Solo Champion Supreme Biographies – 2014
The PPBSO is pleased to present the biographies of some of our Champion Supreme winners for 2014.
Nick Hudson – Professional Piobaireachd (B)
A graduate of Carnegie-Mellon’s bagpipe music degree under Alasdair Gillies and Jimmy McIntosh, Nick Hudson is currently a member of the Toronto Police Pipe Band. He was recently appointed as the director of piping at the College of Wooster and invites interested pipers and drummers to apply, with well-funded scholarships available. Nick also instructs several pipe bands of various grades in the Pittsburgh area and enjoys writing bios in the third person.
Kara Bush – Junior Amateur Piobaireachd
Under the instruction of Neil Anderson, Kara began her lessons in September 2012 and had her first pipe chanter competition at the Toronto Indoor Games in 2013. Kara won her practice chanter events before being upgraded to Grade 5 that same year. In Kincardine, she placed fourth out of 16 players and then won the next Grade 5 competitions at Smiths Falls, Cambridge and Almonte, placing 6th at Maxville.
During the winter months, Kara participated in the Ottawa Branch PPBSO knockouts B Division and won every event. She was upgraded to Grade III at the start of the 2014 season and placed in her events at Toronto Indoor games, Kingston, Georgetown, Cobourg, Smiths Falls, Cambridge, Maxville, Almonte, as well as Fairhill, Maryland, Syracuse, NY and New Hampshire games in the US. She was recently upgraded to Intermediate Piobaireachd and to Grade II in her light music for the 2015 season.
Kara currently plays with the Glengarry Pipe Band Grade III and is a developmental player in the Ottawa Police Services Pipe Band, where her dad and sister play. She is a Grade 11 student at St Mary’s Catholic School in Brockville.
Mark McClennan – Piping Grade 4
My name is Mark McClennan and I have been playing the bagpipes for four years. I am 16 years old, live in Guelph Ontario, and go to Our lady Of Lourdes Catholic High School in Grade 11.
I first joined the 121 Guelph Air Cadets and was interested in their pipe band, and started learning though cadets for about 1 year and then went to private lessons with Tyler Bridge. I have been a student of Tyler’s ever since. From there, he encouraged me to join the Guelph Pipe band where I received instruction from Bruce Anderson.
I play with the Guelph Pipe Band and we competed in Grade 4 this past summer and did very well. This is my second time competing in the PPBSO competition circuit, last year I competed in Grade 5. I really enjoy going to the Highland games, it was a highlight to my summer. Outside of piping I have a strong interest in the outdoors, love camping, and I am an active member of the Guelph Air Cadets. Many thanks go out to Tyler and Bruce for their great instruction and I look forward to competing in Grade three next year.
James Kirkwood – Drumming Grade 3
Eleven year old James Kirkwood showed a keen interest in drumming from a very early age. Being the son of Lead Drummer, Graham Kirkwood, this came as no surprise! James attended the highland games, participating in massed bands alongside his dad, from the time he could walk and carry a toy drum. At age 5, James started, and continues with, formal drumming instruction from Sandy McKail, competing in his first Grade 5 solo competition at the Hamilton Branch Indoor Contest that year. He has been competing successfully in both solo and band contests ever since. James currently plays in the Grade 3
Hamilton Police Pipe Band with his mother and Pipe Major, Trish Kirkwood. Attending St. James Catholic School in Oakville, James is in Grade 6, and he is a member of the Student Council and Cross Country Running Team. James also plays piano, receiving his Grade 3 Royal Conservatory of Music designation
early this summer. James’ dream is to one day play alongside his dad in a Grade 1 pipe band!
Francis MacIsaac – Drumming Grade 4
Francis started drumming in the January of 2013 with the Dundas Pipes and Drums, grade 5. He worked very hard at his drumming and after a couple months he was able to start playing with the band at events and parades. After 8 months with them, He made the decision to move on to the Hamilton Police Pipe Band Grade 3.
Coming from the lower end of grade 5 to a new grade 3 band was no easy task. Despite upon entering being placed in Hamilton Police’s grade 5 band, Francis didn’t give up his hopes of playing in the grade 3 band. He worked hard, and could be heard, cracking away, late into the night. Finally after so much practicing the word came to him that he was ready for the Grade 3 band. The 2014 season couldn’t have been much better for HPPB grade 3’s drum corps. It was their first year back in Grade 3 and they had come out with 6 best drum corps and a strong second placing at Maxville. He was recently invited to play with the 78th Fraser Highlanders Pipe Band Grade 1 and is currently under the instruction of Drew Duthart and Glen Neil. He would like to thank the PPBSO for all the well-organized events that he took part in.