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2019 School Instructors

Callum Beaumont | Blair Brown |  Iain MacDonald | Danielle Millar |Eilidh MacDonald |  Steven McWhirter | Ruaridh MacDonald


Callum Beaumont - Piping

callum beaumontCallum currently resides in Linlithgow, Scotland and commutes to Clackmannanshire where he tutors students at the prestigious private Dollar Academy.

In a professional capacity he is a much sought after and highly rated instructor prominent around the world, recently having been invited to teach in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the USA.

He was introduced to bagpipes by Bert Smith at the age of 7 whereupon he took up the chanter and progressed through the junior ranks, winning all of the major junior prizes. These included multiple gold medals at Cowal Highland Gathering, Scottish Junior Championship titles and a debut win of the MacGregor Memorial, 14 years of age.

Progressing to the senior grades, aged just 15 he finished second in the Piobaireachd section of the Duncan Johnstone Competition, his inaugural senior event. Additionally throughout his senior years has been tutored by Tom Speirs and currently Willie MacCalllum.

With regard to band history, at 12 years of age Callum joined the Grade 1 Lothian & Borders Police, moving on to Shotts & Dykehead, Simon Fraser University and Inveraray & District. Winning four World Championship titles, he took a prominent role in each of these bands. In 2017, Callum won the World's again, this time with Inveraray and District Pipe Band.

Callum has now progressed on to winning many of the most prestigious titles in world piping including being the youngest winner of The Clasp, two Gold Medals, The Silver Chanter and much more besides.

To see a full awards list click here.


Blair Brown - Snare Drumming

Blair BrownBlair began drumming in 1992 under the instruction of Doug Stronach. He joined the Milton Optimist Juvenile Pipe Band, founded and led by his mother Gail. The band went on to win two World Championships: Juvenile in 1994 and Grade III in 1997.

In 2000, he joined the 78th Fraser Highlanders under the leadership of Michael Hunter. During that time, he also returned to the Milton Optimist Pipe Band (renamed MacDonald Caledonia) as lead drummer. In the autumn of 2001, he realized a boyhood dream and joined the Shotts and Dykehead drum corps led by his drumming idol, Jim Kilpatrick MBE. Blair enjoyed many successes with Shotts. Highlights include winning the World Drum Corps Championships in 2002, 2003, and 2005, as well as the overall band title in 2003 and 2005.

Blair spent two seasons - 2008/'09 - playing under his brother, Graham, with the Peel Regional Police Pipe Band, and three seasons - 2010/'11/'12 - learning under J. Reid Maxwell with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, BC. Blair returned to Shotts in the autumn of 2012 when new Pipe Major, Ryan Canning, was appointed. The band quickly regained position at the top of Grade I. The drum corps won the 2014 World Drum Corps Championships. In 2015, the season was capped off with the band being crowned World Champions.

Blair is one of the top solo drummers in the world. He is a consistent prize winner at the World Solo Drumming Championships. He has won the Gold Medal at the prestigious Winter Storm event, in Kansas City, a record 5 times.

Blair is a sought after educator. He regularly conducts workshops and teaches at piping and drumming schools worldwide. He is a certified judge with the Pipers' and Pipe Band Society of Ontario. He is currently based in Houston, TX.


Eilidh MacDonald - Beginner Class/Piping

eilidh kidsEilidh has been working with the beginner class for a number of years, and she can claim to have started almost every piper and drummer who has played with the Conservatory youth band for the past eight years. As well, she has started and encoiuarged many young players in the Halifax area, helping to develop the Grade 5 band program there, and also coordinating the "Halifax-Regina Junior Pipe Band Initiative" in 2016, which saw youth pipe band members from each city join together to form one band for contests in Regina and Fredericton.

Eilidh has been a member of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) since moving to Halifax to attend university in 2011, and in that time has been North American champion and runner-up, and qualified for the final of the 2015 World Pipe Band Championships. She was also the 2016 winner of the Prairie Piping Invitational.

Eilidh is currently a PhD candidate in science at Dalhousie University, studying the mechanical functioning of the heart.


mcwhirterSteven McWhirter - Snare Drumming

Steven began drumming in 1993 at the age of 10, with initial lessons from his father, Dessie. Steven joined the local Cullybackey Pipe Band in 1994, receiving snare instruction from Adrian Hoy. During his time under Adrian’s instruction Steven won many Juvenile and Junior solo competitions including the World’s Juvenile Section One on two occasions.

In 1995 Steven progressed into the snare line where he remained until Cullybackey won the Grade 2 World Drumming title in 2001. It was then that J. Reid Maxwell approached him to join the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band in Vancouver, Canada. Between the years of 2002 – 2008 he travelled from his home in Northern Ireland to compete, teach and perform with the band in British Columbia, Canada.

September 2008 saw the next chapter of Steven’s drumming career develop when he and World renowned piper, Stuart Liddell joined forces to take the Inveraray & District Juvenile program into Grade 2.

Since 2009 the Inveraray & District has risen to become one of the world’s most prominent pipe bands winning the World Pipe Band Championships and Champion of Champions title in 2017, both in drumming and the overall prize.

Some highlights of Steven’s drumming career have been winning the World Solo Drumming Championships, the Grade 1 World Drum Corps Championships and the overall World Pipe Band Championships with Inveraray and District.

List of Accomplishments:
Juvenile World Solo Champion 1997 & 1998
All-Ireland Junior Solo Champion 2002
Ulster Junior Solo Champion 2002
All-Ireland Intermediate Solo Champion 2004
Ulster Intermediate Solo Champion 2004
North American Gold Medal Champion 2006
All-Ireland Senior Champion 2006
Word Solo Drumming Champion 2006, 2011 – 2017 (inclusive)
All Ireland Senior Solo Champion 2006, 2007, 2011 & 2012
BC Pipers Annual Gathering Champion 2007 & 2008

Teaching Experience:
Piping Hot Summer Drummer – Canada
Sound Advice – Canada
Drumming Mad Workshops – Germany
Winter Storm, Kansas City – USA
National New Zealand Summer School – New Zealand
National Australian Summer School – Australia
Invermark Piping & Drumming School – USA
Master of Scottish Arts – USA
Edinburgh Academy, Scotland
High School of Glasgow, Scotland
Dollar Academy, Scotland

Sound Advice is extremely pleased to welcome Steven back to Saskatchewan!



Iain MacDonald - School Director/Piping

iain worldsIain began piping in 1965.  He played in local bands in Regina, and attended the Fort San summer school, where he was able to take lessons from P-M Donald MacLeod, M.B.E. In 1978 and '81, Iain lived in Scotland, where he took weekly lessons from Donald MacLeod. Later, Iain was a student of James McMillan of Burnaby, British Columbia for a number of years.

Iain’s band experience includes seasons with the Babcock-Renfrew Pipe Band under P-M Iain McLeod, six years with the with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, one season with ScottishPower, and he is currently a member of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel).

Iain founded the Grade 2 City of Regina Pipe Band in 1992. He also founded the Grade 4 Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band. Iain currently teaches piping at the Conservatory of Performing Arts, University of Regina, and does freelance communications work. He holds the Graduate Certificate and the Senior Teacher’s Certificate, and is on the Board of Examiners for the Piping and Drumming Qualifications Board.

Iain started on bellows pipes in 1983 when he was given a practice set of uilleann pipes, and since then he has played uilleann pipes, Scottish smallpipes and reelpipes. He has been a North American distributor of Fred Morrison Reelpipes since 2005 and his business Reelpipes.com supplies pipers and pipe bands across North America, and as far away as Australia. Over the years, Iain has recorded CDs with pipe bands, folk groups, and for Highland dancing, and has contributed many articles to piping magazines. In August 2008, he published a collection of pipe music entitled “Along the Road.”


Danielle Millar

dani millarDani began her piping career in Saskatchewan, playing with the 96th Highlanders, Strathfleet, and City of Regina pipe bands. After completing high school, she attended university in Vancouver, and joined the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, winning the World Pipe Band Chammpionships in her first season! Since 1995, Dani is one of a few members of SFU to have played in all six World's wins.

Over her years in SFU, Dani has been a successful soloist, an outstanding instructor to junior bands and at summer camps, has played an impoortant role in band music and especially harmonies, and has been a key perfomer for the band in competition and concert halls, from Carnegie Hall to Lincoln Theatre, from the Sydney Opera House to the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Through all of this, she has managed to build a successful career as a school teacher, and she devotes a lot of time to raising her daughters.

Ruaridh MacDonald - Tenor/Bass

ruaridhRuaridh MacDonald started tenor drumming at age five, but he’s been hanging out with pipe bands from the day he was born.  He started tenor drumming with the Conservatory Pipe Band. Then, at age 12, Ruaridh started competing with the Grade 2 City of Regina Pipe Band, including contests in Scotland in 2005, 2006, and 2010. He also spent 2 seasons as the band’s bass drummer in 2011 & 2015.

Ruaridh was a member of the Inveraray and District Pipe Band for three seasons (2012-2014), and won the 2014 European Pipe Band Championships and 2nd overall in the 2014 World Pipe Band Championships. He also recorded Ascension: Live at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall with the band in 2013.

From 2015-16, Ruaridh took time away from competing to focus on finishing his degree. in 2017 he graduated with an Honours Bachelor in Music Theatre Performance from Sheridan College. Ruaridh now works as a professional actor and has worked at several Canadian theatres in musicals and plays. In 2017/18, he led the midsection of the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel Pipe Band (Grade 1).

In 2019 Ruaridh is back playing with Inveraray and District Pipe Band and is looking forward to another busy summer in Scotland with the band.

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