Embro Highland Games

7 Days
16 Hours
51 Mins
10 Secs

Solo Champion Supreme Biographies – 2015

The PPBSO is pleased to present the biographies of some of our Champion Supreme winners for 2015.

Ian K. MacDonald – Professional Piobaireachd (A) and Professional Light Music
Gavin Mackay – Intermediate Amateur Piobaireachd and Grade 2 Light Music
Keir Dennis – Junior Amateur Piobaireachd
Drew Mackay – Novice Piobaireachd
Kate Runciman – Grade 4 Light Music
Michael Malish – Grade 5 Light Music
Kavan Johnstone-Schulz – Drumming Grade 3
Jamal Aki – Drumming Grade 5
Liam McFadden – Novice Rhythm Tenor Drumming

Ian K. MacDonald – Professional Piobaireachd (A) and Professional Light Music

“Ian K” began playing at the age of eight years old and was taught by his father, P/M John MacDonald.

At thirteen he received instruction from Jim McGillivray who introduced Ian to Piobaireachd. This was the year he also became a member of the Toronto Police Pipe Band where he continues as a member, becoming Pipe Major in 1996. The band currently fields a competitive Grade 1 band under the direction of Silver Medalist, P/M Sean McKeown and leading drummer, Craig Stewart and the 2015 PPBSO Champion Supreme winning Grade 3 band under the direction of P/M Brian Urkosky and leading drummer, Danny Funcion. Ian K is very proud of both competitive bands.

In 1995 Ian won the Canadian Gold Medal and in 1997 he won the “A” grade Strathspey and Reel at Oban and Inverness.

In 2014 Ian placed 2nd in the Gold Medal at Oban and in 2015 he placed 2nd in the Gold Medal at Inverness.

Ian is very proud to have been awarded Champion Supreme for Light Music and Piobaireachd by the Pipers’ and Pipe Band Society of Ontario for the past few years and he enjoys listening to the next generation of talented player’s beginning their journey from the best piping area on this side of the ocean.

Ian is a Detective with the Toronto Police Service and a proud husband of the beautiful Brenda, and father to Colin (16), Cameron (14) and beautiful Ashlyn (13).

Gavin Mackay – Intermediate Amateur Piobaireachd and Grade 2 Light Music

Gavin Mackay

I am a 14 year old piper who competed in gr. 2 light music, intermediate amateur Piobaireachd and played with the Paris gr. 2 band. My sister Drew and I have been very fortunate to have received excellent instruction from the late Ed Neigh over the last few years. 2015 started with a win in the “A” MSR for gr. 1 and 2 players at the Toronto knockout competitions and getting to play in the final. I had several good days over the summer and was happy to come out as champion supreme for both musical disciplines. As a reward for working so hard this year my Dad took me to the Northern Meeting to compete in the U15 piobaireachd and MSR contests there. It was an amazing opportunity to see how the professionals prepare for the contests at the highest level and to be able to listen to the best players in the world for two days. It was more pressure than I was used to, but winning the Piobaireachd contest and a 4th in the MSR making me the Best Aggregate for U15, was a great way to end the season! I am looking forward to a very challenging season in gr. 1, and can’t wait to learn new music and see my friends again. It won’t be the same without Ed, he was more than just an instructor, he was a really great mentor, and I will miss him dearly.

Keir Dennis – Junior Amateur Piobaireachd

Keir Dennis

Keir Dennis is 17 years old and has been playing the bagpipes for five years. He has been competing for the past three years, consistently placing within his grade level. For the 2015 season he has competed in Grade 3.

As well as competing individually Keir is a member of the Guelph Pipe Band, which placed first in Grade 4 for 2015.

He has been the Pipe Major of the 121 Red Arrows Guelph Cadet band and has achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant. The cadet band has successfully competed within the Cadet band competitions. He and the Cadet Band are also called upon to play at numerous Veteran and local functions. Keir also spends time on Tuesdays and Thursdays teaching chanter to the younger cadet band members.

Keir has been taking instruction from Tyler Bridge since taking up the pipes with the goal of playing and competing in a pipe band. Thank you to Tyler for all his instruction and encouragement.

Keir is currently in Grade 12 at John F. Ross CVI in Guelph. Keir is looking to pursue his interests in post secondary education in the field of agriculture.

Drew Mackay – Novice Piobaireachd

Drew Mackay

I am an 11 year old piper who just finished the 2015 season piping in Gr.4 light music and Novice Piobaireachd. I also play in the Ryan Russel Memorial Pipe Band. 2015 was my first year playing piobaireachd. Under the instruction of the late Ed Neigh I was fortunate to win enough contests this summer against a lot of really good players and ended up as Champion Supreme in the Piobaireachd. I was really happy to win the piobaireachd at Maxville where I was awarded the J.T. MacKenzie award for the youngest winning piper at Maxville. I enjoy playing and have really enjoyed the time I get to spend with my friends at the Highland Games and am looking forward to the new challenges next year brings.

Kate Runciman – Grade 4 Light Music

Kate Runciman

Kate Runciman, lives in Guelph Ontario, is 15 years old and has been piping for 8 years. She began playing the pipes with the Guelph Pipe Band and now plays with both the Paris Port Dover Grade 4 and Show Bands. Kate receives instruction from Bruce MacDonald and they have been working together for 7 years.
From an early age Kate has been performing with her pipes. Starting as a busker at the local farmers market and playing at special events at her elementary school, Kate has now performed at local and national sporting events, been the guest of honour and solo piper at a Norway Day Parade in Norway, piped in two international tattoos and performed at the Sony Centre.

Kate began solo piping competitively in 2013 and at the Grade 4 level in 2014.

Michael Malish – Grade 5 Light Music

Michael Malish

My name is Michael Malish and I am 11 years old. I am in grade 7 and live in Oshawa, Ontario. I took an interest in wanting to learn the pipes when I heard them at my Uncle Paul’s funeral. He would be very proud of my accomplishment as the rest of my family are.

I have been playing the pipes for a year and a half under full instruction and the dedication of Tom Bowen. I have worked very hard and feel lucky to have had dedicated people to encourage me, and teach me their skills along the way. A special thanks to the Durham Regional Police Pipes and Drum Band members; Mike Lasseter, Kevin Berry and Alex Thomson.

This past summer I played with the Grade 5 Band in competitions, as well as solo’s in grade 5 light music and Piobaireachd. This was an exciting and successful summer, and I am looking forward to the Highland games in 2016.

Outside of piping my other interests are camping, swimming, playing hockey, piano, having fun with my friends, and making people laugh.

Kavan Johnstone-Schulz – Drumming Grade 3

Hello, my name is Kavan Johnstone-Schulz. I am currently attending Patrick Fogarty Secondary School in Orillia, Ontario. I am a corps drummer with the Toronto Police Pipe Band Grade.3. I am also the lead drummer for the Ryan Russell Memorial Pipe Band. I also play in most of my school ensembles. I am thankful for the organization that the PPBSO demonstrates throughout the year. I hope I have a successful next season.

Jamal Aki – Drumming Grade 5

Jamal Aki

Jamal Aki is a 17 year old senior at Brookfield High School in Ottawa, Ontario. In 2011 Jamal joined the 742 Squadron of the Air Cadets. When 742 started up the Pipes and Drums Band in early 2013 Jamal eagerly joined and began learning the snare drum. He was welcomed to the practices of the Sons of Scotland Band under the instruction of Cory Hilliard and was pleased to join the Sons of Scotland Band in August of 2013. In May of 2014 Jamal joined the PPBSO and happily started competing. One of Jamal’s favourite things is to attend the various Highland Games and Events to see and hear the remarkable talent. Someday, Jamal aspires to be a member of a Grade One band. Currently Jamal is a member of the Sons of Scotland and also practices with The Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes and Drums Band. Jamal would like to thank all who have made his drumming career, thus far, possible. Also, a big thanks to the PPBSO for the amazing events he and his family love to attend.

Liam McFadden – Novice Rhythm Tenor Drumming

Liam McFadden

Hello, my name is Liam McFadden. I am 11 years old. I live in Simcoe Ontario. I have been playing in the Paris Port Dover pipe band for six years. My dad started taking me out for mass bands ever since I could walk. I started playing in competitions when I was six years old. My father, Ian McFadden is the pipe major of the grade four band and my grandfather is the bass drummer of the grade four band, they have both been in the band from the beginning. I would like to thank a few people. First I would like to thank my family for the support and transportation to practises and highland games. I would also like to thank my amazing instructor, Kate Dudek. She has helped me in my success, and taught me a new skill each and every practice. She has encouraged me to do compete in solos and attend her solo practices. She has had a huge influence on my tenor drumming. I would also like to thank the PPBSO for making solos possible at the highland games each season. I am looking forward to attending the highland gala on November 7 2015. I have had a great season this year, and my hope is that more young people come out to pipe bands each year.

PPBSO Branches

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President: Chris Buchanan
Vice President:Charles MacDonald
Secretary: Michele Curtis
Treasurer: John Allen


Administrator: Sharon Duthart
Chief Steward: Glenn Covert
Ombudsman: Ken Eller