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2024 School Instructors & Staff

Richard Parkes, MBE | Gareth McLees | Glenna Mackay-Johnstone | Jacquie Troy CarterSean Somers | Jessica Featherstone | School Staff

Richard Parkes, MBE - Piping 

RichardParkesPD600Pipe-Major Richard Parkes holds the record for having won the World Pipe Band Championships the greatest number of times (13) with his band, Field Marshal Montgomery.

Richard lives in Comber, County Down. He has been Pipe Major of the band since 1981, making history by leading FMM to become the most successful pipe band ever to come from Northern Ireland.

Richard is one of the most respected pipers and pipe band leaders in the world, gaining an MBE from Her Majesty The Queen in 2004 for recognition of his services to pipe band music in Northern Ireland. Although Richard has always put the band first, he also managed to win 7 All Ireland Senior Solo Championships, eight Northern Ireland Piper of the Year titles, nine Ulster Senior Championships, as well as winning the Strachan in London, the Jig in Inverness and a number of other prizes at major solo competitions. Richard holds a Masters degree in Polymer Engineering and worked as an Engineering Manager at Bombardier Aerospace until his recent retirement. 

Richard has been awarded honourary doctorates from both Queen's University and Ulster University in Belfast for his contributions to the arts.


Gareth McLees - Snare Dumming

McLees Gareth 2019 All Ireland Solo TrophyFrom Belfast, Gareth McLees began drumming at 8 years age playing for Glasdrummond and North Belfast Pipe Bands. He was taught by Stephen Rourke of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe band, and the drumming legend, the late Bobby Rea, who was a 3-time World Solo Champion and Champion of Champions.
Gareth McLees became Lead-drummer of Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band at the end of the 2022 season, taking over from Keith Orr, who led the drum corps for 20 years. Gareth’s grandfather the late Jackie Gregory and his uncle Bill Gregory were pipers in the band. Gareth played in FMM from 2007-12 after which he played with Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia under Jim Kilpatrick, MBE and for a time Gareth was L-D of the Grade 1 Western Australian Police Pipe Band, winning two Australian National Championship titles.
As a soloist Gareth has been winning top prizes for many years. He was All-Ireland Solo Champion in 2019 and was runner–up World Drumming Champion in 2019 and 2022 and won 3rd prize in 2023. In 2022 and 2023 he was the UK Solo Drumming Champion.
Gareth is an experienced teacher and workshop leader, and we’re looking forward to his first visit to Sound Advice!


Glenna MacKay-Johnstone - Piping

Glenna smGlenna’s journey in music and song commenced at a young age, as she comes from a lineage of exceptionally gifted musicians. Her lifelong commitment to her craft has been shaped by the immersive musical environment she was raised in.

With over four decades of experience as a piper, Glenna's musical education began under the tutelage of her father, Reay Mackay. She spent most of her life gaining knowledge from his expertise. Her dedication to honing her skills has persisted through ongoing mentorship from figures such as Bruce Gandy, Michael Grey, Bill Livingstone and others. Glenna continues to engage with these mentors to ensure her continual growth and development as a musician, embodying the spirit of a lifelong learner.

Glenna has built a lengthy career encompassing solo performances, contributions to pipe bands, and dedicated teaching. Her expertise extends to adjudicating solo and band competitions for more than two decades. Additionally, she has contributed to the world of music as a composer, with her compositions featured in various piping collections and recordings.

Beyond her prowess as a piper, Glenna is also a Gaelic singer who has performed at numerous venues and contributed to various recordings. She currently pursues her Gaelic studies remotely at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig, honouring her commitment to learning the language.

In her professional life, Glenna served as an educator with over three decades of experience in Ontario's public education system. She resides in Aurora, Ontario, alongside her husband Alasdair and their two children. Both of her children have also excelled in music and are actively involved in the piping community, carrying on the family's musical legacy.


Jacquie Troy Carter - Snare Dumming


Born into a family of Highland dancers, bagpipers and drummers, it was natural that Jacquie started Highland dancing at the age of 5, under the tutelage of Adelaine Duncan in Victoria, B.C.  Mrs. Duncan's intense instruction and attention to technique and timing ignited a passion within Jacquie and she navigated through the competitive Highland dancing ranks until age 16.

At the age of 8, Jacquie started snare drumming; taking lessons from Colin Magee (piper, drummer and composer). Colin also was the D/S of the City of Victoria Pipe Band, who ran the band with her father, P/M James W. Troy. The band was a major musical influence; not only because of the leadership and musical vision but because of the massive talent within the ranks. Having regular access to that talent for further instruction from the likes of Rob McKendrick and John Fisher, proved to be invaluable.

She rose through the solo ranks in the British Columbia scene quickly and soon was
presented with the opportunity to join the well-respected Vancouver Ladies Pipe Band. Under the direction of then Pipe-Major Shauna Hilder, Jacquie found a deeper love of pipe bands. Being amongst strong, talented women with a poised example of leadership set a strong foundation for a varied pipe band career.

This included playing with the Abbotsford Police in B.C. (1996 – 1998), Peel Police Pipe Band
(1999-2000 and 2010), Toronto Police (2001), 87th Cleveland Pipe Band (2002 ), 78th Fraser
Highlanders (2003 – 2005), Alberta Caledonia (2006), Spirit of Scotland (2008), Edmonton
and District (2012- 2013), Viscount Park (2014-2016), College of Piping (Summerside)
(2017). Throughout these years, there were a number of opportunities to play in concert
venues in Toronto, Edmonton and Glasgow; sprinklings of North American Pipe Band
Championship wins in various grades and many appearances at the World Pipe Band

Because of the dedicated instruction and leadership she received throughout over the years,
Jacquie is passionate about giving back to the piping and drumming community. She has been President of the Vancouver Island Pipers Club; she ran the Edmonton Pipers Club for a time and is now on the faculty for the Edmonton Youth Pipe Band. She is also currently the
President of the Alberta Society of Pipers & Drummers.


Jessica Featherstone - Tenor/Bass

Jess FeatherstoneJessica is a seasoned Highland tenor drummer with over a decade of experience, playing an integral role in pipe bands across Nova Scotia and Ontario. Since 2016, she has been a dynamic force within the Peel Regional Police Grade 2 Band, recently stepping into the prominent role of Lead Tenor.

Her talent and dedication have taken her to numerous competitions across North America and the esteemed World Pipe Band Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Beyond performing, Jessica is a passionate educator, serving as an instructor and mentor for Peel’s Grade 3 and 4 Bass/Tenor sections and offering private lessons to students of all ages and skill levels.

Before embracing her current career as an elementary school teacher in Ontario, Jessica enriched lives as a Music Therapist. Outside the world of music, she thrives on outdoor adventures, kayaking, playing pickleball, travelling, reading, and baking.


Sean Somers - Piping

seansomersSean Somers has established himself as one of the top professional pipers from the Canadian Prairies, gaining accolades as a composer, leader, bandsman, and soloist. He started piping at the age of 8, and got his first lessons from his father, Trewin Somers.
Sean has been a consistent prize-winner in professional piping contests throughout North America and is the pipe-major of the Grade 2 Rocky Mountain Pipe Band (RMPB) based in Calgary, Alberta. As its pipe-major, Sean has led the RMPB to win the North American Pipe Band Championship, the BC Indoor Annual Gathering, the Mid-America Championship, the Northern Canadian Championships, the Alberta Provincial Championships, the Saskatchewan Provincial Championships, and many other top prizes at local Highland Games.
Sean is the former Principal Piping Instructor at the College of Piping (PEI), and has since continued to teach at workshops and at summer schools throughout North America. Sean has also enjoyed opportunities to give recitals in addition to his teaching.

With many appearances in the Grade 1 finals at the World Pipe Band Championships, he is also the former pipe-sergeant of the Grade 1 Alberta Caledonia Pipe Band, and former key member of the 78th Highlanders (Halifax) Pipe Band where he won both the Canadian and North American Championships in Grade 1. Sean spent his formative years with The City of Regina Pipe Band and credits Iain MacDonald (Regina) and Barb MacDonald as major influences on his piping career.

An award-winning composer, Sean is also the author of his own book of bagpipe music entitled “The Out West Collection”. With his compositions appearing in many other contemporary collections of bagpipe music, his tunes have been played and recorded by some of the world’s best soloists and pipe bands.

Sean is the past President of the Alberta Society of Pipers & Drummers (ASPD), past President of the Saskatchewan Pipe Band Association, and former Chair of the Music and Judging Committee with the ASPD. He is a former member of the Music Initiatives Advisory Committee with the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations, and also a former member of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's (RSPBA) International Liaison Group, a sub-committee of the RSPBA's Music Board.

An accredited member of both the ASPD and the Pipers and Pipe Band Society of Ontario (PPBSO) adjudication panels, Sean has judged solo and band competitions of all levels throughout North America. Stops include British Columbia, the Canadian Prairies, the Maritimes in eastern Canada, as well as the Pacific Region, the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and Eastern Seaboard of the United States.

Over the years, Sean has also been a contributor to pipes|drums, the world’s most popular magazine for pipers and drummers, with feature articles, reviews and opinion.

Sean has also assisted in the development of a bagpipe making business, which manufactured highland bagpipes, smallpipes, practice chanters and accessories.

Based in Calgary, Alberta, Sean is married with a son and daughter. A civil servant in “real life”, he is a Communications professional with The City of Calgary.


 Sound Advice Staff

It takes an enormous amount of time to organize and run a summer camp, and the SPBA is fortunate to have a team of dedicated administrators.

Wayne Rempel - School Director

WayneRempelWayne started piping as an adult after his son took an interest, and he carried on from there, taking lessons through the Conservatory of Performing Arts, and then later joining the Regina RCMP Pipe Band. Wayne competes in Adult piping class events, performs with the RCMP Pipe Band, and was recently awarded The Queen's Jubilee Medal for services to the arts. He is a Past President of the SPBA, and did a brilliant job managing the school last year.



Michelle Gallagher - School Director

MichelleGallagherMichelle (Carline) Gallagher has played in pipe bands for most of her life, including many years with the City of Regina Pipe Band, a number of seasons in the  Alberta Caledonia Pipe Band, and she has been a member of Scottish bands Tayside Police and Mackenzie Caledonia. Michelle was a dominant player in the Grade 1 solos for several years, and we are fortunate to have her passion for playing and teaching as part of the school. Michelle will be taking on both teaching and administrative roles during the school.




 Iain MacDonald - Website & Music

iain worldsIain MacDonald started SOUND ADVICE in 2004 and organized and ran the school each year until Fall 2022, at which time he sought others to take it on. Iain is excited to have Wayne and Michelle involved in running the school especially after doing such a brilliant job in 2023.  Iain will play a role in planning and will assist with some teaching as needed. His piping bio is HERE.
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