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2020 School Instructors

Callum Beaumont | Bruce GandyIain MacDonald | Danielle Millar | J. Reid MaxwellRuaridh MacDonald | Elizabeth Shaw
Sabra MacGillivray | Chantal Watt | Eilidh MacDonald | Adam Brown | Troy MacGillivray | Alex Gandy | Ryan MacDonald | Elspeth Hughton | Barbara 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.


Adam Brown - Guitar & Bodhran

adamdrummingAdam is the guitarist in RURA and the bodhran player in Ímar, both internationally successful bands from Glasgow. Brown started on bodhran at the age of 3, winning multiple All-Britain and All-Ireland titles in his youth.

With RURA, he has won Live Act of the Year at the Scot Trad Music Awards and has been nominated for Folk Band of the Year and again for Live Act of the Year. They have released critically acclaimed albums Despite the Dark which was nominated for Album of the Year, and In Praise of Home. RURA has been featured as a main stage highlight of many of the world’s leading folk festivals – in more than 20 countries, across Europe and North America and including India, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. Their media profile is similarly huge, with numerous national radio and television appearances, including BBC1’s Hogmanay Live, broadcast live to the over 4 million people on New Year’s Eve 2016/2017. 2020 marks the bands 10th year, and to celebrate they are releasing an album later this year, which was recorded live to a sold-out audience from Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket at Celtic Connections 2020.

Since forming in 2016, Ímar has quickly risen to international acclaim, winning the prestigious BBC Radio 2 Horizon Award in the same year. Their first single promptly had over one million streams and their first album, Afterlight, was nominated for Album of the Year at the Scot Trad Awards. They have also have extensively toured internationally at some of the world’s largest folk festivals, leading to their nomination as Folk Band of the Year. When Ímar released their latest album, it was number one on the Apple World Music charts overnight. 

Adam and his father, Roger, produce their own line drums, R&A Brown Bodhrans. Although it started as a hobby, it quickly expanded, and they now make drums for top players all over the world.


Alex Gandy - Piping

alex gandyAlex has been piping since he was 10 years old and has had the good fortune of growing up in a piping family. Both of his parents, Bruce and Beverley, and grandfathers, Ronnie and Ray, are pipers. Since starting he has been taught primarily by his father, Bruce Gandy. More recently he started receiving piobaireachd tuition from Colin MacLellan, his Godfather.

In 2006 he moved to Glasgow between high-school and university and took lessons from Roddy MacLeod and played in Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, winning the World Pipe Band Championships in 2007 and placing 2nd in 2008 with FMM. Playing in FMM under P/M Richard Parkes MBE was very influential and helped Alex to become Pipe Major of the Grade 1 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) Pipe Band. The band was a finalist at the World's in 2015 and won the North American Championships at Maxville in 2014.

Alex is a multiple prize-winner in the Silver Medals at Oban and Inverness, winner of the Gold Medal in Kansas City and the Canadian Gold Medal and Clasp in Maxville. On the light music side he has won the A Grade MSR at Inverness in 2014 and in 2017 he won the A Grade March and S/R at Oban on the same day.  Alex and his father are the only father-son duo to have competed against each other in the Silver Star Former Winner's MSR at Inverness, and more recently to have won. 

In his personal life, Alex works at the Royal Bank of Canada as a Financial Advisor and is married to Chantal Watt. Chantal is a seven-time Canadian Champion and has been a finalist at the World Championships held at Cowal each year, placing in the top three several times

 Elspeth Hughton - Irish Dance

Screen Shot 2020 05 01 at 12.05.09 AMElspeth started Irish dancing recreationally at the age of 6 and began her competitive career at the age of 8 at the Regent Academy of Irish Dance with Claire Regent. She quickly progressed to championship level by the age of 10 and started competing nationally and internationally across North America, Ireland, and the UK. At 15, Elspeth began dancing with the Irwin School of Irish Dancing under the exceptional instruction of Finnuala, Andrea, and Sarah Irwin, who developed her skills as a championship dancer internationally.

She recalled at every World Championship she competed in with the Irwin School, receiving two coveted World Medal placings and a top 10 finish. She has had multiple top 10 placings at the All Ireland and Great Britain Championships as well as top 5 in North America. Elspeth completed her competitive career after winning the Senior Ladies title at the Western Canadian Oireachtas in 2013.

Elspeth has a degree in Kinesiology, is certified as a personal trainer, and has a Masters Degree in Physiotherapy from Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland. Elspeth lives with her husband Peter in Calgary, and is a partner in the Gott-Hughton Irish Dance Academy.

J. Reid Maxwell - Snare Drumming

reidmaxwellReid has an amazing record of accomplishments at the top in the pipe band world. Apart from his six World and four World Drum Corps titles with SFU, Reid has won the titles with two other Grade 1 bands, one of them as lead drummer! Reid is perhaps the only person is history to lead two separate drum corps to the World title!

Apart from his years of pipe band and solo success, Reid has also been an amazing teacher of drumming, inspiring students across the world at workshops, schools and via the internet. You can hear his influence on drum corps around the World, and his incredible feel for pipe band ensemble has been a key part of his teaching.

Reid has been at Sound Advice several times in the past, and we are very excited to have him return this year!


Barbara MacDonald - Whistle

barb whistleApart from being a life-long piper, Barbara has also been playing various whistles for many years. Originally, she got her start from Chris Meek in Saskatoon, and then playing whistles for a number of years in the Celtic band Iron Brew, and for many other occasions: pipe band concerts, violin recitals, weddings, and many tune sessions. Dig that whistle from the bottom of the drawer and get it making music!



Eilidh MacDonald - Piping

eilidh 78Eilidh was born to two pipers and it is unsurprising that she too began to learn from an early age. She competed with the Conservatory of Performing Arts Pipe Band and the City of Regina Pipe Band through school. Her amateur piping included invitations tot he Nicol-Brown and George Sherriff events for North America's top players.

Upon moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia for university she joined the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel Pipe Band and has been competing with the band for the past eight seasons, winning the North American Pipe Band Championship in 2014 and finishing as Finalists in the 2015 World Pipe Band Championship.

Eilidh has received instruction from both of her parents and Bruce Gandy. She really enjoys instructing youth. She instructed the piping for the 78th Highlanders beginner program and youth pipe band for four years and had also instructed the Conservatory Pipe Band when home in the summers. Eilidh also loves to play small pipes and border pipes, especially when doing so with a pint and the people she loves.

Eilidh has been instructing and starting youth players for many years, and has an extremely successful track record of inspiring excellence and enthusiasm in new players.

Eilidh has completed writing her PhD thesis in Cardiovascular Physiology and Biophysics which she is eagerly waiting to defend when the pandemic permits so she can continue into a career in science. 


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.”


Ryan MacDonald - Scottish Smallpipes

ryanmacdA native of the North Shore, Cape Breton, Ryan MacDonald plays Highland and smallpipes. She was a long-time student and instructor at the Gaelic College and played with the Gaelic College Pipe Band when they won the World Pipe Band Championships.

Ryan is a Professional-level Highland piper with firm grounding in Highland technique and tradition, but is equally at home in the freer styles of playing. A sought-after photographer, she currently lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


Troy MacGillivray - Fiddle & Keyboards

troymacgTroy is an accomplished musician who was born into a rich cultural tradition and has been performing from a very young age across Canada, North America and all over the globe. Troy plays the music of his ancestors who immigrated to Canada from Scotland over 200 years ago.

With six CDs and numerous ECMAs, Music Nova Scotia and Canadian Folk Music awards and nominations to his credit, Troy balances traditional music with his own internationally acclaimed compositions. He has a roots-centered approach to his fiddle and piano playing that has the power to inspire any audience, who are constantly captivated by his flying fingers and energetic pace and occasional step dance too.

Troy has performed at Scotland's Celtic Connections, at the Cape Breton Colours Festival, and at major festivals, Highland games, and music shows around the globe, and he is a highly experienced instructor who is in demand for camps and workshops.


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

ruaridh2019Ruaridh 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 four seasons (2012-2014 & 2019), and won the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships, the 2019 European and Scottish Championships, as well as the overall Champion of Champions pipe band and drum corps. Previously he was part of the wins in 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.

 In 2017/18, he led the midsection of the 78th Highlanders Halifax Citadel Pipe Band (Grade 1).

Ruaridh has a Bachelor of Music Theatre Performance degree from Sheridan College, Ontario. He works as a professional actor and is based in Toronto.

Sabra MacGillivray - Highland & Scottish Step Dance

sabramacgSabra MacGillivray is one of Atlantic Canada’s leading ambassadors of Highland Dancing and Cape Breton Scottish step dancing. An Antigonish Co. native, she began dancing when she was 5 years old under the direction of Janice MacQuarrie and competed and performed as a member of the award-winning group, MacQuarrie Dancers. As a member of this dance group, she performed with the musical production DRUM! for several years. She was one of six dancers from Canada invited to perform as a guest soloist at the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. She is a 2-time world-finalist at the World Highland Dancing Championships in Dunoon, Scotland, placed 8th overall in the adult category and proudly wears the Cowal ring. She has won several champion titles as a highland dancer, made her mark as a stellar step dancer and put herself on the map as an award-winning choreographer.

Sabra has performed and taught all over the world including Canada, United States, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, and Australia. She continues to share her love for dance, culture and tradition with teaching. She created an instructional step dancing DVD entitled “Gaelic in the Feet” and produced a CD with her brother, “National Dances” featuring Highland Dancing Music from Nova Scotia. Born into a very musical family, Sabra has performed with her sister, Kendra and brother, Troy all of her life, most often as a dancer, or accompanying the fiddle on piano or bodhran. She has her own dance documentary entitled “Steps with Sabra” which is part of a Dance Atlantic series by New Scotland Pictures.

Sabra holds her dance teaching license from the Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance in Scotland, and is a member of Scotdance Canada. Her dance school, “Celtic Touch Dancers” has been well-received both locally and internationally, competing and performing all across Canada, Walt Disney World, Scotland, and many local festivals including the Celtic Colours International Festival.

Sabra has put down roots in Creignish, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia with her husband and daughter. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and most recently graduated with a Bachelor of Education (both degrees from St. F. X. University) after enjoying a career as a Registered Massage Therapist for more than 17 years. She recently graduated from the University of Limerick in Ireland in 2016 with a Masters of Arts in Traditional Dance Performance with First Class Honors.


Elizabeth Shaw – Snare Drumming

EShaw.500Elizabeth Shaw started snare drumming in 2001 when she joined the Ogden Legion Pipe Band, a local youth band in Calgary. Since then, she has gained experience from numerous world-class instructors through solo lessons and workshops across the continent. Elizabeth has played in several different bands throughout her career, including the Grade One 78th Fraser Highlanders of Ontario for the 2014 season. She was a member of the Rocky Mountain Pipe Band when they won the 2017 North American Pipe Band Championship title in Grade Two.

Some of her solo awards include winning the 2011 Grade One North American Solo Championship, and 2nd Place in Professional at the 2011 Agnew-Harrison Invitational Solo Competition. She also places consistently in the Professional Solo Grade across several provinces and has been the Alberta Provincial Champion for multiple years.

Elizabeth has been instructing several bands and solo competitors since 2007. You can find her at ShawSnare.ca, and on several social media channels including Instagram [https://www.instagram.com/shaw.snare/] and Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/shawsnareinstruction]. This is Elizabeth’s first time attending Sound Advice!

Outside of the pipe band community you can find Elizabeth indulging in her other hobbies, including rock climbing, boxing, and visiting the local cat café.


Chantal Watt - Highland dancing

chantalwattChantal Watt, originally from Brampton, Ontario, competed in highland dancing for 26 years under the direction of 4-time World Champion Jacqueline Smith.

Chantal’s competitive highlights include: 9-time Ontario Provincial Champion, 2017 Nova Scotia Provincial Champion, 7-time Canadian Champion, 5-time North American Champion, 3-time Commonwealth Champion, 2-time Scottish Open Champion, 3rd in the Junior World Championship (2004), and 3rd in the Adult World Championship (2012 & 2014).

Outside of Highland Dancing Chantal studied at the esteemed National Ballet School of Canada for several years and continued her education in dance at Toronto’s York University and The Ailey School in New York City.

Chantal lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with her husband Alex Gandy, an accomplished competitive solo bagpiper and Pipe Major of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) pipe band.

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