Call for Musicians: 2017 Barbados Celtic Festival

Pipe bands and individual players are invited to join the 2017 Barbados Celtic Festival taking place from May 26-29th. This a great opportunity to bring your pipes or drums and enjoy a pipe band holiday in Barbados next May! The event aims to be the biggest pipe band gathering ever to take place in the Caribbean. The specific events will be launched on the festival website soon and will include massed-band performances and ceilidhs. 
 Here is what you need to know to start planning this trip today:

Date: The festival is from May 26-29th - quotes are available for these date, as well as for longer stays (e.g., 1 week from May 24-31st)

Packages: GOwithHIPPO, the official Canadian travel agent for the Barbados Celtic Festival, has group packages available for bands as well as individual packages. For inquiries contact Maryanne Wagstaff at GOwithHIPPO –

Toll Free 1-844-469-4844 ext. 722, or

Visit the festival website also -

Once you have made your final decision, musicians are asked to go to the following website and register:

ACPBA Annual General Meeting - October 22nd, 2016

The ACPBA will hold its Annual General Meeting on October 22nd, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. in the North Magazine Building, Citadel Hill, Halifax. Parking is available and food and refreshments will be provided. 

Champion Supreme Winners are encouraged to bring their instruments and play a tune. Champion Supreme Pipe Bands are also encouraged to perform, including mini-bands. Pipe Bands that wish to perform are asked to RSVP to Kevin Dugas at 

We hope to see you there!

- ACPBA Executive.  

ACPBA Champion Supreme Winners Announced

The ACPBA executive would like to congratulate the 2016 ACPBA Champion Supreme winners. The champions are invited to accept their awards at the ACPBA Annual General Meeting in Halifax on October 22nd. Venue to be confirmed. 

Solo Piping Champion Supreme Winners:

Practice Chanter: Reilly Green, Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew

Grade 5 Piping: Dalton Faulkner, 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel

Grade 5 Piobaireachd (Ground): Dalton Faulkner, 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel

Grade 4 Piping: Calum MacKinnon, 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel

Grade 4 Piobaireachd: James Gendron, Dartmouth and District

Grade 3 Piping: Clare Henderson, Clan Thompson

Grade 3 Piobaireachd: Chris MacKnight, 36th Service Battalion

Junior Amateur Hornpipe and Jig (Piping): Clare Henderson, Clan Thompson

Grade 2 Piping: Brady Webb, Clan Thompson

Grade 2 Piobaireachd: Calum Brydon, College of Piping

Grade 1 Piping NSPPBA Champion Supreme: Sarah Simpson, College of Piping

Grade 1 Piobaireachd: Sarah Simpson, College of Piping

Senior Amateur Hornpipe and Jig: Brandon Gardner, Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew 

Solo Drumming Champion Supreme Winners:

Drum Pad: Carter Green, Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band

Grade 5 Drumming: Stephen MacKinnon, College of Piping

Grade 4 Drumming: Jenna-Marie Gallant, College of Piping

Grade 3 Drumming: Austin Trenholm, College of Piping

Grade 2 Drumming: Alex Marr, Dartmouth and District

Grade 1 Drumming: Chris Griffin, Dartmouth and District

Senior Amateur Hornpipe and Jig: Chris Griffin, Dartmouth and District

Pipe Band Champion Supreme Winners:

Grade 5: Dartmouth and District

Grade 4: College of Piping

Grade 3: Dartmouth and District

Grade 2: College of Piping

Grade 1: 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel


Piping Champion Supreme: Alex Gandy, 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel

Drumming Champion Supreme: Sam Ramsay, College of Piping


78th Highlanders SPRING CONCERT & SOCIAL

To all supporters of the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel competition bands and instructional program - we invite you to an evening concert and social taking place on Saturday May 7th, 2016.

Details are as follows:

Date: Saturday 7 May 2016

What: 78th "Friends and Family" Spring Concert featuring performances from all instructional classes and competition bands

Location: Sea King Club, Canadian Forces Base Shearwater

Tickets: $5 at the door

Time: Doors open @ 7 pm and the concert begins @ 7:30 pm

Food and beverages will be available for purchase at the event.

We look forward to seeing you on May 7th and please spread the word!

Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge and Workshop

The most fun weekend of the entire year is almost upon us! It’s Piobaireachd Challenge time! This year it takes place on April 23rd with the workshop being held on April 24th at the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada in Summerside. The deadline to enter is this Friday, April 8th. New to this year is that we have added a march contest for Grade 4 and Grade 5 and an MSR contest for Grade 3 to Professional (please see the entry form for tune requirements). You can register for the workshop up until the day of (which is April 24th) AND you do not have to have competed to sign up for the workshop.  All are welcome!  The more the merrier!  You also don't have to be a member of the Atlantic Pipe Band Association to attend the workshop.  To find the contest and workshop form, please follow this link:  This year we have Alan Bevan as our judge and workshop facilitator. Alan is a double gold medalist and pipe major of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band. We hope to see you in Summerside for this fun piobaireachd and MSR filled weekend!

Summer Job Opportunities

A note from the HCRA regarding some great summer job opportunities!

The Halifax Citadel Regimental Association (HCRA) is seeking pipers for it's Military Interpretation program. If you are a piper, looking for full time employment in the spring, summer, and fall of 2016, and want to learn more about what the Halifax Citadel Regimental Association has to offer, click on the following link for the job description, contact information, and general information.…/military-interpreter-piper-a-dr…

Please send resume to

Two upcoming events at the College of Piping

The College of Piping will be hosting two events in the coming months. See details below.

The Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge and workshops with Alan Bevan

Saturday, April 23 – Sunday, April 24, 2016

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada presents the 2016 Atlantic Canada Piobaireachd Challenge in partnership with the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association. The event will take place at The College on Saturday, April 23, 2016.

We are pleased to introduce Alan Bevan, Gold Medalist and Pipe Major of the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, as our judge. Alan will also be running piobaireachd and light music workshops at The College on Sunday, April 24. 

New for 2016: The College is adding March competitions for grades 5 and 4, and MSR events for grades 3 through professional. 

Entry forms are now available. 

The National Piping Centre and The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada

Saturday, July 2 – Monday, July 4, 2016

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada and the National Piping Centre from Glasgow are continuing a partnership to offer the 2nd Summerside Piping and Drumming School, a festival of piping and drumming dedicated to education and performance.

Finlay Johnston from the National Piping Centre will join the College of Piping faculty in Summerside from Saturday July 2 through Monday July 4. In 2015 Finlay achieved the rare feat of winning both the Gold Medal and the A-Grade MSR at the Northern Meeting.

Students will receive hands-on class time per day, with a rotation of instructors through the school. Classes will be kept small so each student received appropriate attention. In addition, workshops and other events will be offered.

All registrations are taken through the National Piping Centre. Registration information and details should be available soon. Interested parties can contact College of Piping Director of Education James MacHattie to reserve a space by emailing

Member Profile: Devin Paynter

Devin Paynter is looking forward to his first summer competing as a professional drummer after a very successful run in Grade 1 solo competitions this past summer.

In the past year, the snare drummer from Summerside, PEI has won the North American Championships with first place in both the Grade 1 MSR and Senior/Amateur Hornpipe Jig competitions, travelled to Scotland to compete in the World Solo Drumming Championships and took home several other first place awards as well. He is spending this winter on Prince Edward Island preparing for another summer of competitions.

Six years ago, Devin started his time at the College of Piping as a bass drummer in the organization’s Grade 5 band. He was already a drummer at that point, but took an interest in pipe band drumming after seeing the College of Piping bands marching in a parade. He eventually picked up snare drumming and quickly progressed to the organization’s Grade 2 band under the instruction of Chris Coleman and Sam Ramsay.

He says the community at the College of Piping is what keeps him coming back each year.

“It’s the people, honestly” he said. “Everyone is so supportive.”

One of the highlights of Devin’s drumming career so far happened this past October when he earned an invitation to compete at the World Solo Drumming Competition in Scotland.

“It was unbelievable,” he said of the experience.

One of his favourite moments of the trip was watching some of his drumming idols compete.

“You see them play in videos all the time, but it’s nothing like the real thing. Being in the same room as them and hearing them play - that was amazing,” he said. “It’s one of those moments where you look back on it and think, ‘that really happened.’”

Devin plans to return to Scotland for the Worlds again this year and is preparing busy preparing for it. He added that while he was in Scotland, he received messages of support and encouragement from his College of Piping family and fellow competitors back home.

Devin says the drummers he competes against in solo competitions throughout Atlantic Canada are a supportive group that encourages one another.

“It’s a very friendly group,” he said. “We have fun with it and we watch each other play. They were messaging me while I was in Scotland to see how it went.”

Solo drumming has offered Devin incredible opportunities and he encourages other drummers to also think about signing up solo competitions. He was encouraged to start competing in solos by his instructor Chris Coleman, and says he stuck with it because of the value of getting feedback from various judges.

“You get very constructive criticism and it really makes you think in different ways,” he said. “It presents new ways of looking at things."

Devin’s advice for drummers who are thinking about entering the solo competition scene is to take it as an opportunity to improve.

“It’s about being open minded to what people have to say. To progress and get better, I had to be open to what people had to say about my drumming,” he said. “The main thing though, is to have fun with it.”

Dr. Eveline (Dunbar) MacLeod

We said farewell to a true stalwart of Scottish traditional culture this week, Dr. Eveline (Dunbar) MacLeod. Among her many achievements, she helped found the very first girls' pipe band in Nova Scotia back in the late 1940s, taught highland dancing, was a school teacher, and was a champion at The Gaelic College in St. Ann's Cape Breton for more than 60 years as the resident weaver. On behalf of the ACPBA we offer most sincere condolences to Eveline's family.

Listen to an interview Eveline did with the Gaelic College, just a few years ago. 

P.E.I. Summerside Piping and Drumming School 2015


5th - 10th July 2015

The College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada, Summerside, Canada

A new piping and drumming school run in partnership between The National Piping Centre of Scotland and the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada 


FinLAY MacDonald

John Mulhearn

Gus Sicard

James MacHattie

Kylie MacHattie

Chris Coleman

The National Piping Centre invites you to the 2015 P.E.I. Summerside Piping and Drumming School. We will have a daily program which will cover all aspects of performance including practice routines, technique, musical expression, tuning and ensemble playing. Students will be taught in a small group of similar ability for 3-4 hours per day with workshops, recitals and practice time built in.  

All levels of players are welcome. 



As well as daily lessons and tuition we have a range of other events on offer in the evenings:

Sunday: Student auditions followed by student and teacher reception at the College of Piping. 

Students should arrive at the College of Piping for a 4pm start.

Monday: Teaching Programme commences. 

Free night to relax, explore PEI, or of course practice!

Tuesday: PEI Lobster Supper. 

Optional excursion to Fisherman's Wharf on the North Shore of PEI will be offered, with transportation to and from North Rustico. Students and families can register and pay for the meal on Sunday at the reception.

Wednesday: Celtic Idol. 

A Celtic talent show open to the summer school students and local PEI talent as well. Performers will compete for prizes, and the commentary and judging will be provided by NPC and COP instructors. Creativity is encouraged!

Thursday: Instructor Recital. 

You have been working all week, now you can sit back and relax in the theatre and listen to the instructors put on a show.

Friday: Conclusion of teaching programme and prize-giving.



Visit our

P.E.I. Summerside School page 


Piper Profile: Sandy Gordon

Sandy Gordon performing at a Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew ceilidh at the James Joyce Pub in 2014

Sandy Gordon performing at a Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew ceilidh at the James Joyce Pub in 2014


In a lull between the lunch and supper crowds that fill the Lunar Rogue Pub in Fredericton on Sundays, Sandy Gordon sits at a long table in the back often reserved for the members of the Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band. It’s where he has sat many times with some of the best pipers in the world, some of his best friends in the world and many of his piping students.

Sandy has been a part of the pipe band scene in Atlantic Canada for more than five decades. During that time, he turned the Fredericton Society of Saint Andrew Pipe Band (FSSAPB) into an award-winning Grade 2 band, developed a training program to bring young pipers and drummers up into the band, and has taught countless pipers in the Fredericton area.

Before settling down with the FSSAPB, which he has been a member of since 1971, he played with bands all over the Maritimes. It all started when he saw the Black Watch Pipes and Drums in the Apple Blossom parade in Kentville, N.S. in 1952.

“I had a child’s dream to play bagpipes,” Sandy said, leaning over his Irish coffee.

His family moved to Plaster Rock, N.B., and that’s where his dream became reality. A pipe major in Campbellton, N.B. heard he was interested in learning the bagpipes.

“Without me asking, one day in the mail I got the College of Piping Tutor and a practice chanter and I was so excited,” he said.

Living in an isolated area of New Brunswick, Sandy took advantage of summer camps at the Gaelic College where he studied bagpiping under Seumas MacNeill. It wasn’t until his family moved back to the Annapolis Valley when he was in high school that Sandy joined his first pipe band: The Kentville Air Cadets. From there, he joined the Caledonia Pipe Band in Saint John in 1968, the Wylde Thyme Pipe Band (now known as Halifax Citadel) from 69-70 before settling down with the FSSAPB, “and I’ve been in that band ever since,” he said.

As Sandy sits among the teal booths and maroon whiskey cabinets of the Lunar Rogue Pub, a pendulum swings back and forth on a wall clock mounted behind him. It marks the seconds moving forward as Sandy recounts the past and thinks about the future of the pipe band he’s been a part of for more than 40 years.

Sandy tuning Tom Munroe's drones

Sandy tuning Tom Munroe's drones

“In the 70s, a close friendship developed between me, Dave Coleman, Tom Munroe, Brian Freeman and Frank Scott, among others. In the later 70s, a strong sentiment developed that we wanted to improve our standard of playing and the way to do it would be through competition,” he said. “The membership of the band, particularly the other four, said that they wanted me to be pipe major. I remember saying, ‘I don’t know anywhere near what a person needs to know to do this.’ But they said ‘That’s okay.’ So I said, ‘If I do this, it’s got to be a group thing,’ and that was the beginning of a new chapter in our pipe band. “

Sandy and a few others from the band travelled to Maxville, Ont. to watch the North American Championships.

“That gave a tremendous shot of enthusiasm to the whole idea of us becoming part of the bigger world of piping,” he said. “The feeling in the band was that we were outside the big world of piping in Nova Scotia and southern Ontario. We were outside. We didn’t know how to do what others were doing. The trip to Maxville just enthused everybody to somehow find our way into that world.”

Sandy said the band was willing to learn as much as they possibly could from anyone that would help them. They invited top instructors to come to Fredericton for workshops and took advantage of week-long pipe band camps held at Mount Allison University where top instructors from Scotland were brought in.

After a year of hard work, the band travelled to Maxville in 1980 to compete in Grade 3 for the first time and came second last. The next day, they came second last again in Montreal.

“We were furious, we were really mad. That’s the only way to put it because we had worked so hard. After that we were determined to work even harder,” he said. “We got help from Ed Neigh and we went back the next year - I love this story - and we came dead last both days. I think you can say there were no words to describe how mad we were then.”

But the next year, they fell in the middle of the pack and in 1984 they became the Grade 3 North American Champions. The band continued that momentum, picking up fourth at the Worlds. The following year, the band upgraded to Grade 2.

“Probably one of the highlight moments of my life was going up to receive the fourth place award from the Duke of Argyll. I was so excited and I know we all were.”

Sandy leading the FSSAPB into competition at Maxville, ON

Sandy leading the FSSAPB into competition at Maxville, ON


The band moved from the bottom of Grade 3 to the top of Grade 2 in only a few years under Sandy’s leadership.

David Coleman had left New Brunswick when Sandy was elected pipe major, but returned to lead the drum corps when he was five years into the role. Coleman said it was Sandy’s approach that caused the band to make great strides in a short amount of time. Coleman said two things stand out to him about Sandy as a pipe major, the first being his admission to everyone when he became pipe major that he had no experience as a leader of group this size.

The band had just come through a very rough time with a change in leadership, and he would need everyone’s support and help if the band was to heal and move forward,” Coleman said.

It was Sandy’s continued belief in the band, his leadership by example, and the continued dedication of its members that came together to start Fredericton's climb up the ladder.   He gathered a sizable group of members around him and made sure each had individual roles or responsibilities of some kind.”

Coleman said the second thing that stood out most to him about Sandy’s leadership was his absolute and single-minded commitment to the band and its improvement over time.  

“He led by example, worked harder than any other band member, and let people know in a variety of different ways that he expected the same from them.  He was absolutely adamant about peoples’ attendance at practice.”

Coleman recalls calling Sandy on a wintry afternoon in the late 80s to tell him he wouldn’t be at band because of snow and it being his son’s birthday. Coleman said Sandy’s response was “The driving is fine! Change the birthday dinner to tomorrow night.  Chris is young and he won’t remember twenty years from now anyway!  See you at seven.”

“Well, we managed to have the birthday dinner anyway and I was a bit late for practice, but I did show up - and so did everyone else,” Coleman said.  “That level of single-mindedness could drive people absolutely nuts, but we’d get over it and hey, it paid off didn’t it?”

Under Sandy’s leadership, the band continued on to win the Grade 2 North American Championships in 89 and 90. The band returned to Scotland the following year to achieve what Sandy says is the band’s most impressive feat to date.

“For me, the most impressive competition result the band has ever got was we came second in the European Championships. It was in the freezing rain and wind in August on a hill. Oh God, it was miserable,” he said with a laugh.

Sandy is revered among those who have played in a pipe band with him as an enthusiastic recruiter, always willing to go the extra mile to make sure anyone who wants to, has the opportunity to play bagpipes.

Sandy was instrumental in the establishment of a teaching academy for the pipe band. He and others in the band started a junior band that still exists today, operating as a development system to bring players into the senior band.

Brian Freeman, who played in the band for many years with Sandy, said the development system earned the band a nickname among their rivals in Ontario.

“In ‘89 we won Maxville, then we lost eight pipers out of our circle and they knew we lost them,” Freeman said. “They thought they were going to win next year, but Sandy reached down into our junior band and brought seven kids up, and we beat them anyway.”

The pipe major of the 48th Highlanders, who came second to Fredericton in Maxville, told Freeman in a beer tent that Fredericton was “The Montreal Canadiens of Pipe Bands.”

“Because the Montreal Canadiens had a farm system and were famous for it,” Freeman said.

Sandy said it was the idea of a few members of the band to start a teaching academy in order to keep the organization going. It still exists today, in large part due to Sandy’s dedication to teaching.

Sandy, far right, playing with the FSSAPB Grade 2 band at the Fredericton Playhouse, 2011. 

Sandy, far right, playing with the FSSAPB Grade 2 band at the Fredericton Playhouse, 2011. 


Michel Boyer, current Pipe Major of the FSSAPB, said when he was a 15-year-old piper in the band, he had trouble commuting from his home in Oromocto for practice. When Sandy heard he might not continue with the band, he found him transportation and would even drive the 25 minutes out of the city to pick him up if he needed to.

“I think if you mention piping to anyone in the city most, if not all, would think of Sandy Gordon,” Boyer said. “Sandy is extremely committed to the band, its members and the academy program.  For years, he has gone above and beyond to make sure everyone has the opportunity to play.”

Once again, the FSSAPB is facing a decline in membership. But Sandy hopes it’ll turn around and he’s doing his part to see that it does. As a bagpiper he knows sits down at that long table in the middle of the pub, he turns to him and says with a smile “So, we’re looking for players this summer.”

Written by Amy MacKenzie

Halifax Citadel Mini-Gatherings Registration

The 12 Annual Halifax Citadel Regimental Association Mini-Gatherings will be taking place on January 31st, February 28th, and April 11th, 2015. There is still plenty of time to register!
You can fill out the registration form link below and either e-mail it to Bruce Gandy ( or send it via regular post to the below address:

Halifax Citadel Regimental Association
PO Box 9080, Station A, Halifax, NS, B3K 5M7
Attn: Bruce Gandy
Re: Mini-Gatherings

Location: North Magazine Meeting and Events Facility, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada (entrance off Sackville St. or Rainnie Drive).

To access registration form copy and past this link into your browser:

Strong showing from ACPBA members at MHAF Winter Storm in Kansas City.

Huge congrats to ACPBA members and affiliates for an incredibly strong showing at the MHAF Winter Storm contest in Kansas City, MI. Your region and bands are proud!! 

Full results: 


Alex Gandy - 1st place gold medal light music 

Kahlil Cappuccino - 1st place gold medal bass drumming 

James Dyson - 2nd place grade 1 light music 

Eilidh MacDonald - 4th place silver medal piobaireachd 

Bree Caldwell - 3 place grade 1 snare drumming 

(All members of the grade 1 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel Pipe Band) 

Bhreagh MacDonald - 1st place intermediate bass drumming 

(Member of Dartmouth and District Pipe Band grade 3) 

Association members not in the prize list but who nonetheless held their own in this fierce contest include Jeremy Keddy (78th), Blaise Theriault (D & D), Karen MacLean, Heather Stone (78th), Richard King (78th) and Zach Smith (D & D)

Well done to all!!

Press Release — ACPBA Executive

Following the October 18th (2014) AGM of the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association (ACPBA), executive members and regional representatives met via online video conference to discuss our goals and objectives as an association for the 2014-2015 year. New executive members and regional representatives were welcomed.

The following is an outline of the ACPBA’s 2014-2015 goals and objectives confirmed at the previous online meeting.

·       Form a committee to actively re-establish the ACPBA piping and drumming adjudication           system and panel to oversee the accreditation of local qualified individuals

·       To provide more ‘of interest’ content for our members and online followers

·       To plan potential 2015 workshops for bands and soloists

·       To establish ways in which the ACPBA can provide more value as an association to both           members and non-members within the Atlantic Canadian piping and drumming community

As an association, we value your insight very highly. We encourage anyone (both members and non-members of the ACPBA) to provide us with feedback regarding any of our goals. If there's content you’d be interested in seeing online and/or services you’d like to see the association providing, please let us know.

Groups have been formed from executive members and regional representatives to work together to achieve our goals.  If any individuals have interest in volunteering in order to push forward on any of our goals, again we encourage you to contact us.

We look forward to a successful and productive year for our association and for Atlantic Canadian piping and drumming! 

Below you will see a complete list of the ACPBA executive members and regional representatives:

David Kershaw – President
Kevin Dugas – Vice President
Danielle Kershaw – Secretary
Jillian Ramsay – Treasurer
Rick Crawford – Chief Steward
Lorna MacIsaac – Past President
Keith MacDonald – Cape Breton Representative
Ray Halliday – NS North Regional Representative
Tina Oliver – Metro and Valley Regional Representative
David Allison – Newfoundland Regional Representative
Jason MacLeod – New Brunswick South Regional Representative
James MacHattie – PEI Regional Representative
Kylie MacHattie – Games Liason
Nick vanOuwerkerk – Co-Chair Communications               
Amy MacKenzie – Co-Chair Communications

Share Your Story: Week 2

This week's Share Your Story contest is sponsored by the College of Piping and Celtic Performing Arts of Canada. Check out the image below for contest details and some fantastic prizes donated by the College of Piping!

Share your most memorable story from an ACPBA event in the comments below or with us on Facebook  or Twitter for your chance to win.



Share Your Story and Win!

Over the next few weeks the Atlantic Canada Pipe Band Association is inviting you to share your most memorable story from a past ACPBA event for the chance to win some excellent prizes!

New contests will be posted on Thursdays with the winner being announced the following Wednesday. You can enter by posting a comment below or by sharing on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Check out the image below for details on this week's contest