Embro Highland Games

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Solo Champion Supreme Biographies – 2016

The PPBSO is pleased to present the biographies of some of our Champion Supreme winners for 2016.

Callum Harper – Professional Light Music
Andrew Hutton – Senior Amateur Piobaireachd
Gavin Mackay – Grade 1 Light Music
Colin Johnstone – Intermediate Amateur Piobaireachd
Mark McClennan – Grade 2 Light Music
Drew Mackay – Grade 3 Light Music
Michael Malish – Junior Amateur Piobaireachd and Grade 4 Light Music
John David Mitchell – Novice Piobaireachd
Thomas Helland – Grade 5 Light Music
James Kirkwood – Grade 1 Snare
Rita DeNobriga – Grade 2 Snare
Liam McGlashon – Grade 5 Snare
Shanyn Young (Millage) – Grade 2 Tenor
Erin Callon – Grade 5 Tenor

Callum Harper – Professional Light Music

Callum began piping at the age of 6 and was initially taught by Jamie Blacklock. He has been receiving instruction from Bob Worrall since 2010.

Before making it to the professional level in 2014, Callum won the George Sherriff Memorial Competition in 2012. This year he won the ‘B’ March at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban. Callum has played with several different bands. Most recently the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band in 2015. While playing with the Scotia Glenville Juvenile Pipe Band in 2009 they placed 3rd at the World Pipe Band Championships.

Callum is currently a student studying Civil Engineering at Ryerson University. Last May he completed his third year and began a 16 month Co-op placement with the Region of Peel. He will complete his degree in 2018.

Andrew Hutton – Senior Amateur Piobaireachd

This past year Andrew Hutton played with the grade 2 Paris/Port Dover Pipe Band. In November 2015 he placed second in the 6/8 at the George Sheriff Memorial Invitational Competition in Hamilton. He spent the winter semester at the University of Glasgow and studied at the National Piping Centre. He also played with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and performed at the Royal Glasgow Concert Hall in April 2106. While in Glasgow Andrew won the Clasp grade 1 competition at the Piping Centre in April 2016. Andrew competed in Highland Games this past summer where he was awarded piper of the day at Georgetown, Embro, Kincardine, Cambridge, Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina and the North American Championship in Maxville. On October 8th, 2016 Andrew was awarded overall champion at the Nicol-Brown Amateur Invitational Piping Competition in Albany.

Gavin Mackay – Grade 1 Light Music

Gavin Mackay is a 15 year old piper playing in grade 1 for the first time this season and won champion supreme for light music. He is a student of Bob Worrall and plays with the Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band. This past offseason Gavin won the under 15 championship in Inverness and the under 21 US Junior piping championship in Pittsburgh. He followed those up with winning the A division knockout earlier this year. He has a great time coming to the games and seeing his friends, and having a blast with the great group of guys in the band. He’s looking forward to working hard and seeing everyone next summer.

Colin Johnstone – Intermediate Amateur Piobaireachd

Colin Johnstone

My name is Colin Johnstone. I’m 15 years old and this year played in the intermediate Amateur Piobaireachd and Grade two light music competitions. I also played with the Toronto Police, Grade three, Pipe Band and had the opportunity to compete in my first World Pipe Band Championships.

Along with piping , I really enjoy playing the piano and have been studying the piano for the past ten years.

I would like to thank both my mom and grandfather for all their support and guidance and my dad for being my caddy!

I look forward to future competitive opportunities and musical growth.

Mark McClennan – Grade 2 Light Music

Mark McClennan

I am 18 years old and I have just finished my 2016 competition season where I played Grade 2 light music and Intermediate Piobaireachd. I currently play in the Guelph Pipe Band located in Guelph, Ontario. I just graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic High School, and I am currently starting a degree in Physics at the University of Waterloo.

I first started learning bagpipes when I was about 12 years old, in the 121 Red Arrows Cadet Pipes and Drums Band. After learning in cadets for about a year, I went to Tyler Bridge for lessons and I have been a student of Tyler’s ever since. I then was encouraged to join the Guelph Pipe Band where I also received guidance and instruction from Bruce Anderson. After playing in the 121 Red Arrows band for a few years, I had the opportunity to become the Pipe Major where I was able to mentor young pipers and teach them how to play.

Over the past few years I have participated in many competitions, which includes the Toronto Knockouts where I received the John Wilson Memorial Piping Award, as well as the Pipe Major Archie Dewar Memorial Piping Award. I always enjoy playing with the Guelph Pipe Band and I am excited to continue with the band to develop and grow!

Outside of piping I also have an interest in the outdoors and aviation. This past summer I had an awesome opportunity to attend an Air Cadet Flight Training Centre and earn my Glider Wings. Many thanks go out to Tyler and Bruce for their great instruction and I look forward to the upcoming challenges of competing in Grade 1.

Drew Mackay – Grade 3 Light Music

Drew Mackay is a 12 year old piper competing in her first year in grade 3. She is a student of Bob Worrall and plays with the Ryan Russel Memorial pipe band. She won the B division of the Toronto Knockout for the 2015/2016 season. This was her first time winning champion supreme for light music, having won for piobaireachd last season. She loves seeing her friends at band and at the games and is looking forward to the challenges next year will bring.

Michael Malish – Junior Amateur Piobaireachd and Grade 4 Light Music

Michael Malish

I am twelve years old and have been playing pipes for 2.5 years under full instruction of Tom Bowen. A special thanks to Tom for all his dedication, and passing on his extensive piping knowledge to me.

I have competed in solo events for grade 4 light music and Junior Amateur Piobaireachd. I have had a very successful year and was awarded the Pipe Major John T. Mackenzie award for the youngest winning piper in Maxville.

I have worked very hard, and feel very fortunate to have had dedicated people to encourage me along the way. I play in the Durham Regional Police Pipes and Drums grade 3 band. Thank you to band members; P/M Mike Lasseter, Kevin Berry and Alex Thomson.

I look forward to participating in solo and band competitions at the next highland games in 2017.

John David Mitchell – Novice Piobaireachd

John David Mitchell
I’m John David Mitchell – a happily married, 27 year old engineer from Oshawa who has been playing the pipes for 3 years and receiving instruction from Tom Bowen for the past year. I competed this season with Pipes and Drums of Lindsay under P/M Colin Hill.

I grew up in Bowmanville, spending my summers enjoying highland games with my family. After finishing my degree, I was the first of my family to take up bagpipes – and quickly fell in love with them. I joined the Pipes and Drums of Lindsay where instruction was provided to me by Nick Lasch and Glenn McDonald. I began taking lessons with Nick to start my competitive career in 2015. In my first competition at Georgetown, I won 1st in Grade 5 March. I also gained valuable experience and many friends competing with Durham Regional Police grade 5 that year.

I was introduced to Nick’s good friend Tom Bowen in 2015 and Tom introduced me to Piobaireachd; I’m thankful to be receiving his instruction ever since. In the 2016 season, I competed in Grade 4 March and Novice Piobaireachd – and am very proud to have won Champion Supreme of the latter.

I’m thankful to my family and all the people who’ve helped me, especially my wife Natasha, who accompanies me to almost every competition and tolerates my practice at home; without her constant support, I couldn’t manage the considerable time commitment of piping.

Thomas Helland – Grade 5 Light Music

Thomas Helland

Thomas Helland is a twelve year old Grade 7 student at Mountsfield Public school in London, Ontario. He began playing the chanter at the age of 9 in September, 2013 with the London Fire Fighters Pipe Band instruction group under the direction of Wayne Cartier and Karen Widmeyer.

Thomas’s first experience with competition was in the summer of 2015 as a member of the Champion Supreme Forest City Celtic Juvenile Pipe Band, under the leadership of Karen Widmeyer as Pipe Major.

This season has been Thomas’s first year in solo competition. He would like to thank Karen Widmayer, Scott Lasseter and Doug Bruce for their excellent instruction and support this year. As well, he would like to thank Pipe Major Jim Scott and the rest of the London Fire Fighters pipe Band members for their excellent support throughout this season.

When he is not piping or thinking about piping, Thomas enjoys swimming, scouting, camping, playing with his dog, his friends, and spending time with his family.

James Kirkwood – Grade 1 Snare

James Kirkwood

My name is James Kirkwood, and I’m 13 years old. I am in grade 8 at St. James Catholic School in Oakville. I’ve been playing drums since I was big enough to hold sticks, and I started taking formal lessons from Sandy McKail since age 5. I play with Hamilton Police Pipe Band, Grade 3, and I am the Lead Tip of Hamilton’s Grade 5 Band.

I like to play sports on my spare time, and I’m a member of my school’s basketball and volleyball teams. I also play the piano, recently receiving my Grade 5 Royal Conservatory of Music achievement.

Rita DeNobriga – Grade 2 Snare

Rita DeNobriga

Rita DeNobriga is from Maxville, ON and is fully rooted in her Celtic heritage. She began drumming at the age of ten at the Glengarry School of Piping and Drumming from Tina Dewar and Charlie Malcolm. That same year she also started playing the fiddle at the MacLeod School of Fiddling and is a former MacCulloch Dancer, dancing for 10+ years.

Rita joined the Glengarry Pipe Band at the age of fourteen and achieved many successful competitions in the band, with numerous first places in drumming. In 2009, Rita assumed the position of Lead Drummer. In 2010, she was chosen by both the Grade 4 and 2 band executives to be sent to the Ontario School of Piping and Drumming. That fall, she moved up to the Glengarry Grade 2 Pipe Band for one season. Rita returned to the Grade 4 band in 2012 and had a very successful season in 2013, with the band taking 2nd place at the North American Championships and a 6th place at the Worlds in 4A.

Rita began playing the solo circuit consistently in 2013 in Grade 3. Taking a 4th place at the North American Championships in 2014. She upgraded to Grade 2 in 2015 and made the prize list a few times but 2016, being the most successful season yet. Rita also won the Ottawa Branch Knock-Out A Division last year and plans to play for the upcoming Knock-Out season.

Rita owes much of her progress and future success to Jim Bush. She still resides in Maxville and currently plays tin whistle and fiddle in a Celtic band with friends. She is also working to pursue a future career in law enforcement.

Liam McGlashon – Grade 5 Snare

Liam McGlashon

I am 17 years old and started drumming in the summer of 2015. It was while playing bagpipes with the Hamilton Police Pipe Band that I expressed interest and started playing snare drum with the HPPB Grade 5 Band. It was a busy summer 2016 for sure. Still competing in band and solos for grade 3 bagpipes I added snare drum to the competing mix and it made for my best summer yet!

I was very fortunate to receive, and continue to receive drum lessons from Glen Neil. Thank you Glen!

I recently was invited to play pipes with the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band. It’s a big leap from a Grade 3 level but I am looking forward to and welcome the challenge!
ow in grade 12, I am exploring post-secondary options. Although I haven’t made any school decisions yet, there is one thing I know for sure, music will always be a part of my life! Outside of the piping and drumming world I love to play fiddle and most other stringed instruments as well. It is and always will be music that makes me happy!

Shanyn Young (Millage) – Grade 2 Tenor

Shanyn Young (Millage)

Fifteen year old, Shanyn Young (Millage) who hails from Kirk Hill in Glengarry County, Ontario attends Grade 10 at Glengarry District High School in Alexandria, Ontario.

She began playing Tenor Drum in 2010 and is the youngest member of the Grade 3 Glengarry Pipe Band. Shanyn entered her first solo tenor drumming competition at the 2012 Toronto Indoor Games, and continued to excel throughout the season to be awarded both titles as the 2012 Eastern Ontario Champion Supreme in Rhythm Tenor Drumming and in Flourishing Tenor Drumming in 2012. She continued her winning streak also earning the 2013 PPBSO Champion Supreme for Novice Tenor Drumming and the 2013 Eastern Ontario Supreme Champion Novice Tenor Drummer, and the Eastern Ontario Supreme Champion title for Amateur Tenor Drumming in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Shanyn has also played the fiddle since she was five years old. She was a member of the MacLeod Fiddlers for the eight years before collaborating with the MacPhee Fiddlers in performances at various venues, including the Youth Fiddle Ceilidh and during the annual pre-Tattoo at the Glengarry Highland Games when she is joined by her mother, sister and brother and other Mass Fiddlers. Shanyn is also an accomplished clarinetist as well playing a variety of other percussion instruments.

Shanyn’s dream of travelling to Scotland and competing at a Worlds Pipe Band Championship came true at 12 years of age when she with the then Grade 4A Glengarry Pipe Band, competed on Saturday August 17th, 2013, winning the Worlds 6th place Vancouver Ladies Trophy. The impact of her Worlds experience was huge!

Shanyn shares her musical gifts by drumming, fiddling and performing at various events throughout Ontario, the United States and in the Atlantic provinces, including St. Andrew’s Day, Remembrance Day and Graduation ceremonies at Glengarry District High School; MacLeod Clan Gatherings and Curling Bonspiels and birthday and anniversary celebrations. She and her brother, Taylor, who is a piper, also volunteered to pipe and drum as representing the Young Society of Canada in the Clan Parade Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Fergus Highland Games. They also gave information about the clan and about their instruments to those who visited the “Young Clan” tent. Along with the Glengarry Pipe Band, she has also had the honour of performing at many notable events such as Senator Douglas Finley’s funeral, and annually for the Parliament Hill Robbie Burn’s Dinner and the St. Andrew’s Society of Ottawa’s Hogmanay Celebrations. Shanyn was also among the 70 fiddlers who took part in the 2015 Glengarry Massed Fiddlers fundraising CD recording project, released in June 2015. All proceeds after expenses went to The Glengarry Celtic Music Hall of Fame Hall to further promote Glengarry’s Celtic heritage.

At the 2015 Lanark Highland Games, just for fun and as a challenge, with no prior bass drum lessons, Shanyn’s debut of her bass drumming skills were displayed when she entered the Open Bass Drum competition against several other much more experienced adult competitors. She walked off the field taking 2nd place which in turn presented her with a new opportunity when she accepted the position of the Grade 5 Glengarry Pipe Band’s Bass Drummer for the 2015/2016 season, helping them win the Eastern Ontario Supreme Champion for Grade 5 Bands. Shanyn also entered the Open Bass competition again in the 2016 Lanark Highland Games and won 2nd place.

In the one year since Shanyn started high school, she has already earned over 200 hours of volunteer service as she continues to promote and encourage other young people to take an interest in the Scottish/Celtic heritage and in taking music lessons, whether it is piping or drumming lessons or in fiddling. By sharing her music talents and her love of tenor and bass drumming and fiddling in such a visible way in her school’s and community’s special community and provincial ceremonies, she has helped make being a musician of a two very unique and not generally popular instruments the “cool thing to do” amongst her peers. Many more youth are signing up to play drums, bagpipes and fiddles than ever before in Glengarry.

Shanyn thanks, “everyone who encouraged me: teachers, Shelby MacCrimmon-Bush and Jim Bush; Ross Davison, her brother, Taylor, and Rita DeNobriga who have accompanied me in competitions, my band family and friends, my sister, Lynsey, Grandpa Young and to Mom, for giving me these opportunities, love and encouragement to soar!”

Erin Callon – Grade 5 Tenor

Erin Callon

I started tenor drumming after seeing the World Pipe Band Championships in 2009. I was influenced by my mom and dad who used to play the bagpipes, however, I am forever grateful to the support received from Greg Dinsdale, Tyler Fry, and Hugh Cameron who helped with sticks, a drum, and a tutor. My tutor has been Kate Dudek who helped me through 2010 to my first competition in Maxville in 2011, and continues today.

I am grateful to Eva Rennie who piped for me at Maxville, helping me earn a second place and my first Champion Supreme that year. Since 2011, Dylan Whittemore has become my full-time Piper and I am very thankful for his and Kate’s encouragement and motivation.

Known for my trademark pink colours, I have made many friends at the Highland Games. I have found the piping and drumming world to be very supportive. I wish to give special thanks to the Paris and Port Dover Pipe Band members, and to Debby Oliphant who made my kilt.

After 5 years of fun and hard work, competing at games such as Georgetown, Coburg, Kincardine, Cambridge, Maxville and Fergus, I have once again reached Champion Supreme and look forward to moving ahead next year.

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