2014 Production:

Pipers: Drummers: Highland Dancers: Step Dancers:
James MacHattie Chris Coleman Kearsney Smith  Jordan Chowen
Kylie MacHattie Sam Ramsay Lacey Fischer Rebecca Dawson
Nick vanOuwerkerk Logan Doyle Laura Johnston Shanae Rogers
Sarah Simpson Nigel Waite Hayley Porter Sherra Rogers
Calum Brydon John Donald MacLean Siobhan Doyle Mikaila Murray
Stewart Rogers Alysha Trenholm
Allana Dalziel (& Step)
Shelby Dalziel (& Step)
Artistic Director - Ryan MacNeil
Vocalist - Emma Doucette
Fiddle - Trevor Profitt
Keyboards/Uilleann Pipes - Ryan MacNeil
Guitar - Alex Casey
Step Dance Choreographer - Chelsey Sanderson
Stage Manager - Meghan Bowen
Sound Tech - Devin Paynter
Lighting Tech - Lindsay Rogers
Back Stage - Matthew Downey

Friday, March 21, 2014

Happy Friday!

Well, spring has sprung but it is looking very decidedly unspring like out there.  A storm is predicted for next Wednesday but fingers crossed it doesn't turn into anything like we had last week.  I'm not sure how much more shovelling, scraping and salting I can do!  Even though it's been a dreary winter, the College has been revving up and we're starting to prepare for our busy spring and summer mode.  A lot has happened in the past couple of weeks.  See below to catch up!

You may have noticed a new face behind the registration counter at the College these past couple of weeks. Please join me in welcoming Sue McGiveron to the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada! Sue joins the College team as our Special Events Coordinator.  Please do not hesitate in introducing yourself to Sue and help to make her feel at home at the College!  Welcome, Sue!    

Earlier in the month our pipe bands were honoured to play at the homecoming of Olympic athlete and two time gold medallist in the two man bobsleigh, Heather Moyse.  It was an evening of celebration as Heather returned to Summerside with her gold medal from the Sochi Olympics.  Please see below for the some pictures from the event (photo credit to Susan Topping).  Please follow this link for a video of the homecoming: Congratulations, Heather!

Heather with Grade 4 pipe band drummer, Austin Trenholm.

Heather waiting with the pipe band to go into Credit Union Place.

Heather Moyse, double gold medalist!

Gold medals from Vancouver and Sochi!

Congratulations to our drumming instructor, Sam Ramsay!  Sam was invited to compete at the prestigious Agnew Harrison Drumming Competition in Hamilton, Ontario on the weekend of March 8th.  It was the 27th year for the contest and he competed in the professional snare category.  Sam placed fifth in the competition.  Well done, Sam!

Sam Ramsay and Sarah Simpson performing at the St. Patrick's Day Draw.


A huge thank you to everyone who purchased a ticket, sold a ticket, volunteered and supported our College of Piping pipe band members with their "Trip for two to Scotland" raffle.  The fundraiser and the St. Patrick's Day draw were huge successes and the pipe bands are very grateful with the support that was shown from the City of Summerside, the province and College supporters from all over the world!  Thank you!  Please see below for some photos from the draw (photo credit to Susan Topping for taking the photos).

The draw table, the ticket verifiers, ticket pullers and mc!

Stewart, Shelley and Shanae Rogers volunteering at the ticket purchasing table.

Executive Director, Karen Hatcher, the event's master of ceremonies.

The post draw entertainment, the lively and talented, Ten Strings and a Goat Skin!

Here are a couple of videos to brighten up your Friday!  There is a bit of theme as both are from New Zealand.  The first one is for all of you aspiring world Highland dance champions.  It comes to us from the current world highland dance champion, Morgan Bamford.  My favourite quote from the clip is this:  "hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard."  Very sound advice!  To watch the journey of Morgan and her highland dance career, please follow this link:  The second video comes from the New Zealand Pipe Band Championships from a couple of weeks ago.  Try to see if you can spot your piping instructors in the City of Invercargill Highland Pipe Band (Grade 1) as they compete in the street march!  For that video, please follow this link:

Monday, March 17, 2014

And the Winner Is....

Congratulations to Rhonda Clark!  She is the grand prize winner of the "Trip for Two to Scotland" raffle!  A huge thank you to everyone who supported the College of Piping Pipe Bands by purchasing a ticket (or tickets!).  We very much appreciate your support!  The raffle was a huge success and we couldn't have done it without you!  Please read below for all of the winners of the additional twenty five prizes.  Congratulations!
  • Grand Prize Winner of the trip for two to Scotland:  Rhonda Clark (ticket number 0717)
  • Dinner for two at the Prince George and a night at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront ($235.00 value):  Nick Maros (ticket number 0123)
  • A night at the Four Points Halifax ($175.00 value):  Janice Baglole (ticket number 1591)
  • A Le Bistro Gift Certificate and a night at the Lord Nelson Hotel ($225.00 value):  Gregg MacLean (ticket number 0259)
  • Rodd Royalty Hotel (room only) ($150.00):  John Hugh Gillis (ticket number 1690)
  • A night at the Inns of Great George and Sim’s for Dinner ($100.00) (total value of $250.00):  Elaine Galt (ticket number 1131)
  • Two nights at the Holman Grand Hotel and $100.00 for dinner at Redwater Rustic Grille ($400.00 value):  Carly Foster (ticket number 1648)
  • Stanley Bridge Resort ($150.00 value):  Peter Stavert (ticket number 0633)
  • One night at the Delta Charlottetown and dinner for two at Water's Edge ($225.00 value):  Wilma MacIsaac (ticket number 0410)
  • Dinner for two at Brothers 2 ($50.00 value):  Heather Goodwin (ticket number 0450)
  • Dinner for two at the Preserve Company ($100.00 value):  Mona McClintick (ticket number 1842)
  • Dinner for two at Greco ($25.00 value):  Linda Lyon-Wallis (ticket number 1418)
  • Dinner for two at Five Eleven West ($75.00 value):  Joel Ives (ticket number 0659)
  • Dinner for two at the Feast Dinner Theatre ($75.00 value):  Karen/Alex Munro (ticket number 1209)
  • Dooly’s gift certificate ($50.00 value):  Tom Hall (ticket number 1161)
  • College of Piping Gift Shop ($50.00 value):  Andy Paynter (ticket number 1378)
  • Highland Storm (tickets for 2) ($66.00 value):  Terry Shea (ticket number 0195)
  • Highland Storm (tickets for 2) ($66.00 value):  Mary Johnston (ticket number 1598)
  • Summerside Highland Gathering for 4 ($80.00 value):  Russell Noonan (ticket number 1614)
  • Summerside Highland Gathering for 4 ($80.00 value):  Cathy MacIsaac (ticket number 0427)
  • Summerside Golf Course—Green fees for 2 ($110.00 value):  Air Tech Communications (ticket number 1079)
  • Summerside Golf Course—Green fees for 4 plus 2 power carts ($275.00 value):  Ruth Ashcroft (ticket number 0535)
  • Red Sands Golf Course—Green fees for 2 plus cart ($64.00 value):  Gayle Muller (ticket number 1304)
  • Harbourfront Theatre—Ballet Jorgen—Romeo and Juliet ($64.00 value):  Joe MacDonald (ticket number 1189)
  • Credit Union Place—6 all access family passes and 6 bowling passes ($180.00 value):  Karen/Alex Munro (ticket number 1210)
  • Andersons Creek or Green Gable Golf Course—Green fees for 2 ($228.00 value):  Kevin Pelley (ticket number 0737)

Please don't forget that this week is March break.  While there are no classes or band practices, your instructors would really appreciate it if you didn't neglect your dance shoes or instruments!  Piping classes will still, however, take place this week at their regular scheduled times to make up the lessons that were missed while Kylie and James were away.      

Friday, March 14, 2014

It's not too late.... purchase a "Win a Trip to Scotland" raffle ticket!!!  The draw is, er, drawing near but there is still time to get your ticket (or tickets!).  Join us tomorrow evening (March 15th) at the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club in Summerside for the grand prize draw.  The fun will start at 7pm and if you have purchased a raffle ticket, your entry to the event is free.  There is a first come, first entry to the event as there is a limited capacity.  Ten Strings and A Goat Skin will provide the night’s entertainment as well as performances from some of our College of Piping Pipe Band members.  Besides the super grand prize, there are an additional 25 prizes to be won.  You do not have to be in attendance to accept your prize but I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day weekend!  There are still Scotland raffle tickets available to purchase! Do not miss out on a trip of a lifetime!    

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Winter Storm --Cancellations!

Spring is just around the corner (fingers crossed!) but Old Man Winter still won't let us out of his cold, blustery clutches. All classes and the Grade 3 pipe band practice are cancelled for today and tonight at the College of Piping.  Please stay home, stay safe and keep warm by practicing!  

Sunday, March 9, 2014

That's a Wrap!

Well, our time in New Zealand has come to an end.  We leave tonight and will never forget this trip!  The people have been amazing, the country is gorgeous and the weather phenomenal.  We are sad to say goodbye to all of our new friends but leave knowing that we will see some of them in Scotland in August!  Thank you to the, Allister MacGregor, the Invercargill Pipe Band and their families for making this the trip of a lifetime!  We have been absolutely spoiled and will never forget your kindness!  Thank you!

The Invercargill Pipe Band has three bands. A Grade One band, a Grade Four band and a Juvenile band. All three competed at the New Zealand National Championships this weekend. The Juvenile and the Grade Fours were both second in their respective grades and the Grade Four band took top honours in the street march completion.  The Grade One band came fourth which is very exciting because it's their first year in the grade and they knocked off an established grade one band at the championships.  Canterbury Caledonia won the grade in a clean sweep for their third national's title.  It was a very busy two days of competition!  

We return home now and look ahead to the weekend.  We will get back into the swing of things with a full weekend practice with the College pipe bands and it's our "Win a Trip to Scotland" raffle draw on Saturday evening (March 15th).  It's not to late to purchase a ticket!  With your purchase of a ticket (or tickets!) it allows you to attend the draw where there will be entertainment by Ten Strings and a Goat Skin and also by some of our own talented College pipe band members.  If you haven't purchased a ticket the cost of attending the draw is twenty dollars or ten dollars once the draw is finished.  Is there a better way to spend the St. Paddy's day weekend?!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

New Zealand Update

I do apologize for being a bit AWOL...our internet has been a bit spotty and our time here has been a bit crazy busy to say the least. Enough with the excuses and on with what's been happening in the Southern Hemisphere.

It always daunting to join a pipe band but to join a pipe band for a week and at the end of their season is even more frightening. To join them for the New Zealand Nationals is terrifying.  They're practiced, confident and on their game.  To walk in and try to blend in is a big task. Hoping to meet their expectations, their standard, to fit the playing style...I can honestly say that this is the most nerve wracking thing I have ever done.

James and I are in New Zealand because they have the hopes of starting their own College of Piping type institution in the Southern Hemisphere. We've been brought here to consult and hopefully give them an idea of what we do, how we do it and what works and what doesn't.  It's an honour, a privilege and an absolute treat to be given this opportunity. To once again play in a grade one band is icing on the cake.  This trip has been one of a lifetime.

I've always heard that New Zealanders are among the nicest people in the world and I personally think that they beat Canadians for the title of being among the friendliest country in the world. The hospitality that James and I have been shown has been first rate and we've been absolutely spoiled rotten.  For the first part of our stay we had been billeted out to two of the nicest people you will ever meet. Joanne and Lindsay Waghorn have made us feel so welcome and part of the Invercargill pipe band family. I don't think we'll ever repay their kindness.  They are two outstanding people.

James and I left in the very wee hours of Tuesday morning on February 25th and arrived on Thursday, February 27th. To say it was a long journey is an understatement..  We started out in Charlottetown and landed in Toronto. After a very tight turn around we barely made it to our LA flight. Once we made it to LA we had an eleven hour layover. We left the airport for the beach for a wee while but came back to the airport to study YouTube videos of the Invercargill Pipe Band competing to make sure that we were up to snuff with the tunes.  We then boarded a twelve hour flight for Auckland.  Once we landed it was an hour and a half flight to Christchurch and then an hour and a bit flight to Invercargill which is the most southern city in New Zealand. To say we were weary when we got there is a bit of an understatement as New Zealand is seventeen hours ahead of Prince Edward Island. A nice cup of tea sorted us out and then we headed out to our first band practice. No rest for us!

Friday during the day was spent getting acclimatized and we spent the morning practicing and getting our pipes ready after such a long trip. Once finished sorting out our instruments, our fabulous hosts took us to Bluff which is the most southern point of mainland New Zealand.  We tried blue cod which is a local delicacy and absolutely fantastic. We were then taken to some more local sights and then met up with the band for supper to get acquainted with our new bandmates.

Saturday and Sunday were spent practicing with the band. Four hours on Saturday followed by a band barbecue at our host's house and then three and a half hours of practicing on the Sunday. We also stayed for the grade four practice on Sunday evening. We were shattered by the time Sunday night rolled around but our very generous hosts made us a proper Sunday roast supper of lamb. Have I mentioned New Zealand hospitality can't be beat?!

Monday was spent taking in the city and local sights of Invercargill.  We didn't stray too far from home as we had band practice that evening. Nationals were definitely on the horizon!  Tuesday were taken to Queenstown which is resort town on the South Island. This place is an absolute treat and a must visit place.  We had an absolute blast and were taken through central Otago on the way home. The day was full but absolutely amazing.

Wednesday we found ourselves packing our bags and onto the next phase of our trip. Nationals. We left that morning for Auckland and then a two and a half hour drive headed towards Tauranga.  Once again we found ourselves spoiled. We were given an Audi to drive as our car for the weekend. I was a nervous wreck leaving the parking garage at the airport!  We met up with the grade four band who came up early as they compete on the Friday and we compete on the Saturday.  James assisted in their practice and we had our own practice the following evening. We now wait for nationals!

It may sound like we're mostly here for the band but we've been having many talks with the instructors and members of the Southlands Piping Trust on how the College operates, what we do and how we do it (as instructors).  It's been beneficial to us to see how they operate and they've had many questions for us.   It looks like they are on the right track for establishing their own College in the Southlands.

As I write this it's been an early night as we catch a half ten bus to the competition field for the Grade Four A pipe band competition tomorrow. We have a band practice in the afternoon and then a band supper.  Saturday is our big day. This has been an experience of a lifetime. To consult on such a fantastic project but to also sharpen our skills by playing with a premier grade pipe band is such a bonus.  The hospitality, the challenge and the privilege...this is not a trip that I'll soon forget.